Whining about wine...



Built in Sub-Zero wine cooler.
Wine, the magical elixir, its delicate aroma, whether white or red, wafts through our nostrils to luxuriate our senses, our lips gently pursed to accept the first sip, creating the familiar warmth as it slithers down our throats.  

I love wine.  Wine doesn't like me.

As we contemplate our travels, many of which are havens of the finest of wine making; the perfect soil, the perfect weather, the perfect grape and the vast commitment and knowledge of its makers, I am saddened by the fact that wine doesn't like me. 

Oddly, Tom doesn't care for wine, preferring Courvoisier, in itself a form of wine, and oddly again, mixed with diet Sprite. What a concoction!  

Wine has represented a certain sense of comfort to me over the years, often saying, "Hey, let's go grab a glass of wine." or "Would you like wine with your dinner," words I have often expressed to create a sense of comfort for the potential consumer of this centuries old tradition.

When we remodeled our kitchen eight years ago, we added a Sub-zero wine cooler, integrating our cabinet design in its installation.  At that point, wine had started not liking me but somehow I thought "it" may "change its mind" if I honored "it" with this fine temperature controlled refrigeration system.  Alas, to no avail.  Wine continued disliking me.
 
Drawer opened to some of the red wine in our wine cooler
Sadly wine doesn't agree with me, a quasi wine aficionado such as myself.  I read the reviews, the books, attending classes and numerous wine tastings over the years.  I subscribed to Wine Spectator Magazine and shopped at liquor stores that posted the ratings.  
 
Over the years, I drank my fair share of wine, mostly red, mostly domestic, with many a homemade meal, never before 5 PM, seldom alone. I cooked with wine; fine sauces, soups and endless pots of roasted meats and vegetables, the aroma filling the air with delicious swirls of scent.
 
In 1996, I had surgery staying in the hospital for only 48 hours.  Upon returning home, feeling quite well, I looked forward to stopping the pain medication within a few days thus allowing me to return to my enjoyment of red wine.  
A prized bottle of Layer Cake, a fine Shiraz, hard to find at the time.
A few days later, while preparing a pot of chicken, lentil and roasted root vegetable soup, I opened a bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon and poured it half full into my preferred prefect wine glass; delicate crystal, slender stem, sparkling clean.  

Bringing it to my lips, I drew a breath in anticipation of the familiar liquid.  It didn't taste right!  Trying again a few minutes later, it still didn't taste right.  I attributed the peculiar flavor sensation to the fact that only days ago, I had anesthesia for surgery.  Perhaps those drugs were still in my system affecting my taste buds. 

Tossing the glass of wine, I waited to try again several days later, again to be disappointed and confused.  Over the next 16 years, I continued to have a sad relationship with wine. Oddly, that surgery had caused me to lose interest in wine.
 
Eventually, my taste buds recovered but I did not.  Drinking only one or two glasses of wine, whether white or red, resulted in horrible discomfort during the night with an awful hangover continuing well into the next day. The less often I drank, the worse the scenario.  Wine or any other form of alcohol appears to poison me, leaving me weak and shaky for no less than 24 hours.

Last night friends joined us for dinner (Yeah, I know we said no more entertaining guests!) and once again I tried drinking wine, hoping for a different outcome, finishing off a bottle of Pinot Grigio with my guests. It had been a year since my last glass of wine.

After a fitful night of tossing and turning, feeling shaky and queasy, I made a commitment to say "goodbye" to wine as one more item on my list of letting go of favorite things as we begin our journey, as mentioned in this past Sunday's post.  

It will be difficult to avoid tasting the fine wines of Italy, France, Spain, Portugal and South Africa.  The food, the wine, the ambiance, and the companionship all blend into the utmost of dining pleasure.  The exclusion of the wine, however difficult, will ultimately serve me well.  

Now tell me, how will we gluten free folks resist the bread and pasta in Italy, the croissants in France and the handmade flatbreads in Africa.

P.S.  We will be getting a new camera before departure and hopefully learn how to use it. My Android phone doesn't take good photos and sadly, we are both awful photographers.  We will learn!  Any suggestions on a camera?

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