Don’t laugh at me for being an uncouth youth but… wine is a baffling concept to me!
So I’m going to share a kinda funny story with you about a recent outing I made, inspired by a post by Caffeinated and Random. Read hers, it sounds far more successful than mine to be honest. But do stick around to find out if I eventually got my grape juice! 😉
I seriously struggled to buy a bottle of wine the other day. You might think that it would be easy in a supermarket – they have aisles dedicated to the stuff! And not just wine; to make the selection of all you alcoholic beverages an easier experience they have handily sub-categorised everything.
I can only think this is out of pity more than kindness; it’s a though they think drunks can only navigate their way to the bottom of a bottle, not to the actual bottle itself. But on the other hand, why pass up the opportunity to fleece said boozy individuals by arranging the wares in an aesthetically pleasing order? And let’s be honest, you can tell a lot from the section a person is shopping in.
For example, a middle-aged man bulk buying Tennant’s is either having the lads over to watch the footie or praying 2-crates-for-£12 contains enough units to let you mentally escape your domineering wifey! (to be sure which breed you are observing, have a sneaky look-see – if the whiskers are graying you are likely looking at the latter.)
If you are one of those more exotic souls trooping the spirits aisle you are either a student looking for pre-drinks/cocktail ingredients/a cheeky wee something to get you through your Friday lecture – or a bit lonely… and maybe have been for a while if a bottle of rose isn’t enough to perk you up anymore…
There you go! Wine, again! Like an adult alternative to the eternally relished correctional institution known as tea! We turn to it for everything: friends are coming round – better crack open a bottle if wine; hot date on the horizon – put a nice wee bottle of wine in the fridge; you’re boyfriend broke up with you? – bring on the wine-loaded bitch-fest!; you’re mother-in-law is coming round – quick, chug the rest of that bottle from last night while pretending to check the casserole…
So many socially acceptable situations, so many socially encouraged situations.
So why the bloody hell do they make it so hard to choose one!!?
Leaving early and returning late(ish), disgruntled and tired began to wear on my parents a little after an entire summer – and no, not because I’m a teenager and they had enough of my inconsiderate comings and goings… well… ok so it was a little bit that, but mainly because I was working! I had begun to adopt a syndrome I do not know the official term of, but for the purposes of this story we might call teenwhingeitis. The remedy for this, I thought; that’s right, gift thy ear-ached parents with fermented grape juice!
But faced with a wall of disconcertingly similar bottles, I suddenly felt less like the classy so-and-so bringing home a sophisticated tipple and more of some 12-year-old Curious George like character who had wandered too far from her mummy and was suddenly drowning in uncertainty.
It’s ridiculous. I’m 19, I am more than used to buying booze by this late stage in my life. But that might have been the problem. I am used to buying booze. Wine seems an altogether classier state of affairs. Somehow the glimmer of I’m-too-good-for-you-tonight-WKD wears off a bit when you’re looking at the “Special Offer” plonk.
All I had to go on was mum likes white, dad likes red, neither likes rose and I am only going to buy one bottle. Great.
I get that different grapes are grown in different countries and that it makes sense for them to have different flavours. But. As I read another tan label claiming to contain a nectar that was simultaneously sweet, fruity, lemony, with a hint of bold asparagus and gentle daisy, undertones or basil and overtones of Sicilian desert, I couldn’t help feeling like all those convoluted terms were designed purely to confuse the living daylights out of me. It made me a little irritated. Those buggers were doing this on purpose, I thought. Didn’t they realise I was trying to do something nice, I thought. They must think me some kind of teenage delinquent who wouldn’t understand all their fancy pants description, devoid of buzz words and pressed more full of jargon than the tinted bottles they were wrapped around, I thought! (they were right, but I wasn’t about to admit that…) Must be Torries, I thought.
But never fear, the story has a happy ending. I knew what to do – defy the buggers! So I looked at the prices, picked a shelf that all seemed reasonable and pointed, swirling my finger – if it worked in Stephen Kings Dreamcatcher, then it was good enough for me! The only rule of this game was, stop when you recognise anything it says on any label. Along the line my finger went and then stopped almost immediately – Jacobs Creek. Possibly the most universally known wine in the world.