Thursday, May 03, 2007

Smell My BO-KAY

I don’t drink much.

(Okay, okay - I don't drink much ANYMORE!!!)


K doesn’t drink at all, but I’ll have the occasional glass of wine.

The problem is that I know so little about wine.

Recently, when I dragged Jen out for a drink against her will, we went to a wine bar.

“What are you going to have?” I asked her staring blankly at the list of whites and reds.

“I think I’ll have the syrah,” she said.

My first thought was, “the WHA?”

Because I believe (with all my Ethel Merman heart) that there IS a song for every occasion, my second thought, was:

“Que sera, sera, whatever will be, will be.”

I am sure Jen is grateful that I didn’t break into song.

When the waitress came and Jen ordered the (que) syrah, I looked up and said,

“Uh. I’ll uh have that too.”

As the great knower of all great wine-isms you shall henceforth call me “The Nose of Joy, Wine Expert.”

K is no better.

One year, as a holiday gift from his office, he received a $200.00 restaurant reimbursement voucher.

We decided to go to a place run by the Michelin Guide’s Chef of The Year.

The restaurant was housed in an expensively renovated space in the fancy part of town and the menu was a prix fixe, seven-course affair.

The well to do and soft spoken clientele murmured to each other at their elegantly dressed tables.

The sommelier brought us the wine list and though he did not intend to order wine, K flipped through it.

“Jessica! This wine costs $250.00 a bottle!” he whispered aghast.

I raised my eyebrows and he flipped the page.

“This wine costs $1,000.000 a bottle,” he said (this time kind of loudly.)

I looked at my fork.

“OH MY GOD!” he nearly yelled, “THIS WINE IS $3,000.000 A BOTTLE!!!”

The low talking diners glanced at our table.

The sommelier hurried back and asked what he could bring us.

“I’ll take a ginger ale,” K told him, snapping the wine list shut and handing it to him.

“Mousier,” the sommelier apologized with a sneer “we do not serve ginger ale.”

“Oh. Do you have cranberry juice?”

[A look of disgust and a slight head tilt to the right reluctantly indicated the affirmative.]

“I’ll take the cranberry juice,” K said.

“I’ll just have water,” I added.

[I had to clarify that I meant TAP WATER, slovenly hick mailbox owner that I am.]

After seven courses from the best chef in America I remember thinking,

“That was great, but I’d have been just as happy with a burrito.”

Fast forward to last night -- I went out with my (not so new anymore) new mom’s group.

I looked at the wine menu and saw “Malbec.”

My only frame of reference was,

“OMIGOD, BECKY!!! I like, totally love this mall
– they have Old Navy AND The Limited!!!”

My friends had to edumacate me.

I came home around bedtime and told K of my wine foibles as we brushed our teeth.

We decided that from now on when we feel that we are being judged by the wine servers for being as ignorant as we are we are going to initiate conversations that go like this,

“Do you serve the Franille here?”

“No?! Well then surely you have the Portois de Grudeau?”

“No?! This is an OUTRAGE! I am EMBARRASSED to be seen here!”
Oh, the sophistication.

82 comments:

Kim said...

you're not alone ;) I would fare no better in the wine department...all I know is that I like it sweet and not dry...that's probably why I opt for a simple cooler *sigh*

Mrs. Schmitty said...

I drink wine occassionally as well, you know the blush kind, White Zinfindel....the kind that's about $7.99 a bottle! I have SUCH class!

QueenieB said...

Yeah-I'm good with some wine out of a box. Or some good old Gallo jug wine-that was always my father's favorite.

And the beer that's been in our refrigerator since December can attest to how much we drink. Who needs alcohol when you have toddlers?

Jodi the Librarian said...

After one too many encounters with Boone's Farm Tickle Pink in high school, I think all the wine tasting buds in my mouth packed up and moved to I-da-ho.

But tell you what, I am the QUEEN of finding good iced tea.

Tessa said...

Heh I feel your pain. When it comes to wine I'm a neophyte. I lurve me some $3.00 sangria! Heh. Boon's Hill Whooooo! Now THAT brings back memories!

WILLIAM said...

Mad Dog 20/20.

Patience said...

Didja wear your big-skirted dress and bonnet to the fancy rest'rnt??

Unless you're a true wine snob nothing over $20 is ever necessary. I'm reminded of an episode of Northern Exposure when, after a verrrry expensive bottle of wine was broken, the wives replaced it with cheap wine with additives including some dirt to give it that "earthy" aroma. No one could tell the difference.

