The Ritual

Some days we’re more vigilant than others on The Wine Education.

Take yesterday. It was 90 degrees outside, the day after a boozy, spooky Halloween night, and there was a whole bunch of sports was on tv. Which to say: it wasn’t a serious day. We drank gin.

But on the serious days we typically buy a bottle of wine (nothing too fancy or obscure) from the growing region we’re studying in Kevin Zraly’s excellent book for beginners, Windows on the World Complete Wine Course: 2009 Edition. With the unopened bottle in front of us, he’ll slowly and deliberately read out loud.

I tend to interrupt every few sentences with asides or examples. “That makes sense, right? The wine is made near the sea so of course it will go well with the local food: oysters, shellfish, fish.”

After the chapter is finished we’ll review the major facts and then I’ll quiz him.

“What are the three major white wine grapes of Loire Valley?”

“What is the difference between Pouilly-Fumé and Pouilly-Fuissé?”

I’ll also throw in some questions from previous chapters to make sure he’s retaining the info.

“What is the major white wine grape of Bordeaux?”

“That wasn’t in this chapter.”

“Come on… we read about it last time.”

“Arrgh… Chardonnay?”

“Nooooo. Come on, you know this.” Et cetera.

The reward for all this reading and quizzing and sometimes frustration: opening the bottle sitting in front of us.

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