Picture the scene. I am guiltily leaving a school ‘do’ early, hurrying through the melting snow to meet Fran (my oldest friend) in a pub. Behind I have left other ‘better’ parents mingling and discussing their child’s progress as I clutch my phone and ring ahead to get an order in.
“What do you want?” says Fran.
“Mmm, can’t decide … wine or perhaps a G&T?”
“We’re drinking white,” she says.
“Mmm,” and it’s here I start to lose it. “What grape?” I ask.
“What what???” comes the bewildered reply. Fran and I have been friends for over 40 years. That means we’ve been friends since primary school. We grew up together. We drank our way through our teens – white wine, red wine, Dubonnet lemonade (remember that?), Kahlua, home-made egg nog (don’t ask!), rum and coke (who drinks that anymore?), San Miguel beer (we grew up in Hong Kong) but never, and I mean never, have we asked “what grape?”
“It says Cote du Rhone on the bottle,” she says trying to be helpful. That throws me.
“I haven’t heard of that grape,” I say. (You will now get a sense of how much I have to learn!) By this time I am at the pub and can sample the wine on offer.
I sip, breathe air in slightly (proud that I can now do this without choking or spitting everywhere), dip the tip of my tongue behind my teeth, dribble a bit and declare, “I don’t like it.” Fran is looking incredulous. Is it the dribble or the fact that I don’t like what’s on offer? I ask for red, swirl it around and declare it has ‘legs’.
“What?” she says and I detect a hint of grumpiness.
“Yes” I say with an air of confidence – “if you swirl a glass and see dribbly lines on the inside, that’s ‘legs’ and it means the alcohol content is high. 13.5% in fact.” Now she looks a tad impressed so I don’t let on I’ve read the label.
By the time I start discussing the ‘tannins’ Fran has had enough. She casts a teenager stare across the table. “G.O.Y” she says and I detect a sneer. But, ever the optimist, I interpret this as “Good On You” for my efforts.
“Get Over Yourself” she hurls, filling her glass and I’m sure she’s mixed the wines. Worryingly as the evening progresses, I dip back to the white wine and with each successive sip I declare I like it more and more. I’m not sure that’s the way this wine appreciation business is supposed to work. By the end of the evening all the red and white has gone and Fran is asking for a glass more.
“More of the same?” ventures the waitress who has insisted on clean glasses for each colour of wine.
“Oh no,” says Fran. “A glass of house will do us.”
We are back on familiar territory!
I have clearly spent too much time with my husband (wine bore!) in South Africa.
To be continued …..
Sarah & Fran at Glastonbury 2010
PS. Many thanks to all my close friends who have read my blog and pushed my ‘hits’ way above my husband’s! Who says I’m not competitive?