Recently, a friend of mine invited his date over to my house for a glass of wine. Odd? not really, he’s moving in as my roommate and it was his current “friend” who came over to hang out. Anyways, suffice it to say that she’s a tad bit younger… like a taaaaaaaad bit. Her occupation has her around alcohol all day and it appears that she’s learning to like wines.
Ok, so she gets to my house and eyes my wine “stash” and her eyes sparkle with hope. I figure ok, maybe she’ll appreciate them as much as I do?
I pour her a glass of one of my favorite wines… 2005 1667 Army of Geese, a Petite Sirah, Cab, Sirah blend… and start to explain to her about color and the purpose of swirling to aerate the wine. I challenge her to think about what she is tasting when she takes her first drink. I think, eh, she’s ok I guess. Until….
Until she excuses herself to go to the restroom, only to answer a phone call, place the call on speaker and proceed to tell her friend that she’s “not drunk yet”.
So I’m going to chalk it up to age. She’s young and at that age where drinking is what one does. I really do think that it’s a phase that we all go through – where we drink alcohol for the sake of drinking it.
But there comes a point where one needs to grow up. I think it is then when we learn about moderation and appreciation. And, as a wine-lover, I think it is then when we learn the difference between drinking any ‘ol alcoholic beverage and having a glass of wine.
Today, when I pour a glass of wine, I admire the way that the liquid pools around the glass as it is being poured. How it ebbs and flows to find it’s home only to be swirled again to further the essence of this elixir that is about to transport me to a peaceful place. The process of raising the glass to my lips in anticipation of science and nature mixing with trial and error. The taste of this fermented grape juice that is complex, or simple, light, full, different, unctuous, raw, balanced and unique. And finally the way that the taste lingers, changing, growing softer and softer with every passing second until it’s time to taste again.
This, my friends, is the difference between drinking and tasting. It is awareness, patience and appreciation.