I know nothing about wine.
A few years ago, I applied for a job at an upscale wine shop in Manhattan. I desperately wanted to impress them with my enthusiasm and insider knowledge of wine-world lingo. I wrote a long cover letter about my love of wine and why I would be such a good fit for the position. But, instead of telling them I was an oenophile (a lover of wine), I told them I was a xenophile (a lover of other cultures ).
(What? Those other cultures could have possibly made wine! And both words have o’s, and e’s, and n’s, all in funny places! It is practically the same exact thing!)
I didn’t get the job.
….and my wine knowledge really hasn’t improved much since.
Oh sure, I’ve picked up little bits of information here and there:
- I know you are supposed to drink white wine chilled and red wine less chilled.
- I know only sparkling wine from the Champagne region in France is allowed to be called “Champagne” – everything else is just “sparkling wine.” (This is my most impressive bit of wine information. I got it from “Wayne’s World”.)
- I know that red wine is red because the skins stay on …at some point, where they might otherwise have come off.
- I know that Claret and Bordeaux are actually the same thing. The one is merely the British term for the other (John Cleese!)
- I know you are supposed to swirl the wine around in your glass before you drink it, and maybe sniff it a little before you take that first sip.
- I know some red wine should “breathe.” But, I have no idea what that means or why it’s a good thing.
- And I know what I like (white wine, Long Island vineyards). Even better than that, I know what I DON’T like (merlot, wine from California). At least, I THINK I know.
But all that is about to change.
I intend to amass an encyclopedic – nay, a WIKIPEDIC – body of practical, first-hand, knowledge of wine. I shall taste, swirl, sniff, and maybe even spit my way though as much wine as it takes to walk into that wine shop and be hired on the spot as their star employee. If I so chose. Or, you know, if their business model hadn’t failed spectacularly a few short months after they equally spectacularly failed to hire me. (Coincidence? I think not!) And, what’s more, I shall chronicle my quest here for your education and enjoyment. Very noble of me, isn’t it?
Won’t you join me in a glass of wine?
(“International House,” 1933!!)