In my inaugural post, I alluded to my affection for beer–not so much for beer’s sake, but to lay the foundation that, for a guy like me, wine doesn’t necessarily need to take a back seat.

Case in point (aka “The Moment of Truth”):

On a recent Friday night, after a long, arduous work week, my wife and I met up with one of our favorite friend couples. The other guy was a best bro-friend (BBF) with whom I’ve spent hours solving the world’s problems–often over beers in the backyard or garage. I was all keyed up for the hop-filled coldies, profound sports analysis, and frequent fist-bumping that would surely take over this night. Then the BBF’s wonderful girlfriend arrived with two fine bottles of wine in her hand.

Uh oh. I immediately sensed the dilemma I’d be facing: Drink beer alongside my buddy (who doesn’t like wine) or join the ladies with a nice glass of red. My gorgeous wife sitting on my left, the girlfriend on my right, and my pal sitting across from me (with a questioning look as to which way I’d go), I had to choose. Fortunately, we were having pizza and salad for dinner, so either beverage would complement nicely. Still, I felt the weight of my decision.I went wine. And I’m glad I did!

After a few light-hearted snickers from across the table–and the funny clink of my wine glass against my BBF’s aluminum can–we went about our evening enjoying each other’s company and conversation. I was content, taking in a glass of C.G. di Arie’s 2009 Interlude Red Blend. Little did I know that my choice would lead to an education of sorts. Upon finishing my first glass, I was presented with a second–C.G. di Arie’s 2009 Elope Red Blend. Not being an overly sophisticated wine drinker, I wasn’t sure what to expect. And that’s when I learned a about tannins, something I had little knowledge of prior to this evening.

The wine-savvy girlfriend informed me that tannins are the substance that contributes astringency and bitterness to a red wine’s character. Simply put, they affect the taste and dryness in your mouth upon sipping wine. Winemakers>–let’s use C.G. di Arie as an example–adjust tannin levels to impact the characteristics of their various wines and appeal to wine drinkers’ unique preferences. Interlude and Elope, for example, are distinct in this manner.

Who knew? Actually, lots of people do. And now, after making the bold decision of grapes over hops, I do too! But it doesn’t stop there. I not only have a greater appreciation for wine, but also a growing thirst (pun intended) to learn more about winemaking and the many different wines available. That’s the beauty of the El Dorado wine region: there’s something for everyone and getting just a taste of their wines influences me to want to know more, learn more.

I realize wine is much more than a beverage; it’s an experience I like sharing with others, where I find myself researching and asking more questions. And now, when the BBF’s girlfriend says we should all go wine tasting, I excitedly say “Yes! Let’s do it.” I still have some work to do on my buddy, to get him to open up his mind–and pallet–so that he’ll happily join us on such an excursion. Or even just bust out a bottle of wine when watching the big game.

That night, we eventually got around to discussing those ESPN highlights and other stuff (like the required neighborhood gossip), but for a while, it was Wine 101 for yours truly.

And I wouldn’t have chosen differently.

Let’s Be Real,

The Average Joe


Written by The Average Joe