The Thrill of Wine Tasting (A Personal Experience)
How ridiculous it was back then when my paycheck already had a little extra for small indulgence that when I thought of buying wine, I brought to the counter four Vodka Teasers (Peche, Fraise, Citron and Cassis) and one Vodka Cruiser (Guava). Vodka Cruisers are described as alcopop, which means flavored alcoholic beverages. These are premixed vodka-based alcoholic drink in various fruit flavors. I thought at that time that it was the most spectacular choice knowing from my first encounter with Vodka and Tequila in my college days.
Christmas and Cheap Wine
After that unfateful event, I assigned the task of buying wine to my mom and my brothers. I knew my brothers had good taste since they had more drinking sprees than I had ever experienced. Or more likely, they could take in more liquor into their body than I could ever imagine inside my throat.
Every christmas, my mom has this habit of buying cheap wine. It’s the only time of the year we have extra in our pockets and have reason to spend guiltessly. Pretentiously, we would think we had made an outstanding choice based on the shape of the bottle, the artistry of the label and the foreign sounding words on the label. Price was not much an indicator since the range we can afford do not much vary ($15 or less).
The Sweet Expectation
My experience with wine is not defined since I never had a real wine tasting experience. What I have is a general anticipation that whenever I take a sip, I expect that the taste of the food would naturally blend in my palate. That expectation was usually never met. That is because I associated a wine to a juice drink that accompanies my meal. Not like a cocktail that I can drink separately.
Until I had a taste of Carlo Rossi California Red Muscat. When I first tasted the Red Muscat with grilled pork, chicken and fish, the taste of barbecue, spices and the sweetness of the wine made our simple Christmas meal into a delectable treat. Something unforgettable to the palate. It was because the Red Muscat is a sweet wine which suited my expectation.
After that, our confidence in choosing wine was elevated. When new year came, I didn’t know what went up in my mom’s mind that she bought a Blush Wine, a casual White Wine (Luscious Peach) and of course the tested and proven Red Muscat all at the same time. A Blush Wine, a sweet pink wine (also called Rose Wine) is called a such because of its pinkish color which is derived from the process of removing the skin from red grapes during fermentation.
She kept telling us that we should not drink them as it was for display purposes only. Uhuh! Tell that to my brothers and that will entice them to glut even more. Still not satisfied, my brother also bought a Cabernet Sauvignon intended for his buddies for an after midnight spree.
We were engulfed with anticipation of a better food tasting with wine as we opened the Blush Wine to pair with menudo, spaghetti and grilled boneless bangus. Not to our disappointment, the "menudo" was a great pair for the blush wine. For dessert, the mocha cake was even more mouth watering .
Before midnight, my brother’s drinking buddy came. As planned, the cabernet sauvignon came out of the cabinet. Although I did not join them to empty the bottle, a hefty dose on a tulip shaped wine glass was served to me while I was doing my solitary reading. It was not yet the time to devour another meal to accompany the wine. The dinner we had was still lingering in my stomach. Then came the sip. A sip that nothing more but heated my throat and made me grapple for water as the flavor came on strong. Not another drink came after that. I gave the glass back to my brother.
Cabernet Sauvignon is overwhelming if you are a first time wine taster like me. If you taste this without the proper knowledge of food pairing, chances are you would not try it another time. If I drank this with the meal I had earlier, maybe my experience would have fared better. Cabernet Sauvignon works well with dishes that is heavy with butter cream sauce or that which involves grilling or charring.
Learning the Lesson
I don't know if our experience is similar with other people who embrace that thrill of wine tasting. I am sure those who do enjoy wine and are expert with it find it funny and ridiculous. What is there to loose? We get to be excited having chosen a wine for a particular meal and found a perfect match. Get frustrated once in a while. Then, share the experience. Which leads me to thinking, it is a nice topic to discuss with family and friends over dinner. CHEERS!!!