Blog Antagonist said...

Husband is a budding wine snob. For Christmas I bought him a ridiculously expensive bottle of wine. I honestly couldn't tell the difference between it and the Kendall Jackson we usually drink.

I can however, tell the difference between really cheap wine and sort of cheap wine. My palette is at least that discerning.

You can't go wrong with Kenall Jackson or Clos Du Bois, and they are both usually on most wine lists, unless you're dining at the Coach and Six or some such place.

Feel edumacated now?

BOSSY said...

This is no problem, -- Bossy can teach her friend Oh The Joys about wine: Red wine is red. Sometimes it turns the corners of your mouth purple. White wine is white and gives you a milk mustache. Very simple, very easy.

Nancy said...

"Two Buck Chuck" sold at Trader Joe's ... you can't go wrong!

Paige said...

So, um, you going to floor us with your wine smarts on Sat night still? I hear they've got a vintage Franille at the Chocolate Bar.

Janet a.k.a. "Wonder Mom" said...

Wine does not have to be expensive to be yummy!!!!

We are wine whores in this house...Seriously. Mista is a budding sommelier!

A good one for you to try...Red Truck. Cheap and yummy...and it won't give you a stomach ache...and it's cheap but doesn't come in a box.

Lemme know what you think...

jakelliesmom said...

Now, if you care at all, you can go to your local wine store, tell them what you like and your budget, it seems that people who care about wine are very happy to help you to pick. They've not looked down their fancy noses at me when once when I've asked for something fruity, white and under $10.

On the other hand, my husband was asked at a wine tasting class in France several years ago, what he smelled in the glass (popular choices were oak, pepper and fresh mowed lavender I think), he replied, "Uh, grapes?"

We drink a lot of the House Water.

karrie said...

This is exactly why I love Trader Joes. So much inexpensive wine--most of it tasty--that I can risk buying for pretty labels alone without taking out another mortgage.

Mrs. M said...

J and I had a gift card to a fancy pancy restaurant and felt we had to order wine. The "wine menu" was larger than my capstone portfolio project in college! Holy Cow! AND I nearly fell out of my chair when I saw the several hundred dollar bottles of wine and up to the thousands! Geesh, we're only here because I needed to dust off my cocktail dress and we have a certificate. I'm sure I was the hick mail box owner when I only took a glass of beringers white zin. I mean really....who drinks blush?

It's not cool, but I enjoy it!

The Sour Kraut said...

That's why there's a little tension between TBF and I. He's a wine snob and I am a lowly beer drinker. I antagonize his blog by playing the American hillbilly to his Euro-snob. Poor TMS is caught in the middle.

The Holmes said...

I'm a wine idiot for the most part, but one of my fave cheap vacations is to go check out one of the local wineries. Since we're in Texas, they assume everybody knows nothing and explain things nice and slow. "This is a red wine. Can you say red?"

jen said...

ah yes. see, if you had lived with a winemaker for a period of time in your youth, it would have been a whole different story. it now means i can pronounce the names of most red wines and be able to cleverly throw out phrases like "a hint of cherry over oak".

not that i really know what that means, but it always gets a nod.

Heather said...

Not only do I know nothing about wine (except that Chateau Ste. Michele did a great Johannesburg Reisling in the early 2000's), I can't drink it. Especially red. Knocks me flat on my ass. Red cheeks. Feels like I drank the whole bottle when I only drank 2 ounces.

I keep it around for nights when I'm having trouble sleeping. Better than Ambien, I tell you what.

Kevin said...

I don't know Jack Shit about wine except that you don't drink red with fish.

Apparently, though, we are friends with lots of people who seem to know something about wine. There have been 3 birthday parties for people that we know and EVERYBODY (except us) brought wine as a gift. And they all had something to say about it. "This is a Bleftango wine that's just right for either formal dinners or fish sticks." "I thought you might like to this Verminacula. You don't drink it with a meal. More like a middle of the day refreshment." "This is Sangre-de-Christo. For Sundays."

I hate wine.

The Queen Mama said...

Wine snobs make me want to flick them on the nose. Something as beautiful as wine should not be sullied by snobbery.

Tracysan said...

That's why I stick with hard liquor...

Starrlight said...

LOL! Wine snobs are a freaky deaky bunch.

Liam's Mom - Gina said...

