After careful consideration, I conclude that there’s no nicer (alcoholic) high than the high you get from red wine. Beer makes you giggly, liquor makes you sloppy, but only red wine – in conjunction with the proper food – can produce that feeling of warm camaraderie. It subdues the running commentary in the back of your mind, producing rare moments of pure joy at the present moment.
My former manager K. had the whole team over for dinner last night at her place near the North End. We met her husband and her 2-year-old, snacked on rice cakes and potato puffs with cumin, then tucked into a meal of savory chicken and a variety of curries. Work crept into the conversation, but in a laughing, relieved way – like the way you can joke about the brakes failing on your car on a steep hill the day after it happens. Fortunately, we spent most of the time talking about travel, and family, and where to find good food in Boston.
At the wine tasting with The Second Glass, one of the aficionados made the point that a good glass of wine should appeal to all the senses beyond taste. You should like the way it looks, get a good sense of what it smells like, note its texture while you’re drinking it, etc. Wine snobs dress all those aspects up in a lot of jargon, but that’s not necessary. Just acknowledge the wine’s impact on your other senses, touch on it lightly, then move on.
To those five senses I would add a sixth: the kinaesthetic awareness of the people around you. Wine takes me out of the analytical mode that I spend 20 hours of the day in. I relax more, I laugh more, I speak freely. A good red wine transforms me, until I’m like the wine itself: I become fluid, hearty, flushed and a little sweet. I hold up a glass of California cab, noting its color, and say, this is my body.