I’m an L

Commentary

Photo from Di's Eyes

I wouldn’t call myself a wine expert because I’m not one. If I could put a label to my relationship with wine it would be a capital L for learner. My textbook is the supermarket aisle that stores such a range of wines I’m left baffled and a little thirsty. My tastebuds take note of the different textures, but recall what is good not why. In all honesty, I’m the worst kind of student – the kind that listens while it’s interesting but zones out when we get to the nitty-gritty.

I never fooled myself that I was of the budding connoisseur caliber. My next-to-nothing knowledge has not limited my ability to enjoy good wine, and it is why I feel it my obligation to share my secrets with you fellow Ls and other wannabes. Let us begin the crash course into the world of wine tasting and selecting.

Stare. This is my first and most important piece of advice. I would strongly advise you spend a good part of your grocery time in the wine aisle staring intently at the great range of bottles. Feel a little dizzy? Take it by section! Start with the reds or the whites or the smaller, more manageable category of rosé. Once you start feeling comfortable, you will lose the initial signs of confusion and will soon realize that there is nothing wrong with choosing at random, if you’ve given the shelf its fair share of staring. It works wonders.

Try. This is of course the most important aspect for every learner. Branch out, try different wines and make a mental note of your likes and dislikes. Take a winery tour, if possible, and listen to guide explain how wine is produced, have a look at the big barrels in the basement, feel the chills running up your back from excitement but also because it’s damn cold down there. Wine tasting at a winery is the best way to learn what you like because you drink a little bit of everything. Avoid being the driver for the day and swallow every single drop of wine you’re given and focus on what tingles your tastebuds. Is it cabernet sauvignon? Do you prefer dry or semi-sweet? Find your category and you’ve already restricted the section of the supermarket you should be staring at. After the wine tasting, I would strongly encourage you to buy as much wine as you can; it’s straight from the source, it’s cheap and it will make for a great story while you enjoy it on a later date — especially if you rode there on your bicycle and actually took my advice to drink every wine to the last sip!

Avoid. Know what wines are considered too commercial and cheap. A good indication of this could be the price, but generally avoid brands such as Yellowtail. If you like Yellowtail and I have just burst your bubble of wine heaven, ignore this point and drink your way to a poor hangover. I have a bottle in the cupboard too, which I bought before I was given this very advice. Now all I have to do is give it as a present who someone who doesn’t read my blog — an easy feat.

Fellow learners, the rules are simple. If you want to read on, do so but if you want the easy way to good wine, follow my S-T-A method. It may make people look at you strangely as you spend 10 minutes staring at labels and selecting randomly while on your grocery run, but hey, you gotta start somewhere. Drink away, be merry and wear you’re L label with style. Some wineries are thankful we exist. It’s Ls like us that will try just about anything, even that god-awful stuff no one warned us about. Damn that misleading label…

Paris, je t’aime

Musings

When I say Paris…

Think Parisian reunions in royal gardens.

Think too much wine and entirely too much cheese.

Think a hangover or two.

Think 700 steps to the top of the Eiffel Tower (saved us €9)

Think buildings you fall in love with.

Think beautiful sounds you try to emulate.

Think that you’re really set to have a good time.

It was for a brief 2.5 days, but we met with some old friends who travelled halfway across the globe to find us. It was the kind of experience I thought I could only dream about. I even dished out my rusty French and much to my surprise, managed to carry a crippled conversation here and there. Since then, my new goal is to retouch on my French, and once I get my feet together, I’ll give the French Embassy a call and see if I can find myself a conversation partner, s’il vous plait.

Here are a few of my favorites.

Standing Tall: Notre Dame behind the greenery

Standing Tall: Notre Dame behind the greenery

Pretty hungry: Lovely restaurant

Pretty hungry: Lovely restaurant

Stop to smell the flowers: Not your average polytechnic

Stop to smell the flowers: Not your average polytechnic

So plush: The royal gardens

So plush: The royal gardens

A toast: To Paris and our reunion

A toast: To Paris and our reunion

A great idea: The ferris wheel

A great idea: The ferris wheel

View from the top: The Eiffel Tower

View from the top: The Eiffel Tower

View from the top: The Louvre

View from the top: The Louvre

Spotted: Sculpture of a brushstroke by Lichtenstein

Spotted: Sculpture of a brushstroke by Lichtenstein

Drop anchor: That dash of pink really makes all the difference

Drop anchor: That dash of pink really makes all the difference

Pause: How Parisian

Pause: How Parisian

Time ticking: The imposing clock at Musée d'Orsay, which was an old train station

Time ticking: The imposing clock at Musée d'Orsay, which was an old train station

Just a shadow: From Le Chat Noir, shadow theater

Just a shadow: From Le Chat Noir, shadow theater

So close: The Eiffel Tower

So close: The Eiffel Tower

Mad Hatter celebrations

Musings

Written on the wall

Written on the wall

I have been busy all weekend with general birthday festivities. What with the recent move, the tones on Friday were low and to make up for it I chose to extend the birthday spirit across the whole stretch of the weekend. In true mad-hatter tone, I declared a celebration and yes, a very merry Unbirthday to me! Friday was low-key, Saturday was artistic and Sunday was a true celebration.

Let me start at the beginning: The real thing. On Friday, I woke up to not one but two bouquets of flowers. This was a perfect excuse to buy a vase, which we sorely needed. Little did we know that the vase we eventually chose was nothing more than an impostor vase! Just look how wonderful it looks in the photo I took in my midnight enthusiasm (at the far back is my creative beading corner) and imagine how deflated I felt in the morning when I moved it and discovered that it actually leaked onto the table.

Alstroemeria and lilies in fake vase

Alstroemeria and lilies in fake vase

Upon complaining at the shop, we were told in a very matter-of-fact, “duh” tone that the vase is meant for decoration, not water, surely! As are all other vases in that shop, apparently. Great — a vase that’s not really a vase, but an ornament. Thanks.

On Saturday, we ventured out for a photographic expedition at dusk, only to discover to my utter blondeness that I had forgotten my camera. I looked around finding all sorts of photographs I couldn’t capture, and meanwhile being devoured by mosquitoes thirsty for blood. The night ended at one of my favourite hangouts here in Chania, with a lot of wine, plenty of laughs and nuts for dinner. Yum!

The festivities culminated with cake, presents and general birthday shenanigans. A friend also had a birthday today so the celebrations were joined and run along the theme of Eddie Izzard’s Cake or Death. Appropriately, the cake combined both, so you didn’t have to choose. It was cake WITH death and it was pretty good.

I think I'll have deathcake

I think I'll have deathcake

Yum!

Yum!

The cake was so good, there is hardly any left over and that’s a good thing because there’s no more room in the fridge (or our stomachs!). I loved loved loved the Japanese presents I got: funky origami geisha to make, the coolest stationery set, green tea in a geisha tin and cherry blossom tea in the cutest packaging ever! I can’t wait to put all those presents to good use; as of tomorrow I’m getting things into gear and finishing up whatever unpacking needs to be done.

It’s time to get back on the writing track and beading. I can’t wait to make a mess of my workspace and let’s not forget that there’s still the etsy shop to open. Coming this week, and boy am I excited!

Oh and a very merry unbirthday to you!!