Monday, June 30, 2008

I’m No Longer A Teetotaler

One of life’s little luxuries in my otherwise frugal and very often banal existence as a graduate student is my weekly consumption of a bottle of vino. For some inexplicable reason (I have various fantastic theories about this), I got out of the habit for about five months and fell back on the ever popular H2O interspersed with the occasional iced tea or lemonade. A few events happened which brought a dramatic conclusion to my life as a teetotaler.

Firstly, a couple of months ago, I received a beautiful gift – a crystal wine stopper that I have been dying to use. And then, a couple of weeks ago, I drank a couple of glasses of a beautiful Chilean red at a friend’s. A few days after that, I had a chance to enjoy a bottle of Robert Mondavi Pinot Noir – a bottle of which I had purchased before the dark wine-less months, and which I took to a party with me. And I experienced the joy once again of what it felt like to sip on a glass of wine from a sparkling goblet. Around the same time, I picked up a copy of John Mortimer’s “The Penge Bungalow Murders”, a Horace Rumpole novel. Readers of the Rumpole series will testify that on almost every other page, the celebrated barrister extols the virtues of that greatest of wines – Pommeroy’s plonk, on which Rumpole in his sagacity bestows the much nicer, but equally hilarious name of “Vintage Château Thames Embankment”. I’m halfway through the book, and the repeated mention of the good old bottle had the effect of propelling me in the direction of the nearest grocery store.

I wanted to try something I hadn’t tried before. And of course, I had to pick something that wouldn’t break the bank. Also, I resolved not to drink any more Californian wines – I may be too poor to travel to distant countries, but I can vicariously experience far-off lands through their bottled product. I still have a bottle of Mögen David Concord Red, which is unmistakably Californian, but that cannot be helped I suppose. Anyway, after about 15 minutes of lazy browsing, I picked out two wines:

• Georges Dubæuf, Red Beaujolais Wine, 2005 (France)
• Sommerau Castle, Riesling, 2006 (Germany)

The French wine was a steal since it was marked down from $11.49 to $5.49. And the Riesling was only $7.50.

My local Hy-Vee does not have a very wide selection of imported wines – at least not a wide selection of what I would buy and drink. There are some foreign wines that I will not drink because of their names. I refuse to drink at any price wines with names such as “Monkey Bay”, “Funky Llama”, and “Fat Bastard” (No, I am not making these names up). I’d much rather drink a horrible wine called Château something. Yes, I am a wine snob… sue me! Maybe I should try a real liquor store for a wider selection.

As I walked back home, I walked through the park. A mulberry tree was laden with ripe berries – no one seemed to want them. So, I stood under the tree, my wines in one hand, and with my other hand, I plucked and ate the sweet berries… Isn’t life beautiful?

Check out my awesome new wine-stopper. :-)

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