Tuesday, February 22, 2005

What's Your Most Embarrasing Wine Moment?

That’s an easy one for me to answer. (To get the full background to appreciate the level of, All American, red-faced, “Beam me up Scotty,” “Help Mr. Wizard, I don’t want to be an enophile anymore” embarrassment, read my previous blog from 1-12-05.)

There I am, graduate laboratory novice, making $950 a month—Okay, that was in 1979 but shoot, in today’s dollars that would be like $982 a month—standing beside a gorgeous slate topped pool table in the mansion of the chief head and neck surgeon at Emory University in Atlanta. We had a couple of wines already and I hadn’t exactly learned, nor cared, to pace myself too well yet. I had a glass of newly poured white Bordeaux and I was trying to make a good, no, a great impression on the surgeon with the awesome underground wine cellar.

In my most sophisticated 27 year old manner I could muster, I swirl my stem plunging my nose deep into the glass taking a long sophisticated inhalation of complexity and joy. Only problem is I took my eyes off the glass for one little moment as I am sniffing to see, I think, if my host is watching. That was enough for me to inadvertently tilt my glass just enough to let the wondrous creation fill my nostrils; not with the wine’s tantalizing bouquet but with the full force of the wine's 14% ethanol.

If you want to know how sophisticated I looked, take a nose full of soda while looking in a mirror and see how impressively you handle it.

I don’t know whether my host saw or not, I only hoped white wine dried invisible on green pool-table felt.


Serona said...

I'm laughing so hard I'm crying because I can TOTALLY picture it. Too bad it wasn't a RED!

Serona said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

My most embarassing moment was a quiet one that no one else knew. I really wanted to pick up a bottle that you all recommended: the Numanthia Termes. I couldn't find it at the store but I didn't know how to pronounce "Termes" (is it "terms" or "Tear-mez" or "Ter-meez") So I didn't ask for help in finding it. I was too embarassed to ask for fear of sounding stoo-pid.

PB said...

No problem; There's a couple solutions to this dilemma which will only increase as you get into French wines.
1. Just ask for "Numanthia" accompanied by a look of arrogance. The proprietor will assume you really know your stuff. If he has it, he'll know the name Numanthia. If not, he'll stutter a bit and look like the stoo-pid one.

2. Just get the "Numanthia" out clearly then kind of clear your throat as you mumble the "Termes" however you want to pronounce it.
Believe me, these are proven--I know...

NW said...

I think the pronunciation is "Term-aye", but who cares. Just ask for Numanthia and see what the merchant produces. I did this, and the wine merchant led me into the "cellar" to show me a $50 bottle of Numanthia. Then I asked if he had any others, and he said he was having trouble getting his hands on the "Term-aye" after the Wine Spectator Top 100 had been released. I believe it. I had to drive fast to get my three bottles of this $20 liquid gold. With one left, I just need an excuse to open it.