And why can't we think of those awesome things to say when we are IN the situation... ARG!

BlondeMomBlog (Jamie) said...

Last night I ate Tostitos from the bag and drank a Zima (they've redesigned the package and bottle you know.)

“That was great, but I’d have been just as happy with a burrito.”

You make me laugh woman!

I love wine. I do know you don't refrigerate red wine. See? I'm classy! ;)

Jen Magnuson said...

I love it! Will you secretly video the transaction and then share with us?

I remember attending a fancy shmancy thing with my husband when we were dating. I was a Seagrams coolers girl at the time. One of the older people we were with ordered a Tangueray and tonic and asked me if I wanted one, too and I was like, "No. I'll have a gine and tonic, though." I am still just as dumb. Wine in a box isn't half bad, sister.

liv said...

and then you should throw your head back with the look of disgust and say, "honestly, you'd think an establishment of this (ahem) alleged caliber would at least know something about the Bordeaux region..."

liv said...

and can I just say I totally forgot about the coach and six... ah, memories.

Christina_the_wench said...

The wha? Da who? No Bud Light, ya' say?"

*picks teeth*

Chrissy said...

Wine snobs are just that - snobs. We went to Napa Valley on our honeymoon and one server at a tasting, a gentleman with an age and sophistication that made me think he had something, gave us the best piece of wine advise ever....if it tastes good to you, then that's all the matters.

EE said...

The only thing I know about wine, is that I should stick to beer!

Cathy said...

Hilarious!

(I base my selections on what I think I can pronounce.)

Above Average Joe said...

Mrs Joe & I drink Pinot Noir.

She chooses them based on the how pretty the label is on the bottle.

mcewen said...

That's helpful - people used to give me funny looks when I asked for 'tap water' and I assumed it was because I was using the wrong word [faucet water]
Thanks for translation[s]
Cheers

tulipmom said...

LMAO here. I can't pronounce them and I don't like most of them anyway.

Lucky for Hubby, he knows a little or at least enough to get me to drink some and agree to spend the rest of my life with him.

Moobs said...

The Sommelier is your friend. I usually just say "I know nothing about wine - HELP". Any sommelier worth their salt will pick you a great wine and will not usually drop to the $3000 bottles. No-one can size your wallet faster than a frenchman so relax and let them treat you.

If you are ever in London I'll show you how it's done.

Carrie said...

I am a wine snob and a freaky deaky! The snobbery comes from being a waitress in a couple of high end restaurants....I'll only look down on you for ordering White Zinn...all other faux paux's can be forgiven! ;-)

slouching mom said...

I do love me some red wine. And I don't like me some sweet wine.

Beyond that, I don't care.

Malbec? Mall, Beck?

What a riot!

kristina said...

On our first anniversary at a fancy-pants restaurant, we were given the huge wine list. When the sommelier came over to inquire on our choice, we actually asked if he carried any white zinfindel. (Think Boone's Farm.) He looked physically disgusted.

Now that we live in Washington wine country, I'm better about wine. Serve your time as a newbie - the rewards are worth it. We all have to start somewhere.

kristina said...

Oh, and I hear tap water is back in! Fancy restaurants are starting not to carry bottled water anymore because of all the plastic and glass waste from the bottles. You are ultra-hip and didn't even know it!

Cece said...

I don't do wine very well, so needless so say I'm clueless in that area! But Tequila? Giiirl, let me pick you out a good bottle!

Hol said...

"BO-KAY" Love it! You make me smile. Thank you!

I use to only drink White Zinfandel. That was until my sweet mother-in-law edumacated me. She told me about Syrah (Shiraz). Pinot Noir and Pinot Grigio are also good (in my opinion), but I'm always looking.

Kristi said...

My favorite wine costs 2.68. That's two dolla and sixty eight cents.

I'm a lady, I am.

Major Bedhead said...

The best way to get around wine ignorance (in other words, what I do when out at a good restaurant - not that that happens any more, what with the whole no friggin' money thing, but anyway, I digress) is to ask the sommelier what he/she recommends. Tell him what you're going to order and what you want to spend and let him pick.

I do like wine, but I don't know jack about it. If I try it and like it, I write down the name and type, so I can buy it at the store. I'm currently really into a Spanish wine by Osborne Solaz - Tempranillo Cabernet blend. It's very good and the best bit? Cheap as chips. $6 a bottle. You can get nice and toasty for less than ten dollars. Whatta bahgin.

