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March 20, 2006

Get Your Grape On: A Joey Headset Guide to Wine

If you are anything like me, you get invited to a lot of parties; parties where you don't really know the hosts or feel like talking to any of the guests. At social occasions such as these, I've found that the best strategy is to drink until the people around you seem tolerable. Or at least until you get thrown out. Your results may very.

Personally, I prefer not to drink anything that I can't find at my local convenience store. I don't like surprises. However, at the parties I attend, people usually bring wine. Nothing wrong with that, per se... I'll drink wine if someone else is paying for it. The trouble is, when people bring wine to parties, they also like to talk about the wine. Even worse, they expect YOU to talk about it too! "I love the notes of apricot and tobacco in this California Chardonnay - WHAT DO YOU THINK?"

If you've ever found yourself in this awkward situation, you need some wine schoolin' and you need it pronto. Sit back, relax and let my knowledge wash over you like an Australian Shiraz enema. That's a kind of wine (see, you're already learning)!

Wine is produced when old, bearded men pour grape juice into barrels and combine it with grain alcohol. The alcohol kills off deadly bacteria strains that live inside grapes. Raw grapes, like most forms of fruit/vegetable, are indigestible by humans unless mixed with alcohol, sweetened with high fructose corn syrup or smothered in ranch dressing. For this reason, the safest wine to drink is the Wine Cooler - which contains both alcohol and corn syrup. Interesting historical note: Wine was invented by the ancient Greeks because having sex with young boys made them very thirsty. The fruity beverage not only quenched their thirst, but also made the young boys a little more "receptive" to their advances.

Unlike Gatorade or Kool-Aid, which comes in dozens of delicious flavors, wines all taste exactly the same. They all taste like wine. Though wine doesn't come in "flavors", it does come in many colors. White and red are the most common, but yellow, green and orange wines are not uncommon.

winguide_md.jpg

So, you might be wondering: "If all wines taste the same, how can I tell the good ones from the ones that suck crap?" This is easily accomplished. You can determine the quality of any wine by inspecting the bottle. On the wine's label, look for a one or two digit number followed by the letters "ABV" (this stands for Alcohol By Volume). The higher the number, the better the wine. It's that simple! You will find that the finest wines are classified as Fortified Wines. When I bring a bottle of wine to a fancy dinner party, I never bring anything weaker than 18% ABV. Thunderbird, MD 20/20, Cisco, Night Train - these are all excellent "vintages" that can be appreciated by both connoisseurs and train-yard derelicts.

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Now you know virtually all there is to know about wine! Feel free to talk loudly about it at parties; use lots of big words and try to make other people feel stupid. Because the stupider other people feel, the smarter you seem.

Posted by Joey at March 20, 2006 01:38 PM

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