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Corkscrew - Full of it

Why restrict yourself to the same old wines?

Calling bullshit on someone always bestows delicious pleasure. The individuals who receive a proper "Bullshit" normally deserve it, as in the case of those who live in a one-bottle bubble. Avoiding new tastes like a spoiled child faced with broccoli, they devise innumerable excuses to avoid expanding their wine universe, content with the same ol' drink. I call bullshit on all of you — you who are satisfied with singular alcohol selections.

"I don't like red wine." Bullshit – you just haven't had a decent red wine yet. One that is soft and fruity, and better for transitional white-wine drinkers. Don't go let anyone pour full-bodied Napa cabernet or Spanish Rioja down your throat – it will taste overly bitter and tannic, causing you to scamper back to the sweet comfort of Rieslings (which, for the record, isn't a bad place to linger, but limiting nonetheless). Instead, ease into fruity, smooth reds such as French Beaujolais or Australian Shiraz. Advice: Don't let cab snobs get you down.

"I don't like sweet wines." Bullshit – you're scared of drinking sweet for fear of being called a wussy. We're Americans. We LOVE sweet stuff – just look at the cereal aisle or the ingredients in convenience food – sugar tops the list and we eat the hell out of it. In other countries, dessert wines are shamelessly and openly appreciated, from delicious port wine in Portugal to Hungary and its rich Tokay. They are frighteningly easy to drink – and I'm not extolling the unctuous, syrupy white zinfandel. I'm talking elegant, light-bodied German Riesling or lush, late-harvest red zinfandel from California, or mellow vidal icewine from Canada. Try one of these and you'll be shamelessly seeking them out like those Cocoa Puffs you "buy for the kids."

"I don't like white wines." Bullshit – you think wimpy whites can't satisfy your "sophisticated palate." Whatever. Red-wine-only drinkers need to get over their overinflated Bordeaux and Burgundy pride. Drink a room-temperature red wine on a warm day on the patio? Or with a subtle shrimp dish? I think not. Reds are, of course, phenomenal, but with so many white-wine options, from scorchingly dry to delicately sweet, why limit yourself to just dry reds? Whites are refreshing, acidic and lower alcohol – better with food, moods and a busy lifestyle. Join the white world and discover the possibilities.

"I don't like wine." I'm not sure what to do with these people. Many times, they're intimidated beer drinkers who don't know where to start. They choose the bullshit route saying they don't like wine, but, in reality, they haven't even peeked out of the keg. However, they're not the biggest obstacle – according to the Wine Market Council, a wine consumer-interest group, 42.7 percent of the adult population doesn't drink any alcohol (gasp!). Those who really should not drink aside, I say this country would be less uptight if a bit of alcohol ran through all its veins. Beer and spirits are imbibed by 24.7 percent of adults, and the remaining 32.6 percent are either "core" or "marginal" wine drinkers (and I imagine there's plenty of overlap), but we need more winos to transition this country into a more cultural food-and-wine society (I'm a Europhile, you see). Drastic action needs to be taken. Do your part – convert at least one person to a vinous beverage lover by buying him his first bottle. We can make America a better place – one glass at a time.

Wine recommendation

Buena Vista 2005 Chardonnay Carneros Buttery and oaky in all the right places. Well-balanced acids with ripe pear, fragrant vanilla and a splash of lime. Very drinkable for a California chardonnay. Sw = 3. $20. 4 stars.

Sweetness (Sw) rating is out of 10, 10 being pure sugar. Star rating is out of 5, 5 being wine nirvana.



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