Annie said...

Beer's good for me too! lol!

Natsthename said...

I feel your pain. I'm a wine-in-a-box gal, and I will still drink White Zin, even though my neighbors laughed at another neighbor behind her back when she was drinking it. But, hey, you know what a sommolier is, and I had to look that up! YOU WIN!!!

Shauna said...

I love a good wine, but I'm not about to put out my child's college tuition for it. I'll settle for a nice beer instead.

flutter said...

Drink what you like, and like what you drink, even if it comes out of a box.
I happen to be a bit of a wine snob, but not to the point where I would be an asshole about what anyone else is drinking. Maybe I'm a lush....

Yamagoo said...

There's too much Whine at my house I dont know why anyone would seek more....

Oh...I see what you did there...

Wine is baffling to the Sommelier too. They just have the proper vocab and the huge stick in their butt to lean on..
I LOVE your plan. I may adopt this direction myself next time I'm presented with a wine list that isn't laminated!

ali said...

so funny. we were out last night and the people we were with, including my husband, were talking wine and i was all "how come people from somalia know so much about wine??"

good times...

Mrs. Chicky said...

“That was great, but I’d have been just as happy with a burrito.”

Heathens.

Our friends have dubbed Mr. C and I "wine snobs". We perpetrate the myth but most of the time we're pretty happy with Two Buck Chuck (Google it, hon. ;)). Or beer.

Viva la Hillbillies!

Mimi said...

I've been to some wine tastings to educate my palate. But then I always get drunk. And forget everything. It must mean something that I have fun though, right? Right?

Veronica Mitchell said...

If you have the chance, order anything from Bonny Doon. They're an inexpensive, innovative California winery that has a great reputation while being anti-snobbish, so it makes you look cool and too knowledgable to be suckered by a price tag.

Leeanthro said...

We love finding great wines for under $10 a bottle (from the store). Restaurants jack up the price so much. You pay for a glass what they paid for the bottle. Stick to the house wine or one of the cheaper ones, its usually just fine.

My husband, who only drank white zin when I met him (disgusting, but I still married him), has developed a taste for wine over the years and now drinks way more of it than me.

We like it dark and dry.

The experts say to drink what you like.

My recommendation to everyone is to check out the DVD called John Cleese's Wine for the Confused. He takes you through wine making and wine tasting. Really a great video for beginners as well as those with mature tastes.

katy said...

I am a true hick mailbox owner. My mail box is on a post down there by the paved road;) The only wine I can stand is wine coolers...I'm doomed to be a country hick the rest of my life. We don't go to "fine" restaurants, my husband likes the all you can eat establishments. Sigh....

QT said...

I love wine and the only reason I know anything at all (which isn't that much) is that I try to go to as many wine tastings as possible. It's for the education part, really. The drunk part is usually on accident.

mamatulip said...

I don't know JACK about wine.

I know what I like but I have to taste it first to know if I like it. How's that for sophisticated?

canape said...

Shameless promotion . . .I reviewed the box wine that you can buy at your local Target store for Props and Pans. One review for red and one for white. www.propsandpans.com

And yes, I did it just to have an excuse to try them all. In one night. Lush indeed.

carmachu said...

Who the heck are you kidding? You know ALOT about whining, I've read all your blog entries....:D

Reformer said...

You should try find a lovely local restaurant with a friendly bartender and have him educate you on the different wines. Sure, you might have to spend some money on it but good bartenders often know about good not too expensive wines that still give you the insight into different wines.

Lotta said...

I have no idea about wine - but my mother in law is a lush and chooses well. So I just buy what she buys!

BARON.VON.TRUBE said...

THE BARON could not agree more. I could never be fanchy-schmancy in Hollywood. Who wants to pay $80.00 for two bites of some sort of sauteed fish, with some bizarre glaze over it?

Give me a $3.00 burger and some fries. It's cheaper, tastier, and much more filling!

THE BARON

Aliki2006 said...

I'm a wine ignoramus, too. We drink Two Buck Chuck also around here and that's as good as it gets.

Queen of the Mayhem said...

I cannot stand to eat in a place where I feel inferior to the servers!

We have done the fancy restaurant...swish the wine around in your glass and sniff it... kind of place...and I have to tell you....it's not for me!

This southern gal prefers a cold margarita and some Mexican food!

Oh, the cheese!

Lisa Milton said...

