Just when I think I'm sophisticated - this stuff happens

Last night I had to make a trip to the liquor store to buy a bottle of wine. My theater company has its annual benefit this Sunday, and all board members are supposed to donate a bottle of wine to the “Board Wine Basket” item that is part of the silent auction. I had been putting this off for as long as possible because I’m not really much of a wine drinker. I frequently feel as though I should be one, however, and have made multiple attempts to develop the skills required I still prefer a nice bottle of beer or glass of strawberry kiwi juice to the vino.

This case was even worse, because I’m sure the other board members probably know tons about wine since all of them are older and infinitely more sophisticated than I am. So I will end up being judged not only by the purchaser of said basket, but also by the other board members (although to their credit I’m sure they will be nice about it). I was tempted to just buy a bottle of Boone’s Farm, Charles Shaw, or something in a nice box. But I thought that wouldn’t be fair to whoever bought the basket, and since the whole point was to try and appear classy, I gave up and went to the one place where I knew people could help me – Sam’s.

No, not Sam’s Club – Sam’s Wine and Spirits which is a local liquor store where the people actually know what they are talking about. The people who work there have often helped me find wine that people liked for every wine-requiring party I’ve ever thrown. So I walked in with an air of confidence, but then I remembered that the point of the item was to give a collection of “board favorites” which meant I probably needed to pick the bottle out myself – without the help of the only people in the building who knew what they were doing.

This should be pretty simple, as there are only two wine labels that I even recognize* - the first being a Rioja called Cote de Inez** which I had for the first time in Madrid, and the second being a white California Table wine called Conundrum. At first I tried searching for the Conundrum, but I found that it’s now bottled in a screw cap. Now from my research, I have learned that a lot of very good white wines are now being bottled with screw caps because it provides a better seal and helps protect the wine better. But I still cannot see a screw cap and not think of Boone’s. And even if I love the wine itself, I couldn’t bring myself to buy it for the basket.

Then I tried searching for the Rioja, but was terrified to discover that the only one I knew wasn’t there. “Well great,” I thought, “now what?” I figured that if I can’t find what I know, I’ll just resort to the same technique all guys use when in this situation – Pick a type of wint you know you like (chardonnay, merlot, etc), ignore everything with a rating of less than 90, and then pick one based entirely on the name plus the packaging. I ended up choosing a Rioja based on the fact that it’s named after the actor who played Bud Bundy on Married with Children and that it’s encased in fishnet-style netting. And hey, if it’s wearing fishnets it must be good, right?

As long as it doesn’t come from this guy

* Other than Yellow Tail and the aforementioned two
** I think that’s how it’s spelled


OleNelson said…
I have nothing against judging a book/bottle of wine by its cover (a position for which I have a very elaborate justification -- which I will not repeat here).

Of course, I also secretly desire to be a wine snob, even though I know that they tend to be completely obnoxious.
towwas said…
I tell you, man: if you're going to choose by label, you can't do better than the Bonny Doon Winery. Look for it at your liquor store.
KC said…
I don't know any more about wine than the fact that I don't like white. I only like red zinfandel. Not that pink zin stuff, but true deep dark red. Love the stuff!

The fishnet will either get you odd looks from your fellow board members or someone will sneak away with the bottle, take the fishnet off, then place it back in the basket when you're not looking.
Sophist said…
I drink wine but I still can't tell the difference between a pinot noir and a zinfandel by taste (or anything else for that matter). I do know that I like dry stuff, so I look at the little wine store recommendations for key words like "dry." Other than that, it's all about the label, man!