Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Trying Something New

Familiar is comfortable and safe.

So are turtlenecks.  And Volvo station wagons (are station wagons even around anymore?).  I imagine a pair of British Knights offers both a cushioned sole and adequate ankle support when one wants to comfortably- and safely- dance the Roger Rabbit to the latest hip-hop stylings of Color Me Badd.

But guess what?  After dressing warmly in my ribbed turtleneck & pumped up kicks by BK, then taking to the streets in my 245 DL, I figured out that the conservative route elicits little adventure, and even less sex appeal.  No hot rod will challenge a Volvo off the line at a stop light.  Cops don't glare with apprehension- and a bit of admiration.  I don't need to run faster than anyone's bullets in my British Knights... nobody wants them.  And no sexy American foxes are coming after me when a turtleneck shrouds my bulging biceps and even more impressive liger's mane of chest hair.

Let's get as real as the kids say they are keeping it these days:  California Chardonnay is the turtleneck of wines.  Folks who only drink Napa Cabernet also happen to wear British Knights (look at their feet next time!  Seek out that huge "BK" on the side of the shoe, staring you down like a Cali Cab drinker's scarlet letter).

But I understand it's tough to deviate, especially to those who are just starting to drink wine.  Many of us started our adventure into adult beverages with 6 and 12 packs of beer.  For the price of a halfway decent bottle of wine, we were getting 12 drinks.  And 12 is more than 1... 1 bottle of wine, that is.  It was always hard to justify- unless trying to look cool and sophisticated in front of a lady for whom I had a fancy- buying only a couple drinks when I could get several.  Alas, I suppose alcohol back then was a means to an end, not something to be considered a compliment to the meal.

So, when the time came to pony up, it was important to go with what we knew.  What had tasted good before.  Its like being in a foreign country and going to McDonald's.  I think the instinct is to avoid risk and go with consistency.  We're all guilty of it.  In business travel, I've eaten a hell of a lot more Taco Bell in my days than popping into the local place.

With wine, the choices are endless.  Dizzying, even.  And so many don't know what they may be missing.  I've tasted more people on torrontés and bonarda (among others) in the past 5 months who had never even heard of the grapes.  They've walked past the bottles a million times, but didn't want to risk a bad experience.  After tasting, at least 8 out of 10 expressed excitement and favor towards these "new" wines.

Next time you go out to buy, try something new.  If you're shopping at a good store with knowledgeable wine folks, they won't steer you wrong, and they probably won't put a bunch of junk on the shelves anyway.  I rarely buy the same wine twice.  There's just so much out there.  It's a great way to learn about the hundreds of grapes and regions that turn out fabulous juice.

Be sure to still wear those British Knights, though.  Most shops require shoes.

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