Spit or Swallow?

At Piovene Porto Godi

This post is about wine…vino, vin, wein, wijn, viini, vinul, wina.  Whatever the language, whatever the country, most have found ways to crush the grape and love it.

What prompted me to write this post is that it is Nouveau/Novello season.  Beaujoulais Nouveau was the first wine I tasted several years ago that I REALLY enjoyed.  From that point, sometime around Halloween 1996, I made the significant shift from predominantly drinking beer to vino.

Emily has a great post about the basic juice and how she has started to get into it.  Unlike Emily, though, I am not that good at deciphering the different qualities of wine.  I know if a wine is red or white, bubbly or still, sweet, or cold or hot.  Most important though, to me, I know if it is good or bad.  That, my friends is what it really comes down to, just listen to Gary with Kevin Rose: “If you like it, drink it.

Dave and I after Piovene buy

Even with my limited palette to distinguish a merlot from a cab sav, my track record is pretty good at selecting quality wines.  Having lived in Italy for the last 7 1/2 years, I have been very lucky.  Where I lived, it was as easy to find a local vineyard as it is to find a Starbucks here in D.C….and I visited them all.  My father-in-law and my Italian friends all applauded me and took my advice on my vineyard and wine selections.

Yes, studies show that people will buy a wine based on the price, thinking that the more expensive, the better it is (hell, I have done it…lots of times).  But now I am trying to be a little more budget conscious, now that I don’t have 30 vineyards within a 30-minute radius.  Vineyards where I can drive up (like a gas station) and have my 25-liter damijan filled up for about $3/liter.  Pretty cool, huh?

We’d go to the annual Vin’Italy in Verona for wine tasting.  This is where I really showed my colors.  Most Italians go to this event to taste all the new wines that will open for the year.  Professional sommeliers go from booth to booth rating all the different types of wine, swishing and swashing, gurgling, and spitting.  No Way!!!   I can’t see all the great nectar spit away. I am more like this guy and not like this guy.  These wines are all awesome.  That is why I do not spit.  AND this is why I am usually hammered by the end of the first aisle.  Typical American, right?

So go enjoy some good grape.  Go try a nouveau before they go bad (by the end of December).

In Vino Veritas!

Cin Cin! Salute!

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