Hey. Hey you. Eyes down here. This is about wine. Not sex. Or lingerie. Focus.
Now that I have your attention, I'd like to dispel some myths and offer my own personal feelings on some wine-related "taboo" behaviours. We've all heard some of these things. Some, fine, we get it. Others, well, maybe those doing the taboo-ing are just repressed or need to take a hike.
Here are my top 3 bones of contention with classical "don't do" wine etiquette. Remember, I'm NOT against these things. Despite the clickbaity title, I'm cool with this shit, and I'll tell you why.
Let's let 'em fly.
1. Don't wear perfume around wine.
I can't quite understand why this is topic has developed such a life of its own as a taboo behaviour in the wine world. Sommeliers and snobs have been saying for years, "don't wear perfume to a tasting" or "don't wear perfume to this wine event". Ironically, I never hear "take a shower before you go to work to serve people" or "do wear deodorant; the natural stuff is not working" or "brush your teeth more often and also floss".
If I go out at night, I get ready, I get spiffed, and I wear a touch of perfume. If I go out in the day for an event and I'm getting fresh, I wear a touch of perfume. Unless I'm going to a yoga class or a place that I know for a fact has a "zero fragrance" policy (also ironic, because these places seem to be filled with all sorts of them), I'm probably wearing a touch of perfume. Eau de toilette (I always just see it as toilet water). Parfum (the m is almost silent, I guess). Guess what? I'm not the only one. No, I don't want to smell like Pauly D on his first episode of Jersey Shore (I'm assuming it was intense), but I want to smell great.
I never see signs like these at wine bars. Even the actual good ones. High-end restaurants with deep wine programs don't seem to have a problem with it. How come nobody ever says, "don't smell like smoke when you come back from having a cigarette?" I know that's what they would prefer. But the perfume wearers get all the heat.
No more. I was generally defiant about this and that may be why I don't get invited to tastings anymore. I've never witnessed anyone have an allergic reaction to my scent. My personality, maybe, but never my olfactory essence. Sure, nobody likes anyone who is totally doused. But perfume, used appropriately, is a pleasurable part of human civilization that anyone who appreciates wine should also appreciate. If perfume is distracting to you while tasting wine, then you should try practicing mindfulness once in a while. It's part of my free mini wine course. I'm not even joking.
I have never had a sommelier tell me that the greatest wine experience they ever had was at XYZ wine tasting. It always happened at dinner or on vacation or at home or with friends and I suspect that someone around there somewhere was probably wearing perfume. We enjoy wine in the real world, and people in the real world wear perfume.
Let's get on with it.
2. Don't blend wines together.
I don't know what's wrong with so many people. They say that wine is precious and not to be blended. They make fun of the people who put ice in the wine. And then you can find them spending $100 on 750ml of ketchup that comes in a bottle with a label that says "Caymus" on it, complaining about it, and then doing it all over again next weekend.
If only they could put it in plastic, change the cork out, and add the cap that has the little hole in it so you could squeeze it and squirt it at people.
Students of wine probably don't think this is funny. But I've gotten bored of a wine halfway through. And then I got bored of the next bottle halfway through. What else is there?
Put 'em together. See, after you've become a wine dork and attended your first blending seminar, this doesn't seem so bizarre. In fact, it's a hell of an exercise that can teach you a lot about winemaking, balance, and of course, blending, especially if you're not able to get in the right headspace to enjoy the wine immensely or procure the right kind of grass-fed, nun-plucked free-for-all chicken to match it perfectly. What's the difference, really, between letting a winemaker cut you loose with a few tank/barrel samples and saying, "go on, see what you come up with"? I mean, I can think of a few, sure, but that's not the point.
3. Don't put ice in your wine.
The ice. It's truly incredible how quickly a two-buck-chuck-like bottle becomes a valuable cocktail spirit when you add ice, soda water, and some sort of spirit. When the wine is shit, you've got nothing else to quaff, and you need a quick fix, then go for it. And if you have that friend that has to have the ice in all the wine, maybe it's a good time to try out some of your $12 Portuguese bangers instead of your Barolo collection. And when you think about it, is a decent, $25 bottle of rosé, well-chilled, that much different from a shit, $8 bottle, well-chilled, with bubbly water and ice in it? Experientially speaking, at least. Meaning, the experience is not that different, so no, it's not a big deal.
Never mind making sangria with your dregs. Yes, somehow, for the lush that I am, there are always dregs lying around the fridge in random bottles. The forgotten ones. Add Cointreau™ (always on hand for margaritas), fresh berries, ice -------> blender. Go ahead, hate me. It's the bomb.
If I go to someone's house or some jerk-off awards banquet where the wine is shit but I feel like drinking, and I don't like the beer option, either, I get the white wine and throw a shitload of ice into the glass. If I still don't like it, I add soda. Maybe a lemon slice. Prettay good. And at the end of the day, if you have such a problem with the ice person, just find a new friend. Who the fuck cares? There are much bigger issues out there and you never liked them anyway.
Honestly. Wouldn't you rather laugh with the sinners than cry with the saints?