Life is too short to drink bad wine

When you read this, I will have been in Napa for four days.  Two of those days will have been spent golfing with my Hubby.  One full day will be spent wine tasting and purchasing some of our favorite wines while each evening will be spent eating at some of the areas finest restaurants.  And by ‘finest’, I don’t mean expensive.  Been there, done that many years ago at the French Laundry restaurant.  Eleven, count ‘em, courses with many bottles of wine to go along with them.  When I say finest in this context, I mean some of the most ingenious and imaginative meals a chef can come up with.  In the Napa valley, you can find bazillions of places to eat and I don’t think that we’ve found even one that wouldn’t get 5 stars from me.

Much more comfortable around wine in 1996; friendly strangers next to us.

When Bob and I first met, we were beer drinkers.  We didn’t even try wine.  My parents would drink red wine…chianti.  To me that is a gut-wrenching, candle holder dripping colored wax on a red and white checkered table cloth kind of wine.  Each sip I tried from my parent’s glass convinced me of my right decision to have my cocktail of choice to be Budweiser.  (We even visited the Anheuser Busch gardens on our honeymoon!)

When we grew up and matured, oh, say, six months of dating, we were introduced to a more sophisticated wine that some of our friends introduced us to:  Blue Nun.  Guffaw all you want, it was a damn sight better than Chianti in my book.  Oh yes, I tried the gawdawful Boones Farm miasma they called wine and promptly gagged on it.  Who in their right mind would drink that stuff?  Apple Hill?  I shudder to this day thinking what I put my gastrointestinal tract through.  So here we were in our vast knowledge of wine…Blue Nun.  We both knew that we liked white wine but could never remember and were to ignorant to ask for something else when Blue Nun was not available while out on the town.  Once, I remember asking what the house white was to the waiter and he said, “Chablis”.

“Oh, I LOVE Chablis!  I’ll have that.”

He brought out my glass of I-Love-Chablis and brought Bob his Budweiser.  When will I learn?  I couldn’t take more than one sip of that dreck either.  I had had a glass of white wine at some point that I really liked but could not for the life of me remember what it was let alone the winery.  Knowing a winery was so far beyond my grey matter to be laughable, but it started with a ‘C’ and by now I knew it wasn’t Chablis.

Again, I asked in a different location, “What is your house white?”


“Oh,” taking a deep breath, “I LOVE Chardonnay!  I’ll have that.”

Lo and behold, this glass of Chardonnay was actually drinkable.  I liked it.  Who knew how old that bottle was that the waiter poured from.  I was drinking white wine and liking it.  I was becoming so klassy.

In Napa 2007 with our children showing them the wine experience as we know it.

Some friends of ours lived near the Bay area and while visiting them, they served another wine to us:  White Zinfindel.  This became known as the hot tub wine, the wine that aged on the way to your house from the grocery store.  We convinced ourselves for two weeks that we liked White Zin.  Then what little grey matter we had left, kicked in.

“Look,” it said, “why do you keep experimenting with this grape stuff?  You like Chardonnay.  Keep with chardonnay but try different ones.  Who knows, you might like it even better from different wineries.”

Stoopid brains.

But apparently our brains knew more than our, what? Conscience? Soul?  Stomach?  Taste buds?

Winery tour, south island, New Zealand 2010

In time, we tried more wines, learned which ones we liked, which ones we loved, which ones we’ll tolerate and which ones to run from.  We have visited Napa more times than I can count.  We have learned how a wine can enhance a meal either in the recipe or in the glass.  Wine is our favorite libation.  We’ve had detours along the way in our education; delightful detours.  Merlots, Cabernets, Ports (oh, don’t EVEN get me started on Ports), Pinots, Rieslings, and Shiraz.  I can attend wine tastings and not bat an eye when, after sampling, pour the remains into the counter receptacle.  My son, on the other hand, feels bad to do that as if he’s hurting the winery’s feelings by not liking the sample.  We have tasted and tasted and tasted to the degree that if someone asks what would I serve with this meal or that, I am very confident in suggesting a complimentary wine to go along with it.

Not a wine to have with a savory halibut steak. Or cracker jacks either for that matter.

But the absolute best advice that I can give for choosing a wine is this:  If you really like it, drink it.  I don’t care if you’re serving fish, chicken, or beef tenderloin.  Drink what you like.  But you won’t know what all there is to like if you just stick to one grape variety, now will you?

Judging by my Stevie Nicks perm, I'm thinking this was in the mid 1980's.


PS…stay away from Two Buck Chuck as well.


About Fae

Although I have other blogs I do for my grandchildren, I felt it wasn't enough to satisfy my inner author. I needed a grownup blog to share things on or rant about. Purely egocentric. Hope you like it.
This entry was posted in Travel, Wine. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Life is too short to drink bad wine

  1. Fannie says:

    What? An entire post on the development of your wine palate and nary a comment about Fetzer Sundial Chardonnay? Are you kidding me? And to think we probably set those owners (and then their children and grandchildren) up for a comfy retirement for a good many years!

    And yes, gotta love the nostalgia around the hair in these pictures. That friendly stranger…the female one? Was that the mushroom cap hair-do era? And Stevie Nix…yeah, I think that one was perhaps the 2nd adventure we shared in Napa; would have been 1989, perhaps? And that same year with the friendly strangers…that was also the year we met Email, Icon, Emu, Enuff…whatever that thief’s name was. We were celebrating three of the foursome bravely striding forward from the 30’s into the 40’s; would have been 1996.

  2. Fae says:

    I was going to get into the whole Fetzer Sundial Owners Support and Retirement Fund we jointly started back in the 1980’s but thought that it would elicit from other wine growers equal time and really, do we want to do THAT again? The posted date on the picture of the friendly strangers is Nov 9 1996. Mushroom cap hair and Stevie Nicks permanents. Ye Gods. But was it Mandy that had the Dorothy Hamill Wedge cut hair do?

  3. Felia says:

    Yummy, wine! While reading this post, all I could think of was during a Spring Fling, all of us ladies in your beautiful yard, surrounded by many, many empty bottles of wine. I don’t even like white wine, I remember thinking. But what we had that day was delicious.

    I, however, cannot remember a day of my life when I didn’t know what wine was. Vino tinto, that is. (Table wine for those of you who don’t know what cheap Spanish wines are called.) And when I went to college and my dad found out I was drinking beer underage, his main concern was not that I was underage, but that I was drinking beer, and not wine!!

  4. Vicki says:

    I knew this was written by you as soon as I read the title! LOL…love ya! In Vino Veritas!

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