I'm Not Really A Wine Drinker

I often encounter people that say, “John, you know…I'm not really a wine drinker”. My answer of course is that you haven't been introduced to the right wine.

To all of my lady friends, please forgive me for what may appear to be a sexist analogy at first, but I'm sure that if you let it settle and give it careful consideration, you will appreciate the following. For all my gentlemen friends, when you finally discover the right wine, it will have the appearance of a super-model, but be full-bodied and well rounded with all of its curves in the right places. It will be full of character with hints of spice and everything nice. The taste will linger like a slow kiss on a warm summer's night and you will want to consume it all.

Let me pause here for a moment before I get in real trouble and clarify some things. For some of us, it did not take long for us to find the right woman. For others, they are still searching. And, although, some of us are in a monogamist relationship with our sole-mate, it doesn't mean we can't appreciate or be friends with other women. Right, Dear?

Okay. I'm going to stop with the analogies before I get in deeper. Often wonder why men do that? We know we're out there on the limb, but we just keep cutting.

Over the years, I've developed a list of questions to help me introduce my friends to a wine they will enjoy. If you're having trouble finding a wine you like or know someone that's not “really into wine”, ask these questions:

• What type of foods to you regularly consume? Are you a red-meat eater, seafood, chicken, vegetarian, etc.?

• What is your favorite beverage? Tea, coffee, regular soda, diet soda, water, milk, etc.?

• Do you smoke?

• Where is your stress level? Scale of 1 to 10.

• Do you have pets? Dog, cat, bird, fish, etc.?

• How much time do you allot for meals?

• Do you exercise? If so, how often, what times, and for how long?

• Do you consume other alcoholic beverages? If so, what?

• Sex? No! No! Not that you're having or wanting sex. Are you male or female?

• Do you often go on business luncheons or dinners?

• How frequently do you dine out?

• What is your favorite type of food? American, Italian, French, Mexican, etc.?

• Would you rather be alone at home with a book or be with friends?

• Do you like to try new things? Food, clothes, styles, places, etc.?

As varied as the answers will be, there are at least that many different wines. Email me with your answers and I will email you back with some suggestions.

However, like finding true love, if at first you don't succeed, don't give up. As in life, you may have some disappointments along the way, but you will also make some friends. And just think of the joy when you finally find that special one (woman, man, wine, etc.) even if it takes you most of your life.

Since you are my friend and I don't want you to have to wait any longer, I'm going to help you find that special wine (sorry, you're on your own if you're searching for a mate). If you've attended one of my wine tastings, you know that I encourage my friends to experience a lot of different wines. First sampling the wine by itself usually taking two or three small sips and rolling the wine around in your mouth. Then, give your palate a minute to absorb all the different characteristics of the wine and try it again with food.

I encourage you to do this at all tastings and attend as many as you can. Also, if they don't specifically mention that food will be served, cut up some lunchmeats (roast beef, turkey, and ham) and cheeses (cheddar and Swiss) and carry them with you in a baggie just in case the winery or tasting room doesn't have any food to pair with their wines. This will allow you to be able to experience how the complexity of the wine changes with each food group. And don't be shy about it either. It's my opinion that all tastings, except for events where they are judging and comparing wines, should be accompanied by bits of different foods to give guests the opportunity to discover the different personalities the wine exhibits with each type of food. I bet they would sale a lot more wine.

Okay, enough about marketing strategy. If you are new to wine or maybe, not so new, here are a couple of recommendations for you to try. If you are a red-meat eater and usually drink tea or coffee, try a glass or bottle (depending on if you're dinning alone or at home) of Franciscan Merlot with a nice juicy steak or lamb chop.

If you are a seafood eater and usually drink soda, try a glass or bottle of Chateau Ste. Michelle Riesling. Let me know how it goes.

And ladies, keep in mind that just like with boyfriends, you may have to go through a lot of losers before you find the right one. However, I promise you, just as in love, there is a wine out there that will knock your socks off.

Until next time, CHEERS!