Mar 6, 2009

Vive le vin!

Oh, wine, that all-Amer...uh...all-French drink: delicious, complex, and too-often-expensive. For thousands of years it has been drunk across the world. Early on, it was a way to protect oneself from all the critters infecting water supplies. Now, it exists for pleasure.

Mike Steinberger, then, raises an excellent question: why do Americans care so much about justifying why we drink wine with its health benefits? Can't we just say that it tastes good and be done?

Wine is delicious. When I was younger, my parents had some relatives over, and they busted out a bottle of Merlot. As with anytime my parents pulled out alcohol (which wasn't that often), I asked for a sip. A sip I received. And, as much as I would like to say that I fell in love with the stuff then and there, it would be a lie. I hated it. It was dry and gross and inspired me to spit it out. I asked my mom if all wine was like that. She said yes, and I purged myself of all desire for the stuff.

Flash forward to college. I had but recently turned 21, and I was attending a dinner at the Quad Club at the University of Chicago, in honor of Harvey Mansfield and his book Manliness (I know, right?). The Quad Club is pretty swank, and, naturally, there was but one choice of beverage besides water: wine. My choice was white or red, and, remembering my mishap with Merlot, I chose the white. It was a good--very good, in fact--Chardonnay. I enjoyed it, but since our dinner was pork, I needed to try the red. For the life of me, I don't remember what it was (looking back, though, I'd guess a Zinfandel, since it was not particularly dry), but it was excellent. I spent the dinner talking with a professor of mine and listening to the Committee on Social Thought debate...and drinking wine. I have no idea what the conversation was about; I remember wanting to know more about wine.

I've since grown more and more to enjoy its subtleties. I am far from a connoisseur, due to both money reasons and the inability to justify becoming a sommelier when there are so many other worthy and less hedonistic things to spend my time on. However, I am an evangelist for wine. It tastes delicious (usually), can sometimes give you a bang for the buck, and--I'm loath to forget--has some positive health effects. So, people of the world, go, be merry. Remember the words of St. Paul and "do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery," but do enjoy it in moderation, for it is very good.

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