The House Without a Corkscrew
Hubby and I don't drink. Now, before you ascribe self righteous tee-totaller status to us, please let me finish. It's not that we have anything against people who enjoy alcoholic beverages, it's just that we don't. And we don't care if people drink around us, we just don't usually share.
More than once I've seen crestfallen faces of those we love when confronted with sparkling grape juice at dinner instead of wine. I mean, we got so many beautiful wine glasses as wedding gifts that we had to find something to fill them, right?
But all this had to change. You see, hubby's doctor has been after us with several holistic preventative steps we need to incorporate into our lifestyle in order to counteract some truly unfortunate health genetics that poor hubby inherited. We had to add daily baby aspirin. We had to start a regimen of glucosamine. And the doctor finally bullied us into one glass of wine per night.
This had to be the most ridiculous thing I'd ever done. I mean, who makes an agonizing and conscious decision to drink a glass of wine? My God, I felt like sneaking around disguised so no one would know that in my 32 years of life I'd never bought a bottle of wine before!
I felt like the 65 year old virgin who finally gets married.
And worse, I had no idea where to start. How much money should I spend? What should I try? I already knew that most of the wine I had sampled at various times in the past had not met with my taste approval (although this was more likely due to the fact that my mother was inordinately fond of wine-in-a-box). Most of the people I know would have been able to give me the information I needed, but asking them was totally out of the question. There would have been one of two reactions from them: (1) a blank stare, followed by a, "You're kidding, right?", or (2) a burst of laughter followed by information designed to play out as a horrible practical joke ending with hubby and I occuping both bathrooms and children pounding on locked doors screaming, "I have to go NOW! NOW!"
So I did what any self respecting 32 year old wine virgin would do... I emailed Bloggie's resident gourmand, Stormi. I opened my soul and exposed my humiliating secret and the information that hubby and I were ready to take steps to remedy the situation. I told her the qualifying information - I hate "winey aftertaste" and the stinging mouth syndrome. I've had a problem with wine burning my stomach. And, above all, I get drunk on vapors. For me, one glass of wine is pushing the limits of sobriety.
Just for the record, I've printed out all of Stormi's wine emails. I'm thinking about putting them together in book form for easier perusal.
Hubby and I, armed with two pages of Stormi's advice, set off for the local high end boozery (Stormi recommended that wine virgins go somewhere you could ask for help). In New Jersey, just for the record, high end boozery is highly subjective.
After asking the LiLo clone at the front counter for help and receiving an answer of, "The guy who knows THOSE things won't be in until 4!" we decided to wing it. For the next 45 minutes we perused labels, read the laminated reviews that were attached to the crates the wine was displayed in, and compared. Stormi had given us some great ideas from Portugal and Germany, but hubby really wanted us to buy something from the Israeli aisle. And to make it worse, we'd never heard of any of the wineries.
That, in itself, is totally inexcusable. I come from a major winemaking region in California. You have to TRY in order to keep from absorbing any information! But truly, the only label that looks familiar to me is Ernest and Julio Gallo. Oh, and Riunite - because they used that stupid song in their commercials.
Finally we found two bottles of wine that fit the parameters Stormi had outlined; one a bottle of white infused with strawberry from New York, and the other a "light and fruity" red from Portugal. We were ready.
To enter into the world of alcohol adulthood, hubby and I planned a little mini-party. Our kids were sent to bed early. We spread out a blanket in the bedroom, put on a good movie, and laid out some crackers. With great fanfare, hubby brought in our two prettiest wine glasses and the bottle of red wine.
But it seems we had a slight problem - we didn't own a corkscrew.
We were horrified at ourselves! Who in the world doesn't own a corkscrew? The answer is Air Force Family. We had to buy one. But meanwhile, we had a "first time" ceremony all ready to go, and so we turned to the strawberry white.
I'll admit, I was scared at first. It felt weird. But it wasn't bad. Hubby's glass had more in it than mine, but I did finish. I was a little concerned about technique - what exactly is a "sip"? How many swallows in a glass? And how could I affect that mindless elegance some women exude while they nonchalantly hold their glass? I figured that technique could come later, after further instruction.
As hubby and I finished up our first time, we realized something quite critical - we had no idea how to store wine. I mean, my mother put everything in the fridge. That is, when there were leftovers. Actually, to tell you the truth, I don't ever remember seeing anything in the fridge. I just know my mom would have put it in the fridge.
Apparently, there is a trick to storing wine. We missed that trick. Luckily, the strawberry white was only a nine dollar bottle, because we left it out next to the bed.
So, we're working on it. It's a silly journey, but we'll get there. And today we bought a corkscrew. Tonight, we start on the Portuguese red.
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