Saturday, July 02, 2005

Boxed wine, no shame!

My poor father - he loves reading about wine, talking about wine, and thinking about wine, but he still had to ask me what a Merlot was last fall. He saves wine reviews from the community paper and picks up featured bottles for family dinners. (He gets stuck on a single idea forever. Sorry Dad - Stump Jump Australian red may be a good wine, but it was awful with Thanksgiving dinner, so you don't have to get it again, let alone read to us about it again and again.) He can't taste worth a damn, thanks to his brain injury. Wine tastes much the same to him, but he wants to know about it and talk about it like he can taste the difference. Again, poor fellow. Poor us, but choking down Dad's wine of the month is a small price to pay to give him a little thrill...

...almost as big a thrill as it was for me to pick up this box of Hochtaler today!

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This article on pairing wines with BBQ fare sure took me back. We love wine. To some degree we know wine, but that wasn't always so. When I was a kid, my family were never wine snobs - not that having a basic wine knowledge equals snobbery - but rather, knew what they liked and what distinguished it. White wine served in our homes, for example, was usually inexpensive Ontario stuff, like Maria Christina or Bright's. Or German, which I knew was generally sweeter than French. That much my folks could explain to me, only the German was usually Blue Nun, and the French most often Kressman or B&G. Red wine was just red wine, be it Cuvee Speciale, more Maria Christina, or the cheap French wine.

I like that stuff. I've never said no to wine out of a box - it's what we had. And while I'm deighted to know about the wines that can complement BBQed food, I think that nothing will ever make me happier at a BBQ than red Maria Christina from a box, or crisp, dry white Kressman from a 1.5 litre bottle with a screw cap.

Now I know much more about wine, as do my friends, though none of us are experts. We love our Shiraz, our Rieslings, our Cab Sauvignons, and now drag appropriate bottles to get-togethers faithfully. Somehow, after all these years, we've come to mock wine in a box, and feel trashy if we drink from a bottle that has dispensed with the formality of the cork.

No more. Back to my roots, eh. Hic.


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