Saturday, March 26, 2005

Sideways, The Prequel

In more ways than a person who is female, childless and under the age of 40 should, I resemble my father. I have his notoriously underdeveloped ass, his sense of humor and his stubborn streak. I have not, however, inherited his facility with wine. Perhaps noticing this, my dad to took me to Italy after graduation and we spent days driving around Tuscany, stopping for tastings at wineries that we marked on our roadmap. In cliché fashion, I quickly gave up my weird devotion to white wine and learned to like red. We drank chiantis from chipped ceramic jugs at every dinner and we had to buy extra luggage to transport our bottled purchases home.

My new wine lust made my dad happy and he didn’t seem to care that my burgeoning appreciation wasn’t accompanied by any apparent sense of discernment. I still like to remember our impromptu visit to a very large winery at which I was asked to choose which wine I liked best from the several that we sampled. To my horror and amusement, the woman serving us informed me that - out of all the reds we’d tasted - I’d selected the wine that they supplied to the Olive Garden restaurant chain in the U.S. We cracked up. And then my magnanimous dad bought two bottles for our return trip.

Five years have passed with little improvement. Basically, Mark and I are the poster children for Yellow Tail. We’d be happy to branch out except that whenever we taste something else and like it, we can never, ever remember its name. We have no idea were to start.

Yesterday, ambling home from seeing Millions (don’t make the same mistake) we made the rare decision to browse in a local wine store and we stumbled upon a great idea for wine amateurs like us: the “best buy four pack”. Every month the store (Red, White and Bubbly for those of you who live in the hood) selects four good wines under 15 bucks and writes an informative little blurb about them. You can buy them separately or you can be suckered in like we were and buy the batch for about $30. It’s like a great little wine primer for those of us without much wine education and with even less cash. (I think what really won me over was a sentence in the description of the first wine which was something like “a $7 red from France that tastes like a $10 red from New Zealand!”.

Right now we’re sipping on the cheapest of the bunch - a $6 Spanish table wine called Prensa Real. It’s fine. It’s not making me swoon but I’m glad it’s not from Australia. Mark, who is currently sitting in the living room about 12 yards away from where I’m sitting in the kitchen eating left-over three bean salad from a giant serving bowl just called over his opinion: “When I compare this to the other wines I’ve drunk, like Yellow Tail for instance, I’d say it starts out good but then it just pussies out at the end.” I told him I would have to agree. For more expert wine opinions, stay tuned -- we have three more bottles and a surprisingly empty social calendar.