Wine Not?

I enjoy wine. Scratch that. Wine is the drink I enjoy above all other drinks. Perhaps because it is diverse and can take on so many remarkable forms–thus is capable of suiting my every mood. Sweet. Dry. Fruity. Crisp. Acidic. Buttery. I could go on and on.  I love how it tastes, how it feels, how it smells. Bottled or boxed, I’ll take. It also doesn’t hurt that it has a reputation for being somewhat healthy too, so I can feel OK about indulging in the occasional glass or two (or three).

The problem, if you want to call it that, is that until recently I wasn’t really discriminating between types. I was acting like a floozy, not being particularly picky about my suitors. I was just happy to have a date.

Heath, trickster that he is, took it upon himself to change that by organizing a surprise Blind Wine Taste Test. What fun! Home he came with six mystery bottles (4 reds and 2 whites) for me to sample, identify and evaluate. I knew I liked that guy.

The wine contestants

The purpose of the test was for me to see not only if I could identify which wines were which from taste alone, but also to see what type of wine I truly enjoy the most. I’ve been to vineyards and done the whole wine tasting thing before, but doing it blind made for an ironically eye-opening experience.

It was stimulating to see if I could detect the hints of berry, chocolate, nuts etc. the labels claim lie within. And I enjoyed getting to have an honest discussion about which glasses worked for me and which didn’t, without being influenced by my atmosphere, the wine’s cost, or my previous notions of what I did and didn’t like. For example, I always thought myself a red girl, but I was blown away both by how much I enjoyed a glass of crisp Pinot Grigio and how much I winced after a sip of Merlot.

I won’t be going into the wine tasting business professionally, as I don’t think I really have the chops or buds sensitive enough to handle the job; but the wine taste test was a super sweet and thoughtful surprise that helped me learn a little about myself and little more about my favorite hobby. Perhaps next week. A cheese taste test is in order.


Taste Test of Champions

I suppose it’s time to shed some light on a recent event that caused both Heath and I to experience a hefty amount of shock and awe, The Cheap Beer Taste Test of 2010.

The taste test was the brain child of our friend Eric of Red River Lighthouse fame. As a part of his birthday festivities, he decided to organize a massive blind taste test of some of the cheaper beers we all shamefully indulge in from time to time. The competitors included the following:

  • Bud Light
  • Budweiser
  • Busch
  • Coors
  • Corona (no lime, as not to hinder the blind aspect of the test)
  • Icehouse
  • Keystone Light
  • Lone Star
  • Miller High Life
  • Miller Light
  • Natural Light
  • Pabst Blue Ribbon
  • Schlitz
  • Shiner Blonde (the most elite of the bunch)
  • Steel Reserve
  • Tecate

First, a panel of about 15 or so beer aficionados sampled the beverages, giving each a score between 1 and 5 based on body, overall flavor and other beery things. The scores were tallied and averaged out to provide us with a numerical winner (to be announced later). Then the testers stacked the 16 brewskies against each other through a bracket system to determine an additional favorite.

To say the results were shocking would be an understatement. Grown men looked to be on the verge of tears as the identity of each of the beers (originally labeled with names A through P) were revealed. Brands that people swore by were quickly outted as being some of the worst beers in the competition, while others surpassed the reputation that proceeded them.

“So what were the winners?” You ask.

The numerical winner, receiving a score of 3.25 was Schlitz.

And the beer that pulled ahead in our mini play off system? Barely edging out Texas’ favorite Lone Star, was the Rocky Mountain classic, Coors.

And in last place in both the play off and numerical systems was my fav, Corona. Although, without a lime, I can’t say that it was a fair fight (it’s like ordering chocolate milk without the chocolate). But those were our not-so-scientific findings of the Cheap Beer Taste Test: a night well-spent.