Expensive Pretensions

So, for lack of things to blog about when my life is revolving mostly around essay deadlines and wordcounts, I am going to repost entries I made on my last attempt at blogging. So here is the first of them, originally written on January 31st:


Now, I am a student, and as such I have consumed a decent amount of alcohol in the year and a half that I have been at University. I have always been partial to a glass of wine: it is a drink that will get you nicely tipsy but will also give the illusion, if only to yourself, that you are actually rather sophisticated. Recently I decided that cracking the code of wine might assist in this illusion as well as provide me with another level of snobbery to add to my rapidly expanding repertoire. So yesterday evening, after joining the Wine and Whisky Appreciation Society, I headed off to campus to begin my education.

Initially it was rather daunting. My friends and I sat down at a long table which rather resembled what one would see in an executive board meeting (the range of wines and wine glasses excepted), and pored over the sheets of ‘tasting terms’ and ‘aroma and flavour characteristics’. These seemed to suggest that wine could taste like leather or wet wool, neither of which I can admit to having tasted before. It can also, somewhat worryingly, taste ‘meaty’. I think I would feel more comfortable with some specificity here, as ‘meaty’ is something I have come to associate with the more dubious 2 a.m. kebab shop visits.

Nevertheless we dutifully listened to the Wine Expert telling us about the various wines we would be tasting, as well as explaining what ‘vertical tasting’ is (just so you know, it’s comparing the same wine from different vintages, rather than different wines from the same vintage which is, shockingly enough, ‘horizontal tasting’). Then we began to hold our glasses up to the light, debate the difference between ‘lemon-green’ and ‘lemon’ and to stick our noses in the glass with a hearty sniff. It was all jolly good fun, though at first I’ll admit to being able to say nothing more than “fruity” or “sweet”, which is apparently impossible to smell. As we progressed through the four types of wine however, we developed rather more ability, or so it seemed. It is debateable as to whether we were smelling and tasting that much better or whether we were just becoming more adept at bullshitting. The tastes of petrol, pepper, smoke and Wimbledon were starting to come through and we were beginning to fancy ourselves as sophisticates.

After two hours of this I am looking forward to developing this knowledge. I will soon delight in sitting in restaurants expertly swirling my wine glass and, after a thoughtful sip and significant pause, pronouncing the wine to have a rather burnt aftertaste with a hint of liquorice on the tongue. Or some other such bollocks.

Yesterday was, as my fellow newbie wine-taster said, the beginning of a very expensive lifelong habit. And I plan to enjoy it. 



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