Monday, October 26, 2015

A Child's Guide to Wine 3

What Does Wine Taste Like?

Have your parents ever taken you into a winery tasting room? Yes? Well, your parents are buttholes. Children don’t belong in tasting rooms. It’s not your fault your parents are doodyheads, but remember when you have kids one day (see “A Child’s Guide to Fun with Fornication”) that children don’t belong in tasting rooms any more than grownups belong in bouncy castles. Grownups have parts that no one should have to watch bounce, parts you’ll soon have, the parts that are the most fun to touch. Yes, it is disgusting.

Before you learn what wine tastes like, you have to learn how to taste wine. I know, this makes no sense, but wine isn’t something you just taste, like boogers, but something you have to taste in the right way. You’re not old enough now to taste wine, but you can still learn the right way so that when you are old enough you won’t look like a jerk.

Let’s say that someone has poured you a little bit of wine and you’re expected to taste it. What’s the first thing you have to do? Pick up the glass. Now, this sounds easy, but it’s not for a lot of people. How did you pick up the glass? Did you pick it up by the bowl, or did you use the stem? Always pick up a wine glass by the stem. Picking up a glass by grabbing the bowl is like picking up your knife by grabbing the blade. That’s pretty stupid! Or like picking up the gun your Daddy leaves laying around the house by the trigger. Remember when you did that? And now Fluffy is missing that leg? The wine glass has a handle! Use it. The next time one of those “uncles” Mommy has to dinner when Daddy’s on the road picks up his wine glass by the bowl, remember to yell at him, “You’re doing it wrong!”—just like Mommy screams at Daddy when they think you’re asleep.

After you pick up the glass by the stem, the next thing you have to do is swirl the wine in the glass. Why do we swirl the wine? Nobody knows, really. Idiots say it’s to help the wine “breathe.”  Remember when you accidentally shot Fluffy? If you swirled her around, do you think that would have helped her “breathe?” No. But it sure would have been fun! I mean, why else does she have a tail? And that’s why you swirl the wine in the glass—it’s fun! See how fast you can do it. Grownups who think they know about wine will tell you that swirling it helps to make it smell better, that swirling helps to release the wine’s aromas, makes it breathe. When they tell you that, go into the bathroom, get your inhaler, and spray it into their wine. “I’m helping it breathe,” tell them. This will make them laugh. Or hit you. Either way, you win.

Don’t forget to look at the wine’s color, too. No reason. The proper way to taste wine involves looking at the color and saying something simpleminded like, “Ooh, what a gorgeous color,” or “Look at the legs!” None of it makes any sense, but this is how it’s done. Does a wine have legs? It has one more than Fluffy! The legs are what run down the side of the glass after you swirl it. Legs are very important to understanding wine. Most importantly, legs teach you that the people who remark on the wine’s legs don’t know shit about wine. So everything else they tell you, you can ignore.

You’re still not ready to taste the wine! I know, I know, this is taking forever. It’s like potty training for slow kids. Yes, in fact, it’s exactly like potty training for slow kids, only they’re grownups now. Before tasting the wine, after picking up the glass by the stem, swirling, and remarking on its color, but not its legs (just like you do with people), you now have to smell the wine. For the most part, wine smells awful. But you get used to it, and you come to love it. Think of grandma, it’s a lot like that. Grandma smells old and sour, and sometimes makes you want to throw up. Wine is the same way! Now, what does the wine smell like? Maybe you smell cherries, or maybe you smell apples, but it doesn’t matter what you say. You probably can’t smell that much really. Wine all sort of smells the same, but if it’s expensive wine, it’s important to think that it smells really good, even if you’re not sure. Knowing how to describe a wine with a lot of words is what is called being a “connoisseur.” That’s a hard word to say. It’s “con-a-sewer.” Remember, knowing a lot about wine involves “con” and “sewer.” One is what you do, the other is where you end up living if you drink too much wine.

Now you get to taste the wine. Finally! Just put a little bit into your mouth. Don’t swallow it! You’re just going to taste it, then spit it out. This is how you taste wine. It’s also great with hot dogs. Take a little bit of wine into your mouth and just let it sit on your tongue. What does the wine taste like? At first, it’s kind of nasty. Don’t expect to like it. You have to be a real grownup to like the taste of wine. In a way, wine tastes like death. Which is something grownups taste a lot, so they like it. Kind of chew on the wine, feel how it sort of burns. It doesn’t take very long, and then you’ll understand why people spit it out. Why wouldn’t you? It’s all sour and tastes like hot dirt. See, it’s death in a bottle. Just a little taste of it gives your life more meaning.


Charlie Olken said...

--> Knowing how to describe a wine with a lot of words is what is called being a “connoisseur.” <--

Thank you, and welcome back.

There certainly is a lot of con in winewriting--like grade inflation to make your ratings get more attention and cult wine that you can only taste at the winery with the labels showing. And such important new concepts as "authentic" and IPOB.

Con, you say?

Jerome Hasenpflug said...

Welcome back! I see vacation was good for the imagination. I look forward to more.

Tom In Real Life said...

A great way to start off my Monday. Welcome back Ron.

Ron Washam, HMW said...

I guess it's nice to be back, though I'm feeling completely uninterested in writing these days. Vacation does that to me.

Oh, there are endless cons in the wine game--I got threatened the last time I wrote about one. Is IPOB still a thing? It seems like its fifteen minutes ran too long, but are over. And you have to stop reading Heimoff right before you read me--cult wines are so '90's. Or maybe 99+.

Two weeks of no HoseMaster deadlines is my idea of heaven. Hell, to paraphrase Sartre, is Other Wine Blogs.

Thanks. I think it's good to be back.

Don Clemens said...

All is well with the world - the HoseMaster returns, sharp and ready to cut hypocrisy into little pieces, and Bloom County is sending up politicians again. I live in marvelous times.

Aaron said...

Nice to have you back! I hope you enjoyed your vacation, because I'm now going to hold you to your deadlines! Just like all those wine clubs hold me to that "minimum quantity" and "minimum membership time" clauses. Thus why I generally avoid wine clubs unless they are nice and simple.

Like 3 bottles, once a year. Boom. Done. Good wine too.

Ron Washam, HMW said...

Yup, I'm back, albeit reluctantly. I could get used to a permanent vacation from here. I still wonder why the hell I do this. I'm guessing it's a brain parasite.

Thanks, but good luck with holding me to deadlines. Though, I confess, most of my jokes are dead lines.

Marcia Macomber said...

Do you like "The HoseMaster of Wine"?
Do you like to read it in the morning?
Do you like to read it at night?
I do! I do like to read it morning, noon or night!

It's so bloody refreshing *whatever* part of MONDAY you're facing. Welcome back!

Paul Wagner said...

On a more technical note, I always thought it was have opened my eyes to a larger world...

obillo said...

Legs in wine! Pshaw! Legs are of no interest save in connection with fishnet stockings and Broadway musicals.

Amy said...

We have yet to see children in our tasting room, except for babies and I don't think they count, but lots of people bring in their dogs, especially people who don't have children.

gabriel jagle said...

I'll drag my kid to a tasting room. If I have to wipe his ass, then he can hang out at a winery for a while.

Kat Mcdonald said...

laughing so hard