Category Archives: Food & Drink

Wine: Introduction

Winos (those who enjoy wine, socially and culturally, and know a good deal about wine) get a bad rap these days. Suddenly, it seems apropos to make fun of those who know how to order a good bottle of wine at dinner, or host wine tasting party. When did this start happening?

I feel I should preface this post with a little background information. I come from a very wine-literate family: my father is in the wine business, my step-mom worked for a prestigious winery in Napa Valley, CA.  Suffice to say, I’ve been around wine my entire life. Now, by no means do I claim to be the be-all-end-all of wine knowledge (not even a little close), but I find I often know a little more than those in my own generation. Also, please note, I plan to make this a multi-part series. There is a vast quantity of information about wine out there, and I can’t even hope to touch it all in one post.

Why Should We Care?

In the beginning of our relationship, I took my wife (then fiancé) out for a nice Italian dinner. Naturally, I took the time to browse the wine list, and ordered two glasses of wine that I thought would best compliment our dinners. My wife looked at me, lovingly, and stated “there is something very sexy about a masculine person who knows how to order wine.” She has often reiterated this thought to me over the years. It’s both masculine and attractive when a man knows his way around a bottle of wine. If that’s not a good reason to learn something about wine, then consider this:

Wine has been around for thousands of years: Julius Caesar drank wine, Alexander the Great drank wine, and according to the Judeo-Christian traditions, wine one of the most sacred beverages available. Rumor has it, red wine is good for your heart. Wine represents one of the oldest, and most stable economies both in the US as well as worldwide. Honestly, what’s not to love?!

Find Your Wine

As I mentioned, even if I started writing today and wrote for years, I couldn’t tell you everything you needed to know about wine. On top of that, everyone is different. Just because I like a particular Merlot, doesn’t mean you will. So, that puts the ball in your court.

The best way to learn what you like is to try what’s out there. Head to your local liquor store, and pick out a mid-range bottle of wine that looks good to you (plan to spend around $20 a bottle, maybe more, maybe less). Depending on your household size and personal habits, you can do this weekly, and buy a different type of wine every week. Keep notes on what you like and why. Also, remember, pairing wine with food is a delicate art: the wrong dish with the wrong wine makes a disaster for both. So, be aware of what you’re eating with your wine, as that may affect the flavors.

Make friends with your liquor store staff. If you mention that you really enjoyed a particular Pinot, a staff member may be able to point in the right direction for a different wine with similar features. Or, on your first trip, if you’re feeling friendly and adventurous, ask the staff there for a suggestion in your price range. They may ask what you will be eating with the wine, to help them narrow down your choices, so be prepared for that question.

Here is a great resource for getting started with wine: Wine Intro

What You Will Need

If you’re just getting started, there are a few things you will need:

Wine glasses: Do note, there are particular types of glasses that are meant to be paired with particular wines. If you’re just getting started, don’t stress over this. Just head to your basic house-wares store (even Target or Walmart) and get a basic wine glass or two.

Bottle Opener: Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need some $30 space age do-hickey to open your wine. Personally, I prefer the basic sommelier corkscrew, which looks like the image to the right:

They’re cheap(er) and don’t take a whole lot of know-how to use.

Considerations for Transmen

Of course, this is alcohol we’re dealing with. I’ve heard different things from different Transmen about how alcohol affects them, particularly when you’re on T. Since I’ve heard different things, I can’t say one way or the other about how alcohol will affect transmen. Here is an interesting article about alcohol and how it affects testosterone: Alcohol and Testosterone

However, drinking wine isn’t about getting drunk (and let’s face it, getting drunk isn’t very gentlemanly). You’re drinking to enjoy the flavors, accentuate the food you eat, and enjoy a little piece of history. Don’t try to drink the entire bottle in one night, and your T levels and any adverse affects shouldn’t be an issue.

And, as always, drink responsibly. Enjoy!

Cheers – Mason

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