Saturday, August 28, 2010

Going Wine Tasting: A Nevin Barich Blog Experience

I hate wine. Always have. Nothing against wine, but I'm not a drinker in general (I have maybe 3-4 drinks a year, and when I do, it's your "girly" drinks like Kahlua and cream or mudslides) and simply never developed a taste for wine. Red, white, dinner wines, dessert wines, religious booze like Manischewitz; it's all the same to me.

So the idea of wine tasting, quite frankly, always bored me. I simply have no desire to go to vineyard after vineyard, regardless of the view and pretty plants, drink battery acid (which is essentially what wine tastes like to me) and pretend that I'm cultured.

Conversely, I have no desire to go to vineyard after vineyard and simply get plastered.

So at either end of the spectrum, there's simply no place for me.

That said, recently my wife Ramona and I spent a lovely few days in Pismo Beach, Calif., celebrating our one-year anniversary. Pismo Beach is right outside of San Luis Obispo, home to some of Southern California's most picturesque wine country. Ramona likes wine, and a happy wife means a happy life, so I agreed to take a trip with her to nearby Edna (population 1,600) to see our good friends at the Tolosa Winery.

When you walk into Tolosa, it's like you died and went to the movie Sideways. I mean, you got your wine glasses hanging upside over the bar; you got your huge room of barrels; you got a guy behind the counter wearing silk shirts and moccasins, talking about fermentation, temperature and crispness. All that was missing was Sandra Oh.

I tried seven wines: Pinot Gris, "No Oak" Chardonnay, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Syrah, Legacy Sweet Viognier, and Viognier.

I have no idea what I just said.

The guy with the moccasins -- Greg -- explained each wine to me. And honestly, it was jibberish. He talked about sommeliers and tanins. He mentioned lighting rings and crystals. He talked about bonding with the wine and letting "your pallet engulf your spirit."

And all I wanted was a Pepsi.

I did what the guy said. With all seven wines. I examined each in the light. Saw nothing. I swirled. I'm an excellent swirler. I sipped and held each one in my mouth, letting it go over and under my tongue for full effect. It was like gargling with Listerine, without the plaque-fighting element. I spat into cups. One time, I slightly missed.

In the end, I discovered what I already knew: That wine tasting wasn't for me. Maybe if I had smelled something other than bad apples in one of the wines, I'd feel differently. Maybe if I found a wine that didn't taste like piss, my mind would change. But for now, I'll leave the wine tasting to the wannabe wine snobs and the folks who just want to use wine tasting as an excuse to get drunk.

For either group, I'll be your designated driver.


And now for this week's:


Did you know that there is fantasy sports insurance?

I mean...



Sarah said...

Wine tasting is just a great thing to do with a bunch of friends. You go to pretty places, drink wine, eat some food; I love it!

Stacey said...

Every winery I go to reminds me of Sideways. LOL

Ron said...

Wasn't Sideways filmed in San Luis Obispo?

Stacey said...

Nearby, but no. Sideways was filmed in Solvang and Los Olivos

Nev said...

I've been to the Los Olivos Cafe, which is where the four people in Sideways all went to dinner together in the movie. It's really good!!

Sean said...

Fantasy sports insurance? Lame...

Ash said...

Funny post. I like it. Next time you are in Pismo stop by Tastes of the Valleys Wine Bar. We have plenty of beer.

Daniel said...

told you about fantasy insurance! ridiculous.

Anonymous said...

Wine tasting is a relaxing, and enjoyable event. You are just too close minded to open yourself up to a sophisticated activity.
There are many things to learn from the growing of grapes, making of the wine, etc. In fact, UC Davis offers a degree in such which is highly respected around the world.

Screw the movie Sideways, watch "Bottle Shock" to see what goes through in creating the perfect wine. It tells the story on the American victory of Chateau Montelena against the French, and how California finally got its name on the map. The movie has Alan Rickman (Hans from Die Hard).

On a side note, I am surprised they allowed you in the place; you seem like you are not good enough to clean their shoes - JACKASS!

Cindy said...

Totally agree that most people who go wine tasting are looking to tie one on, and the Gregs of the world can talk all they want and spirits and crystals, but all they really want to do is sell wine. Also, nice to know you're an excellent swirler.

Greg said...

Well I remember you and your wife, who did seem to enjoy her wine. You did go through the motions, swirling, dumping, but you made no faces or appearing to be drinking piss. I by the way do not have your culinary experience in that category. And for the rest of you out there there was do discussion of lighting rings or crystals, but what the heck he writes a clever line. Finally, "your pallet engulf your spirit." did not come out of my mouth.

Anonymous said...

Keep on posting such articles. I like to read blogs like this. By the way add some pics :)

Traci said...

The Greg's of this world may just be hoping to give you some fun and interesting information. If you don't enjoy wine then why the hell would you actually wine taste and then complain about it. I don't enjoy beer so if I go to a brewery and don't like anything I taste isn't that what I should have expected? Enjoy life, complain less!