How to Start a Wine Blog a.k.a Musings Between Glasses of Wine
August 24, 2018
“I really like white zinfandel, but I’m embarrassed to order it. How can I learn to drink more ‘serious’ wines?” “I don’t like champagne; I had it at my cousin’s wedding and it gave me a headache.” “When I go home to visit my parents, my mom cooks these amazing dinners….and then opens a bottle of Two Buck Chuck! She tells me you’ve spoiled me with ‘good’ wine.” “I love white wine but the sulfites give me headaches.”
These are all wine conversations that I have had over the last couple of years.
I started drinking “real” wine in my mid twenties. Having grown up in a dry household, my first college forays into alcohol involved white zinfandel, “chablis,” and anything else in the fancy Paul Mason carafes I found so elegant and grown up looking. When a Saturday night post graduation get together with my besties involving a couple of carafes of my old reliable Paul Mason paired with a friend’s favorite Port Wine Cheddar spread led to a Sunday spent sprawled on the floor of my bathroom, I avoided wine for a while. (In retrospect, I blame the Port Wine Cheddar…..)
It took a hot date with a cute “older” man of 26 for me to be willing to give wine another try. The wine, a Chateau St. Michelle (he was clearly trying to score points with me!) Johanisburg Riesling, tasted nothing like the Paul Mason I remembered. Clean, clear, lightly sweet, tasting a little bit like a blend of apple juice laced with pear. A fancy grown-up juice box, if you will. Best of all, I could a) pronounce it, b) find it in my neighborhood grocery store for about $6 a bottle, more than a six pack of beer but still in the range of affordable, and c) it didn’t leave me wishing for death on the bathroom floor.
Chateau St. Michelle became a favorite, and I branched out into other varietals. I bought the Merlot, because the description on the bottle said it tasted like blackberries. It was a splurge at $13.99 at Costco, and I drank it with my BFF Michele (a soulmate of a friend, despite the shortage of “l’s” in her spelling) while experimenting with hair color and watching OJ Simpson drive that white bronco across our TV screen. I bought the Cabernet to “pair” with steaks, prepared in the first grown-up home of my own on my tiny back yard grill.
In my twenties, I spent nearly all of my free time with the friends that I would later come to realize were my earliest exposure to foodies. They would rhapsodize about garlic shrimps, and spend hours developing the perfect chili cook off recipe, prepare meals with homemade pesto, sourced from basil plucked from their backyard gardens, and teach me to make cold drip coffee concentrate 20 years before it was the hipster promotion from Starbucks. I adored them, and every minute we spent together, and I learned a ton about food. Along the way, I acquired the beginnings of my wine education. Two decades later, my love of wine has only intensified, and I rarely go a day without talking, writing, thinking, and of course, drinking it. It seemed only natural to marry my love of the vine with my love of words. For years I toyed with the idea, unsure of where to begin. I’m no “expert” – I’m completely self taught, and there are no initials behind my name. What I do have is a passion for wine, from the good, everyday stuff to the sublime “I’ve died and gone to heaven” nectar of the gods. I enjoy geeking out with the “cork dorks” but I find that even more so, I love to share my knowledge and experiences in such a way that anyone can feel an expert in their OWN tastes, which after all, is really what counts. What good is it to have a cellar full of big, red California cabs if you like crisp whites, or sweet bubblies? Conversely, why pair a delicate riesling with your sushi or Chinese takeout if you really crave a fruity red zin?
By no means am I saying discount the traditional wine pairings, but maybe, just maybe, there is more than one way to go about this business of selecting and drinking wine. A wine adventure, so to speak.
So what do you think? Care to grab your corkscrew and glass and come along?