When you turn 50 (as I recently did), lots of super fun things start to happen. Your metabolism takes a dump, your short term memory takes a vacation, everything starts to hurt, you can’t see anything without holding it out at arm’s length, you have to get a colonoscopy (the prep is a fresh hell, don’t let anyone tell you otherwise), and then there’s peri-menopause. My god, hormones are assholes. I have zero patience, and everything annoys me. Right now, I’m annoyed because my coffee is cold.
But, along with all these super fun changes, comes this liberating perspective. You realize life is getting shorter, and you only have time to “give a fuck about things that are truly fuckworthy” (credit Mark Manson). For example, the other day, I was waiting in line at the grocery store (annoyed because I was waiting in line), looking at the all the tabloid magazine covers. And I thought to myself, I don’t know who any of these people are. And then I thought, “Doooooon’t care,” which may as well be my new mantra. Maybe it’s peri-menopause, but then again, maybe it’s perspective.
This perspective applies to wine, too. So, here are some of my wine sins and peaves — things I just don’t care about, and/or annoy the snot out of me:
A champagne cage has exactly six twists to it (go ahead, count ’em). And you’re supposed to leave the cage on the cork when opening a bottle of Champagne. That part, I do. You’re also supposed to release the cork with a soft “pffft” (the technical term for this sound is “a nun’s fart”) instead of a loud “POP”. Where’s the fun in that? I prefer to announce to the room that Champagne is open. (The Mr. AS prefers to launch the cork across the backyard like an artillery shell.)
You’re supposed to use the little knife on your fancy buffalo-horn handled waiter’s corkscrew to remove the foil. That takes too much time. I will cut the foil off if I have one of those easy foil cutters handy. If not, I use the corkscrew to stab and slice the foil, and peel it off. It’s really inelegant, and probably going to end with me heading to the ER to get stitches in my hand, but I do it anyway.
Decanting is a huge pain in the ass. I own several fancy/elegant decanters. Guess how often I use them? Never. I skip decanting unless the wine is really old. And even then, I’m not using one of these:
This whole business of proper stemware is tedious. I own an absurd number of wine glasses. ABSURD. Easily over 200. I could have my own episode of Hoarders: Stemware. Guess how often I use them? Almost never. That’s not to say I don’t have some treasured stemware, I do. I just don’t use them that often.
I switched to stemless glasses for everyday wine drinking years ago, for one simple reason — they fit in my dishwasher. Yes, I put them in the dishwasher. Professional winos scoff at stemless glasses because the heat from your hand can warm a wine. Blah, blah, blah. I don’t usually use the palm of my hand as a coaster, so whatever.
I also buy my wine glasses at Home Goods or Marshalls. If you look, you can find Riedel, Spieglau, and other high quality glass brands at significant savings. So, if I break a glass (which I tend to do rather a lot), I don’t feel as bad.
Also, you don’t need a different shaped wine glass for every wine variety under the sun. Who has this much cabinet space? One universal wine glass is all you need. One glass to rule them all.
I know people who will whip out a wine thermometer before they drink a glass of wine, so they can check their wine for the proper temperature. People who obsessively check the temperatures in their fancy, fancy wine chiller. These people are lunatics. I don’t obsess over this. That’s not to say temperature isn’t important — it is. But it isn’t obsessively important.
White wines — a little warmer than fridge temperature. Red wines — a little cooler than room temperature. Done and done.
I’ve made my peace with screw tops, but plastic corks are just tacky. If you’re going to cork your wine with with a gob of plastic, just use a screw top.
Heavy Wine Bottles
Heavy wine bottles are obnoxious. Somewhere along the way, ridiculously heavy wine bottles became associated with better quality wine. Rubbish. I suppose you’d have an advantage in a bar fight if you needed to club someone over the head with your ridiculously heavy wine bottle, but that’s the only plus side I can come up with. Why is this still a thing?
Speaking of obnoxious, I hate wax tops on wine bottles. They’re messy, potentially dangerous (I’ve almost severed a finger more than once trying to get these jerks off the bottle), and totally unnecessary. You want to get me to not buy a bottle of wine? Put a wax condom on the top of it. Ugh. Stop it with the wax tops.
I cannot stand Torrontes. It tastes like my grandmother’s perfume. And I don’t have to drink it. Because I’m 50.