Holiday How To: Wine Tasting

Several months ago I won a dinner at Habitat restaurant in Pittsburgh, Pa and because Alex would be leaving soon I decided to take her out to dinner there. Habitat is a fairly upscale restaurant that serves local, (mostly) organic dishes, and being upstairs from a small jazz bar where the music drifts up into the restaurant, it was a rather lovely experience. Alex and my’s waiter at Habitat turned out to be a former bar owner and when we ordered a bottle of wine he uncorked it for us and had me smell the cork and taste the wine before pouring a glass. I asked what the purpose of smelling the cork was (I wasn’t as wine savvy as I thought). His answer was very educational and because this was new news to Alex and me I thought it might be helpful for the rest of you as well. Hopefully you can use this to show off your wine savvy knowledge at your next holiday dinner party.

After ordering a bottle of wine, the waiter should show you the label on the bottle. This is for you to make sure that it is the wine you ordered and that the year is what you expect it to be.

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The waiter should then uncork the bottle at the table you that you can watch and be sure that no part of the cork flakes off into the bottle. After the cork is pulled, the cork should be offered to you in order to sniff. As odd as this may feel or look the purpose of this is probably the most important part of the wine tasting process. When you look at the end of the cork that was touching the wine, it should appear wet, or damp. This tells you that the wine has been stored properly and the cork remained expanded and no air was let into the bottle. While smelling the cork you should be looking to make sure there is no hint of mildew or anything out of the ordinary. If anything does not smell quite right about the wine mention it to the waiter and either try another bottle of the same wine or move on to option two.

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If everything smells and looks ok with the cork the next step is to taste test the wine. The waiter should pour a small amount of wine into your glass, which you will swirl gently, smell, and sip. Swirling the wine helps to aerate the wine, bringing out more of the flavors. Smelling the wine (especially while you sip) brings in more of your senses to allow you to experience more of the flavors of the wine as well. If all looks and tastes good: Enjoy!
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If you’re hosting a wine party at home, I always like to have a bunch of wine glass charms that people can choose from to add a little something special and fun to the party and let’s everyone remember which glass is who’s.

I hope everyone has a wonderful and festive holiday season and enjoy being classy with you wine!

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Wine Makes Everything Better….And My Thoughts On Relationships

I will warn you now that this is a bit of a long blog post (and there are no GIFs, sadly). I’m going to rant and rant about life, love, and relationships like it’s nobody’s business. And while it’s long, I feel like there’s quite a bit of truth in it.

Over the last few months, I believe I have conducted enough “experiments” to prove that wine really does makes all things better. Whether you’re having a good time and just need a little “sumthin’ sumthin'” or you’re having a real shit time and need something to just make it all go away in order to just fall asleep. Wine really does the trick! (And my personal favorite so far is the “I just want to fall asleep with no dreams” kind of wine).

I’m writing this in response to many “events” that have taken place lately. Both my co-blogger and I have been in somewhat of a funk lately and for slightly different reasons, but really for us girls doesn’t it just all come down to one reason that exasperates everything else going on in life?

That one reason, of course, is the male species.

Honestly, this post has been encouraged by a drunken viewing of the movie “Crazy, Stupid Love.” To be completely honest, it did not go quite how I imagined it. There wasn’t supposed to be a love story where people ended up happy. Love is crazy and love is stupid and there are very rarely happy endings. If we pay attention to statistics, more marriages end in divorce than not. And that’s not including the relationships that make it to the engagement stage and then abruptly end due to people actually figuring out what they want before completely financially (and everything else that’s involved) ruining some else’s life.

Personally, I have lately, been left with a sour view of marriage and relationships. All my life I have imagined what it would be like to be in the perfect relationship and then end up with the perfect marriage. I’m sure every other girl out there has envisioned this in her past as well. My parents just celebrated their 29th wedding anniversary and I have no doubt that seeing their happiness has impacted my view of what a marriage and relationship consists of. Unfortunately, this kind of love does not appear to exist anymore.

Anymore, people hardly make it to the three year mark if they make it to marriage at all. And really, I find this so so sad. What happened to people actually being happy with who they are with and what that person has to offer? I’ll be honest in saying that I have very low expectations of people anymore, because people just seem to suck all around anymore. But, when you commit to a relationship, what makes you deviate or betray or just straight up leave? I have no idea other than we just aren’t happy with what we have anymore, because society has taught us to constantly want something better. It’s very new, but I think a line from the new movie “Lola Versus” says it quite well: “I feel like men are always looking for someone better, and women are just looking for what works.” Women just want to be happy and want to be able to trust the person we’re with. As far as I can tell, men just want to have good sex and they’re constantly looking for the “holy grail” of sex stories to tell their friends. This is sad, but unfortunately, I have never seen evidence of anything else in my 24 year old life.

