May 20, 2008
If you know a lot about wine, good for you. Everybody should have some sort of skill. While other people were busy learning how to knit, play guitar, build model airplanes, and swing golf clubs, you were lolling about drinking bottles of fermented grape juice. Well done. Now your palate is so refined that you can taste the booger on the fingernail of the cooper who built the cask for your bottle of 1995 Château Margaux. Lest you think you’ve wasted too much time and money on your obsession, consider that when it comes to sensory sophistication, you’re right up there with Annie Sprinkle and drug-sniffing border patrol dogs. Congratulations! You are now a resource for the rest of the world who, by and large, can’t tell the difference between a bottle of Champagne Aubry Brut Jouy-les-Reims Premier Cru and a bottle of Boone’s Farm Strawberry Hill. They’re not losing much sleep over it either. The hard truth of the matter is that the Strawberry Hill will get you every bit as fucked up as the Premier Cru and with nearly half the syllables. It will also give you the same wicked hangover. This is the wine drinker’s paradox. As an epicurean endeavor, wine is a fascinating, varied, and rewarding sensory experience. As a drug, however, it ranks somewhere between huffing glue and shitty trashcan meth. Say what you will about the hygienic practices of the toothless hillbillies who cook up meth, you never see them stepping on it – at least not literally – in bare feet. Wine on the other hand rarely smells like cat pee and has the additional benefit of being mostly legal. It also has enough congeners, sulfites, and tannins to adequately punish overindulgers. Is it any wonder Jesus chose to turn the water into wine instead of crack cocaine? Heaven isn’t a very enticing carrot to dangle when you have buckets full of cocaine. With wine however, Jesus could be relatively sure that everyone would wake up the next morning saying, “Jesus, what was I thinking?” Lord knows if you’re going to be drinking wine, it’s best to pound a glass of water every now and then. If you can afford it, you might want to nosh a little too. Don’t worry, there are always plenty of wine-geeks who will advise you on what wine to pair with what animal/mineral/vegetable. How about a glass of Pinot Noir and a dip of Copenhagen? Maybe a bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon and an altar boy? Truly, the possibilities are endless, which is one of the things that makes wine such a fascinating bev. If you’ve never tasted wine, there’s really no excuse. Whether you’re a polygamist, a Baylor alumnus, or just a hardcore Muslim, there’s probably a wine that’s right for you. This weekend, you can see for yourself at the Austin Wine Festival, a three-day celebration of Texas wines taking place at the Domain this Memorial Day weekend. Not only can you taste some of the Texas Hill Country’s most popular and award-winning wines, you can nosh at the Whole Foods Market Bistro and listen to music by acts like Walt Wilkins & the Mysterquiros, Autumn Boukadakis, Patrice Pike, the Bellville Outfit, Band of Heathens, Brandon Rhyder, and more. What a great chance to learn a lot about wine, and if you already know a lot about wine, good for you!