I once considered wine a stuffy and snobby beverage that only “old” people could love. My parents and grandparents drank wine out of fancy crystal glasses at special occasions. Occasions in which I was required to wear itchy clothes and sit up straight in terribly uncomfortable formal dining-room chairs.
As a kid, I took a swallow of unattended wine at a holiday dinner and nearly choked on the warm, thick liquid. My parents caught me but instead of yelling, they just laughed at my disgusted face. I reached for my glass of soda and guzzled it until the taste of wine was nothing more than a bitter memory.
I carried this anti-wine attitude into my 20s until I saw the movie “Sideways.” Young, attractive people (oh, and Paul Giamatti) sat on lush-looking grass sipping wine at dusk and talking about interesting things. Suddenly I had a craving for wine, particularly Pinot Noir.
I told some co-workers about my sudden desire to learn about wine and they were more than happy to “study” with me. We slouched in comfortable chairs, wore our favorite jeans and sometimes sipped wine out of plastic cups. It may have been the camaraderie that I enjoyed more than those first few bottles of cheap wine, but I quickly discovered that drinking wine was fun.
As my paycheck increased, so did my desire to buy good wine and real stemware. And the more I swirled, sniffed and sipped, the more developed my palate became.
If your feelings about wine are lukewarm, I encourage you to attend a wine dinner. You’ll indulge in chef-created dishes paired with carefully selected wines. After a few sips, a sense of camaraderie will develop among the dinner guests, and I bet your feelings will change. Here are a few upcoming wine dinners, no itchy clothes required:
The Market, at 1039 First Avenue, hosts a wine dinner featuring syrah/shiraz at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 19. Reservations are needed by noon Monday, April 18. Chef Jamie Gruber will create five courses, each paired with wine. Cost is $45. Call 706-320-9733, to save your seat.
Jimmy’s, at 104 South Eighth Street in Opelika, hosts a wine dinner on Monday, April 25, at 7:30 p.m. EDT. The theme is “Easter Celebration.” Dishes featuring homemade ingredients and a special dessert will be served. Expect to see salmon, lamb, asparagus, spinach and eggs. Call for a reservation, 334-745-2155.
Carriage & Horses, 607 Butts Mill Road in Pine Mountain, hosts its monthly wine dinner on Saturday, April 30. Make a reservation for anytime after 6 p.m. and enjoy a buffet of prime rib, oysters, shrimp and smoked salmon. Cost is $25. Reservations are required, 706-663-4777.
If you know about a special event or wine dinner happening at a local restaurant, call me at 706-571-8512 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Visit Dawn's blog, Dawn’s Dish, some wine vocabulary lessons.