I started drinking wine on the flight to France, the place where I was about to spend a semester of third year university. This was surprising even to me because wine had, until that point, always turned my stomach. (Well yes, I was underage at the time and shouldn’t really have known that, but since when did girls that grew up in small-town Ontario adhere to that little rule of society?) Maybe my aversion was due to the fact that years earlier I had mixed white wine and apple juice to excess at a family member’s wedding. It was not a good scene. But I digress.
I met my roommate on that flight to France. We started with white wine (doesn’t everyone?) and I can’t remember how many glasses we had on the plane. Not much probably. But it was the start to something – my relationship with wine.
In good old Villa 10 at L’Université Canadienne en France we got to know wine a little better. As I think back on those (wonderful) days, I realize that our wine purchasing must have been quite an unfortunate sight. We would buy the cheapest stuff possible which came in a 4L jug at the Carrefour. You know, the kind of glass jug that sometimes you see apple cider sold in, that has the tiny little circular handle that you can usually only fit one finger through? Wine was cheap in France anyway, and we bought the cheapest stuff. Oh yes, we were savvy. Well we were living on a student budget I suppose.
At this point we had graduated to rosé wine. It’s something I can’t drink now due to those wine-loving days, but it did the trick then. We had some great times in our villa! Nothing to bring out the friendship and franglais like a little vin. We thought we were très hilarious.
Back in Canada, the years after UCF left wine in the wings and instead were coloured by cold, liqueur-based mixed drinks that sometimes we had to wear a mitt on one of our hands to be able to drink (it was something with Kahlua, I remember) and beers (bien sur). It might have been when I hit the Vancouver scene that I started drinking wine again, this time the red variety. I’m sure the cool kids (OK we were full-fledged adults by now) were all drinking it then but I think I actually had developed a taste for the stuff too.
My wine experiences were heightened when I got sent to Austria as part of an assignment for work and tasted 25-year-old wine on a winery’s tour. What a sensation! It tasted like the meat and cheese that we had had eaten at a heurigan the day before. How could that be? I can’t say I preferred this pungent vino version but it did open my mind up to the possibilities resulting from wine plus age to equal flavour.
At this point my travels had taken me from white to rosé to red … so what was there left to try but Canada’s frosty baby – ice wine – upon my return to Ontario a few years ago? On a marathon winery tour in Niagara-on-the-Lake I imbibed on a flavour-bursting ice wine paired with a blue cheese to die for. Oh, the combination! From that day forward I was an ice wine convert. It’s probably a good thing the thicker liquid is quite expensive or I would have made that drink my sole dessert accompaniment from that point forward. (It’s probably not a good idea to go into debt over ice wine, is it?)
My relationship with this lovely liquid has blossomed since I took my first sip oh so many years ago, and I still prefer red over white. I have dreams of buying a case of something I like one day. I’m grudgingly coming around to the idea of screwtops instead of corks, but I flat out refuse to buy wine out of tetra paks, which is apparently the next big thing. I’m no expert by any means but I do enjoy a glass (or two). At least I no longer buy it out of a jug!
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