You have permission from the wine gods, whoever they are, to enjoy your wine life more than you are now. Here’s the list. Cue up Rocky Balboa’s theme and read on.
You have permission to not like the wine that everybody else likes. Wine isn’t a popularity contest. It’s not about following the crowd and being part of a club. If everybody in the room is swooning and moaning and giggling about how good the juice is, but you scrunch up your face and wonder if you have the same wine in your glass that they do, it’s okay. You don’t have to like it. It doesn’t mean it’s bad wine, it just means it’s not for you.
You have permission to like a wine the snobs say they don’t. Apothic Red. Cupcake. Yellowtail. Kendall Jackson Chardonnay (which is actually pretty good now). If you enjoy these wines but you get a dismissive sigh when you tell your wine snob friends that you like it, stay true to your tastes. Enjoy what you enjoy.
You have permission to put ice cubes in your glass of wine. If the wine is served too warm (white or red), or you didn’t have time to chill it down, by all means toss some cubes into it. Winemakers add water to wine all the time, so you can too. Hint from wine friend Mitch: freeze bunches of grapes, and use those instead of ice cubes. Not only does it not dilute the wine, but you can eat them when you finish the glass!
You have permission to add anything you want to your wine. I enjoyed an awesome Smoking Bishop over the holidays and I might make another batch this weekend. I poured a bottle of Quinta do Noval Port into the mixture of spices, fruit, and more wine, and let it heat up for hours. In the same spirit as the beer lovers playing with hop rockets, don’t hesitate to have fun with wine. We are in desperate need to have more fun with wine!
You have permission to ask for good stemware at a restaurant. It’s your hard earned money, and if you order a $14 glass of Pinot Noir and it’s served to you in a mason jar because the bearded and bespectacled hipster server proclaims “that’s how we do it around here, man!” then you have permission to ask for a real glass (or just leave). Never forget: it’s your money and your wine. Recently I was at a local restaurant to enjoy their famous burger and I ordered a glass of wine that came in a thick stupid tumbler. “I’d like a real glass please,” was my simple request.
“We don’t use stems down here,” was the server’s response. Yet the table behind me that ordered a bottle had real stemware and upstairs, in the fancier part of the restaurant, they have tons of good stems. #serverfail. Afterwards I went to Red Cow and I ordered the cheapest Pinot Noir on the list. Guess what? It not only arrived in a Riedel Pinot Noir XL stem but also at the right temperature. #goodjob
You have permission to shop for wine based on the label. There’s no law that says you can’t. When you find yourself in a store that doesn’t have a knowledgeable person on the floor, and there is little to no information on the wines available to you, what else is there? Yes, you can whip out the smartphone and start googling brands, but that is tiresome. I’ve bought plenty of wine over the years based on curiosity that was piqued because of the label. Some labels are horribly boring, and others are awesome and exciting. Read Drinking With Your Eyes: How Wine Labels Trick Us Into Buying on the NPR website for lots of cool tidbits. Never feel weird or guilty about buying based on the label … it’s part of the fun.
Lastly, you have permission to never feel like you ‘get’ wine or understand it fully. Every time I think I’ve nailed it, another incredible glass of something new to me is poured. I smell it, I can’t figure it out, I taste it, I love it, and I start all over yet again. That’s where the real fun is.
Gonna fly now,