Monday, August 29, 2005

In this humble vineyard, my love for wine began

Okay. In my last post, it may have been implied that maybe, just maybe, I could, with the right amount of knowledge, turn into a wine snob.

To keep myself in check on the snobbery front and to lay down my street-cred as a wine drinker of the people, it is probably important to go back to my more humble beginnings as a connoisseur of fine grape beverages and show how my love of fine wines evolved over the years.

Which would, I think, bring us back to the summer following my senior year of high school.

At this point, I had "experimented" with beer, and that was proceeding along nicely. My friend Peter had introduced me to my first beer, which was basically half of a longneck Budweiser bottle that I managed to get down by devouring a package of Saltines. Tasty.

By the time we had graduated, I could more easily finish off a couple of beers without resorting to a massive amount of carbo-loading. Unfortunately, being 18 and lacking anything resembling a reasonable fake ID, my friends and I could not reliably count on swimming in an endless river of hoppy goodness.

At which point Peter found a case of wine hidden underneath, most likely, a large pile of Ken Stabler memorabilia in his cellar. Although the passage of time, and likely the consumption of the wine, has made the details a little hazy, I'm pretty sure that this wasn't just any wine. This was a case of homemade wine. There were no labels that I remember, and I have a vague recollection of the corks having been hastily jammed into the bottles. For alcohol-starved teenagers, this was truly a gift from Dionysus (We, and Peter especially, had that customary Jim Morrison fascination. Still, I'll say good ol' Jim's music has held up better than most). Unfortunately, we were not prepared for what happened when we uncorked this magical wine find. Nearly 20 years later, I'm not sure if it was a lack of a sophisticated palate, or if it was because the wine was not fit for human consumption, but I am sure that everyone who had a first taste of that special cellar vintage spit it right back out.

But this would not stop us, oh no. We were young, and there was perfectly potent alcohol right in front of us. We may have been underachievers in the classroom, but when it came to drinking, we could be pretty damn resourceful. I'm not exactly sure whose idea it was, but I think Peter knew that there was a metal can of Hi-C fruit juice in his fridge. The old-school, metal can that you opened up with a can opener. I even think it was the Ecto-Cooler. Out comes the Ecto-cooler, out come the plastic tumblers, in mixes the slightly-off homemade cellar wine.

Now this was something we could handle.

I think the good times lasted for about a month. Peter's parents probably wondered why we walked through the door every weekend with shopping bags full of metal Hi-C juice cans. Although we didn't realize it at the time, we were getting loaded every weekend on trailer trash sangria.

Eventually the wine ran out, we found better supplies for beer and wine coolers, and there would even be a period of massive Boone's Farm consumption.

But the homemade cellar wine mixed with Ecto-Cooler will always be my first wine drinking experience, no matter how many Cabs or Zins or Pinots I taste.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Randy let me know about your blog--reminiscing about out drunken youth has been a great way to end my workday here in Baltimore...I hope you and Carrie are well and look forward to reading your next entry!

Last night there was a movie on starring Fabian, called "Mary Jane." It reminded me of "Psych-out" with Jack Nicholson. Terrible movie about the dangers of teenagers smoking marijuana, but funny just the same. Take care! -Amy

5:39 PM  

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