Irony is a funny thing. I am quite a funny thing too. I’m a 22 year old, white woman who spends her day thinking and writing about wine, something I have no real or honest clue about. You could pass me a vat of vinegar and a flute of something French and I would be able to tell you little, or nothing about why they are different, why one has terrior (great word isn’t it?) and why one is for chips. Yet, it is my daily bread and butter to turn words into wine. Now that’s ironic.
I do love wine though and the puce stamp of approval is often stained on my lips for all to see. What I have been thinking wine-wise lately, is why do I buy one wine over the other? Why does anyone? Why do you? Do you know everything there is to know about nuances and is your nose always in the glass? I doubt it. In fact, I’d never believe you if you said, that yes, in fact you were well-clued up on the pH levels of pinot grape soil. Ahem. Most of you out there are just like me and look at what the wine comes in first and second if we can afford it. The label must be acceptably attractive, the booze not actually in a flagon, yet not too fancy in a tussled gift box and on the top shelf with the price well out of eye’s reach.
Let me relate to you my recent wine purchases and how I went about choosing what. Well, there was an evening where a group of friends and myself decided to go to the cinema and check out the latest Coen brothers flick. Unfortunately it was all sold out and we were turned away (I’ve since see the movie and it’s rubbish but don’t get me started on that because Film is something I am actually qualified to talk about and I’d much rather talk myself into a hole about wine). So as it happened we all decided to run out to whatever late night liquor outlet we knew of to get a hold of some wine so we could all gather together at one house under lubricated ease.
A friend of mine and I scanned the scanty wine shelves of some Friendly Grocer type store and spoke about what looked ‘decent’. We laughed at the giant hillbilly-esque bottles (oxymoron or what?) and remembered our shameful youth. Neither one of us is particularly into Graca so that was a no go and otherwise there were only a few bottles of truly bizarre looking stuff that we didn’t recognise but could afford after a little self-persuasion. My friend’s eye landed on a greenish glass bottle. The sticker was thick and shiny with gloss. A twisty cap was duly noted, as this is the preferred way to avoid all traditional wine etiquette these days. It was the picture that did it though. It seemed to be an illustration of a bird. I think a swallow of some kind. It was not entirely biologically correct somehow though and the wings were oddly disjointed. This was fairly fun but the real deal breaker was that the head of the bird was in the shape of a bald man’s. I am totally sure that this was not intentional when creating the design for the label. This splicing of bird and bald man was too funny to pass up and so we triumphantly brought that one home. I was too afraid to taste it in the end but my friend reported back that it was quite nice in a milky way.
Then just a day or two ago, I went a-calling on a friend who lives close by and we popped into the shops to get a bottle of red to accompany our rice salad and crisps. Naturally, being a wine-writer, I shrank back from the shelves and opted out of making any decisions. I lie. I did say I would like something with an animal on the sticker. A nice giraffe or something. My friend being far more eloquent in this situation than I, chose a bottle that had been recommended to her by a wine lecturer she knows. I had brought with me some kind of shop brand red that cost very little but had a nice simple label. We couldn’t tell the difference between the two but were satisfied that it complimented the salt and vinegar crisps and copious amounts of cigarettes rather well.
I have a fabulous time drinking wine with my friends but after reading this blog, I think it may be time to up my game and learn at least something about the muse to my craft. Or I could just stop being so damn honest and tell you that the wine I am currently involved with, The U-Tube is a mass of refined aromatic toast and succulent notes of lead and honeysuckle. All I know is what I know. It looks great, the price is right and it works well with my poor uneducated palate.
an Australian red wine designed by Gerlinde Gruber. Black bottle props. Simple.
This one got awful press. I think it’s pretty great in a gothic, Goya kind of way.