Wine-tasting For Complete Lunatics

We all have the same questions about wine: "What's the difference between rose and blush?" "Is it normal to become so violent after only a half-dozen bottles?" "Does this make me look gay?"

To get to the bottom of things, we paid a grizzled old man down at the men's shelter to write the following profiles of today's most popular wines (he sure looked like he knew his way around a bottle). Now you too can be an expert!



Shiraz has a bit of kick to it-a little spice. It reminds you of that romantic night in Costa Rica with Gitana Dulcinea de Esperanza. You met her at the hotel bar where she was selling dead roses and chess pieces out of a wicker bag. You danced and danced and danced. It was so wrong but it felt so right. A handful of shirazes later and you're alone with her on the beach. As you listen to the far off sounds of a young peasant boy fighting a monkey, she begins to undress. But it was getting late and you had to be up early for the accounting seminar, so you thanked her for a lovely evening and wished her and her gypsy village best of luck with the upcoming cholera epidemic.
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Chardonnay is a little fruity. Kind of like the tennis pro who ruined your marriage. He seemed so harmless. He read Oscar Wilde. Then one day you come home early and there' a racket on the bedside table. You grab your shotgun-just to scare them-but you accidentally fire a shot and oh god are you alright this is bad this is bad this is not going to look good in the papers. Relax. Have a chardonnay. A chardonnay will take the edge off. That show you like is on.


Your partner is dead. He had been playing both sides so it was only a question of when. No time for grief. Who was he working for and were you next? You take a deep drag and glance around the grocery store through a thick fog of smoke, and, confident that you will be alive for at least another hour, grab a bottle of Pinot Noir and drink down the sweet poison on the rickshaw ride to the station. Before walking in you draw your weapon and notice that the magazine is empty. Only bullet left is the one in the chamber, and it' begging to dance with the Captain. Time to light this candle.
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You never know which Cabernet Sauvignon is going to show up. Will it be the dry, all-about-business sergeant who led you through basic training and your first tour, or the sweet, soft-spoken college boy from Vermont who replaced Sergeant Shank after he was murdered in his sleep by the medic whose personality did not reflect a flavor of cabernet sauvignon. One thing' for sure: no matter what, enjoying this wine will not haunt your dreams the way that "just following orders" in My Lai did.


Chianti is a red table wine made from a blend of grape varieties. It' what you serve when the insufferable Mortensons come over for dinner and talk endlessly about their first grandchild. After a few dozen glasses you blurt out that you wish little Esther had been miscarried, and even though you apologize immediately, the next time they come over you won't be able to serve them a four-dollar Gatorade cooler of Chianti. But, hey, at least you didn't get caught stealing their Sunday newspaper. Or feeding their dog anti-freeze because it always wakes you up in the middle of the night. Ah, a peaceful night' sleep.