Tuesday, 11 September 2007
Wine Tasting with Hex My Ex
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.
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.
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.
You 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.