That being said, we women really are looking for someone that we can be happy with and whom we can share things with and whom we can trust and communicate with. These sound so simple and yet we all know these are the hardest things to achieve. Why is that? I have no good answer. No answer at all.

I (and I’m sure my co-blogger as well) spend a majority of nights looking at blogs like weheartit and dearoldlove while drinking a bottle of wine and envisioning our past relationships, current infatuations, and failed attempts at love. And wondering what in the world is in store for us next.

I myself don’t expect much. I have given into negativity and feel as if my “friend” in middle school had it right when she said she could see me ending up alone in life with tons of cats. I don’t even really like cats all that much, but this image is becoming more and more of a possibility. In all actuality I feel like more girls have experienced the same things that I have, even though we all like to believe we are alone in our disastrous love affairs.

What does it say when most of the guys we’ve been in some kind of  relationship with tell us that we’re “fun for now” and that maybe at some other point in time or some other place, we could be something more for them, but they just don’t want to be anything serious with right now.  I’ll tell you what it says: that we’re fun to be with because we’re the transition girl, possibly the rebound, (but maybe not) but apparently we’re not good enough to be respected enough to be loved for the long term. We’re just “fun.” We’re not the girls who deserve to be loved and committed to for the future. Maybe it’s because we’re too nice and too eager to please anyone who shows the slightest bit of “real” interest. And obviously it isn’t real because we’re always told that we’re only here for a short time; until they feel the need to move on. And they always move on after we’ve invested some part of ourselves in whatever it is that we have; always after they’ve sucked us in enough for it to really hurt when they do leave. They always leave.

If we keep letting this happen we’re going to become one of those psychologically damaged girls that no one wants to go near. No one will end up taking the time to understand us, learn what we need to recover, and then be there to help us through to the end. And really, more than likely, if we were to ever come across this person in our lifetime, we’re going to be too damaged to let him anywhere close enough to ever know that he may want to be with us. Apparently we just have perfect timing for meeting and liking people at the wrong point in time in their lives and our own. It would be better off if we had never known what it was like to be in a relationship, and feel what it’s like to have his arms around us.

“It’s better to have loved and lost, than never to have loved at all” is complete bullshit. Knowing what we’re missing hurts more than wondering what we’re missing. We’d be happier if we weren’t depressed about why no one will ever love us enough to stay with us.  At least if we had never known what a man’s attention felt like we could still have hope that we’d find him one day. Now that we’ve had such awful luck we’re starting to wonder if we should just give up altogether and learn to be comfortable with being “independent” before we end up getting hurt just one too many times.

Of course you can think about being alone and being okay with that all we want, but we know that the next guy who comes along with a sweet voice and kind actions is going to be the next guy we fall for, no matter how much we resist, because we’re too much of a hopeless romantic to not give it a try. And because we’ve somehow convinced ourselves, against our own good advice, to believe that the right one who will love us could really still be out there and maybe, just maybe, this next guy is the one.

And maybe he is, but deep down we will always wonder, and just wait for the news that he doesn’t want anything serious with us. That he just wants something “fun.” And then so will begin the spiral downward once again. As angry as we feel, as loveless as we feel, we will, for some unknown reason, always crave what we know we will never truly find. And we won’t find it because we’ll be hurt one too many times to trust anyone ever again.  So say thank you to every guy we’ve ever thought meant something, because they’ve officially ruined our ideas of what love could be.

That may be extreme, but for the time being, it’s all I can think is the truth. I don’t think that men are raised to respect and love women the way they once were so many years ago, if they ever really did love and respect us. But there has to be a few of them out there if we all know at least one or two people in happy, lasting relationships.

And to bring it all back around, wine makes it all better because it makes us women feel a little sophisticated while still being able to get drunk enough to fall asleep easily without thinking of the guys that make us sad. And being able to do that means no dreams that wake us up feeling even more sad.

And I really don’t have any answers for how to not feel this way or for how to not even become this sort of girl/situation. It just seems to happen without really knowing it. And it’s not until you think about it too much that you realize what’s going on and then at that point you more than likely don’t know what to do about it because you enjoy being with this one guy too much to end it for whatever reason or another.

So until you figure out how and why to end it (and if you do, please please let me know), I say keep drinking wine and enjoy you’re dreamless wine drunken induced dreams! Eventually we’ll all, hopefully ,find that one person who makes this entire post completely false.