Here, Drink Some Wine!
This article first appeared on Man-gazine.
I’m coming out of the closet. Here, today, I am going to announce, with as much pride and joy as possible, that I love wine! You heard me! I love wine! I love big, bold burgundies, and spicy, red Zinfandels. I love buttery Chardonnays and cheap roses. But I really love sweet Ports Sherries. Why do I proclaim such things? Because, I want the men who read this to know its ok to love wine!
We American men have been brought up to love good, blue collar beer. It’s in our DNA. In fact, the first settlers of North America, brewed their own beer at home. And, because they didn’t trust the water (European rivers were horribly polluted in the 17th and 18th century,) they even made a small beer out of the used grains for their children.
We’ve also been sold on the idea that spirits are awesome drinks for men. Who hasn’t seen a television commercial, a movie or a magazine add extolling the virtues of brandy, bourbon, vodka or scotch? Hell, I love the 1800 Tequila adds with Ray Liota, walking around in tailored suit, sans tie, drinking tequila like a boss.
But along the way wine has gotten a bad rap as a woman’s drink. Something yuppie gals drink when there having their “book club,” or getting together for Sunday brunch. Maybe it happened in the 1970s when cheap rose was all the rage? Maybe it was a reaction to the California yuppie image from the 1980s, when there was something suspiciously unmanly about all those guys in khaki’s and unbuttoned shirts frolicking with their white zinfandel’s and grilled tofu. Or, maybe it was just the TV show Frasier, which portrayed the male wine drinker as something effete. I don’t know, but enough is enough. Men, if you love wine, or you’re at least wine-curious, come with me on a journey of wine discovery!
We are living in a Wine Renaissance
Wine production has been a world-wide, local tradition, for centuries. Principally because of the expansion of Roman Catholicism and its use of wine in Mass, wherever Catholics immigrated, wine production soon followed. This was a simple practicality; it was easier to grow you’re wine for religious purposes, than import it from Europe. So, wine is produced all over Latin America. Wine is also produced in South Africa, Israel, Lebanon, Vietnam and Australia.
For centuries, the best wine was produced in France, as you probably know. However, Spain, Italy, and even Austria and Germany produced their own wines, too. Actually, venter-culture expanded into all parts of Europe and Russia thousands of years ago. And while European wines were universally recognized as the best, the reputation of non-European wines changed in 1976.
In what is known as The Judgement of Paris, California wines went up against the best Burgundy and Bordeaux wines in a blind taste test. They swept the competition in both red and white categories, shocking the world.
This is important because the California venters were able to mimic the quality of French wines using science, instead of tradition. Now, those scientific methods of creating wine have expanded all over the world.
I live in Denver, Colorado. I have tasted some pretty good wines from Colorado, New Mexico, Washington and Oregon. I’ve tasted wines from Australia, Hungary, and Germany. I encourage you to give them a try, too.
Here’s what you should do
First of all, do a little research. Check out which liquor stores in your part of the country carry different kinds of wines. Go visit a few of them. Talk to the employees and get recommendations. Sometimes they don’t know anything; sometimes they are pretty knowledgeable.
Second, pick out a couple of wines you might think are interesting. You can buy a pretty descent bottle of wine for about $20. Sometimes, you can find descent wines for under $15 or even $10, too.
As an example, one of my favorite table wines is Liebfraumilch. It’s a German White wine that’s crisp and slightly sweet. I have found this brand in both California and Colorado for about $5.99. It goes great with grilled vegetables and meats. It is also good with salad. I also enjoy Warre’s Warrior Porto, both tawny & ruby. It retails all over the US for about $12.
When you’re satisfied with your research, go ahead and buy 4-5 different bottles. Don’t spend more than $40 on the whole thing because we’re just exploring here, trying to broaden your tastes and your horizons. Get some appetizers, like a veggie tray, maybe some pizza rolls, and invite your friends over. Get both red and white wines. Hell, buy a rose and a port, too. See what you like. The important thing is the experience.
Something to Remember
- Red wines, usually speaking, are served at room temperature. White wines are usually chilled.
- Pouring different wines in the same glass can mix up the flavors, so make sure your guests have at least two glasses; one for red, one for white.
- Make sure to have water on hand and serve small portions; you’re tasting, not getting blotto.
- Serve food for the same the same reason above.
Talk about the wines you’re drinking. Wines can be complex in flavor, so ask your friends what they are tasting when they drink the same wine. Maybe there’s a flavor you missed. Tried paring different foods with different wines; a classic combo is blue cheese with port, or beef with Bordeaux and Burgundies.
I really hope all you guys out there take the time and give wine a chance. You will be surprised with the quality of the wines you’ve chosen, especially if you’ve kept it under $10 bucks. Do not be afraid of the bad wine, either. Sometimes those are the most memorable tastes of the evening!