Tuesday, 11 September 2007

Wine Tasting with Hex My Ex

Very expensive wines. Save up for these
I am late in writing up this post. I was too busy getting high on Co-codamol to sort it out, so apologies to our other reader who has been hanging on for our recommendations for his dinner party last Saturday. However, there will always be dinner parties and so take stock, read and inwardly digest, and you, too, can behave like a wine connoisseur (Blimey, that's a tough word to spell!) - that is to say, you can ponce around in a floppy shirt, sniffing, swirling, spitting and coming out with unfeasible comparisons such as 'It smells like it has matured in a bra of oak'.

The first thing when choosing a wine is to evaluate your guests for the evening. Ask yourself the questions: Do I like these people? Is there anybody whose bones I would like to jump by the end of the night? Would they prefer beer which is cheaper and goes further?

If you don't like them that much, take a bottle of Lambrusco (£2.99/litre) and leave it to go flat. Then add a bit of white wine vinegar to sharpen it up, decant and pass it off as Pinot Grigio. If you fancy a jump later on, add some vodka to it, too. If they prefer beer, then don't bother cooking dinner and just buy a load of fish and chips from the chippy at the back.

The epitome of culture
Look at the label on the bottle which tells you the wine's vintage, origin, grape variety and the alcohol level. The higher the better. Always save bottles from your rich friends' parties as you can steam these labels off later and stick them onto your own bottles so your mates don't think you are a tight-wad. I always go for the label which appeals to me most. So, when a new range of wines was brought out in Oman which had lovely pictures of cows, pigs, sheep, pasta, chickens etc on, denoting what food you can eat with the plonk, I didn't have to think too hard. They all tasted like car battery acid, but that didn't bother me as my mouth is asbestos-lined.

Look at the wine carefully. Pour a glass out and examine it for clarity and colour. Yoof-ful wines are a purpley colour and more mature wines are a deep red. Drink the wine and move on to the whites. A young white will be pale and uninteresting. A mature white should look like a urine sample. Drink the wine.

Smell the wine. Get your nose right in to that glass and have a good snort. This is where you must come out with some really stupid things to say. You can choose from the following, all of which are utterly acceptable to the Luddites at your party.

It smells like:
Day old cigarette butts with a bonfire after-glow
Bitumen intermingled with half-chewed liquorice
Wet dog, petrol and mud
Hot buttered toast and Marmite with a hint of pus
Strawberries and Balsamic vinegar, aged in a bottle of Toilet Duck
Potato peelings, grass cuttings, cobwebs and Stilton (if it is a particularly mature vintage)

To show that you really know your stuff, anthropomorphise the wine and describe it as a 'Frisky little filly', 'An adulterer if ever there was one!', 'The type of wine who will be your best friend when you're kicked out on the streets', 'A wine so mature it needs its colostomy bag changing' and other such highbrow tosh.

Try not to spill the wine as you do this - such a waste
Now you must taste the wine. To do this, you don't just politely have a sip. You suck that wine up through your mouth, slurping, making an inordinate amount of noise like pigs at swill, gargle it round and DON'T spit it out. Swallow it. (If you must spit due to stuffy protocol, make sure you have a bucket handy to collect the slops and serve it as a cocktail with a cherry and a brolly later). One famous wine-taster, who I shall not give name to, as he is the most irritating creature on the face of this planet, recommends that you 'chew' the wine at this stage, letting it coat your gums, teeth and tongue. Is he mental, or what?

After swallowing (or spitting if you are totally stupid), assess the wine for its after-taste, stickability to the soft oral tissue and how it has stained your teeth. If you have bought the cheapest wine you could get away with, at this stage, you should be looking like you have eaten half a pound of beetroot and your mouth will feel like the bottom of a bird cage.

Now you know you've had a good nightYou can have a very enjoyable evening doing this with your friends. If you are too drunk to sort out the burning casserole in the oven, just get out some cheese, crudités and Pot Noodles. It all goes down the same way.

And comes back up the same way next morning.


Amel's Realm said...

Thank you teacher, all of this is VERY enlightening to me, since I don't know any wine at all he he he he...

Matt Chingduvé said...

Sod that spitting out wine business. I went to a winery whilst on holiday in Virginia, and ended up half drunk, and purchasing fine wines which my mate squirreled away later and gave me cheap stuff to drink instead - bloody cheek!

deathsweep said...

Very good information there. I was wondering though, I have this fine "Carton" of wine in my fridge since 3 years ago christmas time and was wondering if it is now considered aged or has it past its prime? The paper at the bottom of the carton has begun to peel back a bit and has taken on a maroonish hue but I feel I could just glue that back, pour straight from the fridge (it has a great decanting spout!)and serve it along with some nice Roasted Lamb Lung. What do you think?

fishwithoutbicycle said...

I've always found a Blue Nun works very well with a Pot Noodle. If I am celebrating, I break out the Baby Cham. Very educational post Agnes. I shall cut out and keep handy for my next wine tasting soiree :-)

Agnes Mildew said...

Amel: You know you can always 'Ask Agnes' about how to make any social faux pas. I am the fount of all unacceptable knowledge.

Matt: I hope you are no longer friends with this disreputable ingrate. You should invite him over for Pot Noodle and take my advice on how to entertain him, but omit the vodka.

Deathsweeper: Many years ago, a container crashed off the shores of Oman and the wine it was carrying for the booze shops was 'spoiled'. Thus, all the cardboard cartons had melted away in the briney, leaving the silver bags. We were not proud, and bought about ten bags. Over time, the silver lining started to come away in the liquid. I found it made a nice talking point during the festive season as partygoers drank my lethal mulled wine with sparkles. So, yes, your wine will now be perfect for drinking and it will compliment the roast lamb lung perfectly.

FWB: Blue Nun with Pot Noodle sounds a gourment delight, actually. I did once see a limited edition of Blue Nun with gold leaf at the bottom. I think this was made for the more upmarket Pot Rice line to be honest.

Stealth said...

That's it! I must throw a hoity dinner party immediately. I usually buy Yellow Tail Shiraz (Austrailian) but now, I am going to be much more of an adventurer. Thanks to your informative blurb, I know a lot of cool new things to say when I sniff, swirl and swig. Thank you for the public service.

Agnes Mildew said...

Stealth: I would recommend a strong bottle of Chateaux Bateaux de Gateaux (1852) to accompany your main meal, with perhaps an aperitif of Sauvignon Plonk when the guests first arrive. To end with, a nice Chardonnyosmond might go down well.

Don't forget to serve liqueurs: coffee with double brandy, double Scotch and a large dash of rum will ensure that your guests pass out and do not remember the quality of your cooking.

alcoment said...

And now my education is complete! Thanks to you, I can now hold my own with the posh people and happily converse on art and wine. Now I just need to find some of said posh people to amaze with my new found knowledge!

thewishfulwriter said...

this is perfect information as apes and i are heading to a wine festival on saturday.

of course, we're both on diets and will not be drinking.

kill me now.

Agnes Mildew said...

Heather: It is a known fact that if you drink red wine and then white, the white negates all the calories in the red as it is lighter. Also, red wine contains lots of beneficial healing properties such as anti-oxidants and grapes which we know make you slim.

So you can forget your diet and drink to your hearts' content.