I found myself at a wine festival last week. I had no plans to attend one. I was walking around a foreign city of the Teutonic form with a guide book. I’d looked at a few statues of some dead people that lived hundreds of years ago and pondered whether people actually did this type of rubbish, walk around looking at statues and such gubbins. Some people must, I thought, I wasn’t the only one at it. A morning of it was enough for this lifetime and I felt deep within the desire for an ice cold fizzy pint of lout. I’d done a page worth of a guidebook and realised it was likely the only page I was likely to ever do, so time for a pint of lovely ice cold fizzy lout. Only lout will do, to quench the thirst, cool the throat, clear the mind and feed the soul. Or so I thought.
I’m not the type of beer geek to worry about “craft” beer and brew pubs. I like normal places with normal people. I knew nothing of where I was so I pottered along to an area that had looked rather nice with a view to picking a respectable looking bar and buying a pint of regular popular recognisably branded lout. The type of lout that must be okay because everyone else is drinking it.
As I pottered along I noticed a bustling market. It appeared busy. The smells of cooking food were enticing to my palette. I didn’t realise I was hungry until I smelt the aroma of cooking meat. Then I realised I was starving. I realised that if I didn’t consume some dead animal inside a bread roll with a dollop of mustard on it I would most likely pass out from hunger. A swift right turn and I was heading in the direction of cooking meat.
Upon looking at the menu of delights offered I was pleased that I could read most of it at least with a view to recognising what was pork and what was chicken. The details of the dishes eluded my poor grasp of the language and upon deciding I was in no mood for a gamble I used the well worn technique of pointing at what I wanted. Gambling can be interesting, and rarely in my experience do you end up with something inedible and in fact you gain an appreciation of what the foreign words mean, but in this instance knew that I wanted what the guy before me in the queue was having, so pointing did the trick.
I looked about for a beer stall, and sure enough there was one. But also there appeared to be a wine festival on. I am happy to share my knowledge of wine. It comes in 3 types. There is red and white and rose for the ladies. These wines are sub divided into cheap stuff that makes you wince and takes a few swigs to get the hang of, mid priced stuff that doesn’t make you wince and you are better off buying if you either have a lady friend or wish to impress a lady and the really pricey stuff that appears little better than the mid priced stuff that is great to neck if someone else is picking up the bill. I am aware there are grape varieties, countries and regions that subdivide wine further but have never ventured into discovering this due to a lack of interest in something I have long considered to be a poncy way of getting pissed. I prefer a more egalitarian way of getting pissed, hence my love of beer and more specifically cheap beer.
The wine menu I could at least read. The red and white wine was clear, the region and grape variety I could also read. Being able to read it and understand it however are not one and the same thing. I noticed other punters were able to buy a tray of mixed wines in small measures. Similar to buying a meter of Kolsch beer in 20cl glasses in a tray. So I picked one of them and found a seat among the locals to neck my grog and polish off my jumbo sized hotdog.
I sipped the first one. Not unpleasant but it wasn’t lout. I decided necking them like shots would be the best thing to get through them and not waste them. The locals were puzzled at my behaviour and I was engaged in conversation. I engaged them in conversation in their native tongue but decided against revealing I was an Englishman. As they were doubtless puzzled by a chap throwing these wines down his neck rather than tasting them I decided to claim to be an Australian. That would I thought excuse any behaviour considered uncouth, or at least explain it.
After the first tray of wine I was of the opinion I quite liked it so decided upon another. Which I necked with equal gusto, commentating to my conversational partners that the wines of their country were indeed very fine.
The grog was decent enough, got you to a nice state of mildly pissed reasonably swiftly and wasn’t that expensive compared with the general level of prices thereabouts. I pondered the antipathy towards wine that exists among the beer blogging community and now I am a fully fledged wine appreciator and sophisticate I feel able to comment that such antipathy is ignorance incarnate. Wine is a fine drink to be appreciated and enjoyed. I wholeheartedly recommend necking it from time to time as an occasional alternative to the lout and generally noting that it makes you a well rounded sophisticate like what I am.
If I learnt anything about wine drinking, I learnt this. If you have a lady, stop at around 5 trays worth. Above that you wake up in your hotel room with a strange bruise and no idea how you got there and realise that you are no longer in possession of your English Language guide book but seem to have acquired an Italian Language Guide book alongside a series of mysterious texts on your mobile phone in Italian clearly from a lady asking whether you fancy meeting up for a drink that afternoon 6 stops away on the underground. If you are single, neck as much of it as you like and you could very well wake up finding you have acquired an attractive and exotic new girlfriend.