We were once restaurant manager types, so we became, um, snobby for awhile. We did have a great time at wine tastings, etc in our freewheeling early years.

(Having kids has ruined any taste I acquired. I just don't care anymore.)

Kara said...

huh. I'm a beer drinker..so all that fancy talk goes WAY over my head. I'll stick to my Bass Ale and keep quiet.

Jenifer said...

Thank God I am not alone! Hubby doesn't drink at all and all I like are the sweet and fruity types...so wine leaves me confused to say the least. When people come over and I need to buy wine I usually just ask for help.

Funny story. We visited San Francisco a few years back when I was pregnant with Papoosie Girl, so of course after making me trek around Alcatraz we headed to Napa. Well the Mondovi (sp?) winery was lovely and so was the tap water...hehe. Poor worker took pity on me in 100 degree heat and pregnant. Best water I ever tasted.

Mrs. T said...

Mr. T and I stumbled upon a $160 bottle of Meritage once. And it was gooooood.
Crazy story- I'll tell you about it sometime. Stay tuned.

Laurie said...

The restaurants here are so high class they even have wine in boxes. ;-)

Flawed & Disorderly said...

Haaaaaaaaaaaaaa ha ha! I love your ideas for dealing with the snooty wine person. I don't know a thing about wine, and I don't think I've ever even tasted it...maybe once.

Also...

I don't believe you.

I wish you could see my fingernails right now.

Momish said...

Ok, try marrying a wine snob! In the past few years I have come to "appreciate" fine wine. But, in all honesty, I can still drink anything that doesn't pour out of a box and declare it good. Oh, the joys!

Mel said...

I love you so very very much right now.
I must use this approach. Although I never actually drink actual wine, because it tastes like crap to me (and developed palate my ass).

KC said...

My husband is fairly advanced in the ways of wine. We have a wine cooling unit. Books upon books. And possibly 50 bottles of wine...most inexpensive but incredible.

It is a serious benefit of marriage.

jchevais said...

I love living in France. It's so easy to have a good wine. Lookey me... It's 2pm and I'm nixed because i had wine at lunch. Whee!

Anyway, the most common French wine is a Côte de Rhône. When I say common, it usually shouldn't cost 3000 USD the bottle.

Bordeaux is good too, but is a bit heavier. Usually for a meat course.

Stay away from all things Beaujolais Nouveau. It's unaged wine that usually tastes like pee/koolaid.

Personally, I would have totally asked for a Dr. Pepper. I really miss Dr. Pepper. Sigh. Bad France.

Also, you might want to try saying "Château de la pompe" next time. It's another (funny and highly innappropriate) name for tap water AND BONUS still sounds like wine. Kaching!

Abbynormal said...

And I know even less about alcohol but one thing that's funny is that my sister once put ice in her red wine at a party for new years in New York. Behold the hicks from Utah that grew up Mormon. hawhaw

The Medium Swede said...

I can only say to each his own. I want to like people who have that much of an interest in wine, but alas, I think they are pretentious a-holes.

I can be called an a-hole for many things, being a wine snob is not one of them.

Can anybody pass the white grenache in a box?

Kyla said...

"Yeah, I'll have that too." is about all the wine knowledge I posess.

Ruth Dynamite said...

I've got just the book for you. The One-Minute Wine Expert

Or you could stick to cranberry juice - which is A-OK! (Personally, I prefer the vino.)

Fairly Odd Mother said...

If you really want to make the waiter blush, ask if you could have a "menage a trois"---it really is a wine, comes in red or white and is really, really good! As the name implies, it is a blend of three different grapes. I just had the white a few weeks ago and mmmmmmmm. . .

Lawyer Mama said...

I'm semi-wine ignorant as well. I will someday be discovered as a total fraud!

Kevin Charnas said...

You.Are.Freaking.Me.OUT!!!

Ethel Merman??? My heart just melted. She was my first impression EVER!! I still sing "Everything's comin' up roses...blah blah blah".

And; “Que sera, sera, whatever will be, will be.” ??? -- My Mother got so drunk one time (One time...heh!) in Greece off of Retsina that she was standing on a table in front of the entire village singing that by herself. One of the many reasons why I love her.

And you and K's "realness" and down-to-Earthness is one of the many reasons why I love you two.

ewe are here said...

I often select wine based on the picture on the label. Sad, no? :-)

Ooh. And MF's rocking hippo plays Que Sera Sera.... Very insightful blue hippo, no?