When I started drinking (after I turned 21, I swear officer) I only liked sweet drinks. In fact, one of my all-time favorites is called a Colorado Bulldog. It is an elegant mix of Dr. Pepper, Kahlua and cream. As my palette grew, I could no longer stomach the sickening sweetness of mixed drinks, but it didn’t happen overnight.
I always wanted to be a wine drinker. My parents used to buy Rossi by the gallon jug when I was younger. I had my fair share of sips of white zinfandel and learned to like it early on.
Sometime after my 22nd birthday I decided I was too mature for the sweet stuff and I signed up for a wine of the month club. This service would send me one white and one red each month for a hefty price of $60/mo. I remember being so excited and feeling like a real grown up when that first box arrived on my apartment’s doorstep. Chuck helped me open the first bottle, a smooth French chardonnay. It was delicious! The first sip was heaven – honeysuckle laced with lavender with a long buttery finish. After devouring the bottle in one night, I vowed to try the red the next day.
The red was a French merlot. It seemed harmless enough and the label was pretty. Again, Chuck opened it for me and I poured myself a generous glass. It was a beautiful raspberry color. I swirled it. The wine clung to the glass and left beautiful arches behind. And then I smelled it.
Mushrooms and feet.
That’s all I can think of to describe how disgusting this wine smelled. Considering I had paid a pretty penny for this wine, I still took a sip. It was disgusting.
It was like drinking a heaping glass of desert sand. The dryness was like what I would imagine eating scouring powder is like and the finish was like old tennis shoes and grain alcohol.
While I managed to swallow that first sip I poured the rest, and about $30, down the drain.
To this day I cannot drink that particular merlot, which shall remain nameless for sake of embarrassing the vintner.
The Chardonnay was so delicious that I figured it can’t all taste like the bottom of a fliplop so after that first shipment I experimented with every region and grape imaginable. Back then, my young taste buds loved Riesling and Gewürztraminer. From there I graduated to oaky Chardonnay and eventually full-bodied Pinot Noir. Now, I can’t sleep at night without a glass of smoky, peppery zinfandel to cap off my day. As a mom, it’s one of the few things I get to do alone, after Ava is asleep, while watching re-runs of “Sex and the City.” It has been a 15 year love affair that I’m perfectly content with.
And so, this post marks the first of my Wino Wednesdays. Each Wednesday I will feature what I am drinking for the week. I hope to introduce you to new wines that are reasonably priced and, hopefully, delicious. It will be my excuse to break out of my box wine cycle and get back into experimenting with new vintages. Although I’ll still keep my box wine in the fridge – it’s pretty damn good.