This weekend, laid up with a gnarly cold, I turned to the ever trusty DayQuil/NyQuil treatment program. These medicines’ labels warn consumers that “3 or more alcoholic drinks daily while using this product” may result in severe liver damage.
Given that I am: 1) a person who is perhaps excessively obedient of pharmaceutical warning labels and 2) a person who does not believe she has sufficiently “tasted” a wine when she is temporarily without her sense of taste, I found myself prevented from reviewing a wine this weekend.
I had designs on reviewing a chardonnay by Yellow Tail — that wine from down under — and perhaps writing the review in my best phonetic representation of an Australian accent, which many would have likely found cringeworthy and potentially offensive.
Fortunately for the reader, pathogens have intervened and this plan has crumbled into a chalky dust.
So, as I frequently do when ill and/or stuck for an idea, I picked up a book — in this case, Kingsley Amis’s “Everyday Drinking.”
In his essay “First Thoughts on Wine,” Amis provides a convenient “Wine-Resenter’s Short Handy Guide,” which advises those who find themselves in the unfortunate situation of being surrounded by people who are really into wine.
Included in his list of advice is to always drink wine in restaurants with said wine people, to serve at least chilled white wine when entertaining said wine people, to procure a “first-rate” wine merchant to do all of one’s wine purchases and to “keep at hand a good supply of beer, stout and cider, not to speak of stronger waters, to console you when the whole business gets too much for you.”
I take Amis at his word, but I suspect this advice will not be terribly helpful to me until I’m at least
30 — which I believe is the age at which it is not ridiculous for one to have regular encounters with a wine merchant — and evidently surrounded by terrible friends who will drop me the second I choose a less-than-impeccable wine.
But Amis’s list did make me confront my ever-increasing proximity to postgraduate life, at which point toting wine around in metal water bottles and drinking it out of coffee mugs at home will become less than charming.
Wine is a beverage conventionally associated with sophistication, and soon it will no longer be cute to drink it unsophisticatedly.
Drinking wine as a real person in the real world will have rules. It will have to be done out of glasses, and it will have to be daintily sipped, and we will have to pay extra money for reds that don’t stain our teeth.
So here’s my addendum to Amis’s advice: while we can still get away with it, let’s withhold from wine the reverence it (maybe) deserves.
Let’s drink it right from the bottle standing up, and let’s pair it with burritos, and let’s remember that we can be adults about it later.
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