Posts Tagged ‘wine’

Sex by the Glass. Chapter I: The Shiraz Wine Rep

September 29, 2009

SEX BY THE GLASSsexy_wine[1]
Eight Short Stories of Wine und Sex
By Ivan Loyola

“Let me introduce you to the world of Shiraz”. The woman standing in front of me was tall, prepossessing, self confident to the point of being aggressive and definitely red, both in hair and personality, fiery and determined, voluptuous and with an unlikely touch of spice showing through the mischievous glint of her tea-green eyes. Her accent was thick as the wine she poured for me in the long-stemmed chalice she held in a hand that had less of a hand than of an eagle’s claw. It fashioned a gold band around one of its fingers, which made me think she was married, which she was, although, as I would understand later, in her own words, “it didn’t matter”.

I had met her a month earlier, at a wine tasting to which I, a firm believer in European lager when times were good and local piss when cash -strapped, was dragged by a friend whose girlfriend had left him a few days earlier. “The bitch” he growled “went for this young uneducated buck who struck it rich working in construction”. He paused and looking distant he mumbled “the damn Olympic Games.” Hmm…. I thought my friend might’ve been a bit jealous. I knew he had applied –without luck- for a couple of jobs in the booming construction industry of Vancouver’s first decade of the third millennium. “Wine tasting? Forget that”, I said, with a resolve that only a Neocon willing to launch a bombing campaign on a Muslim nation could boast. “I’m not drinking that stuff, it gives me headaches”, I added, thinking myself out of the hook. “Sorry man” he said, with a confidence that reminded me of the monies I owed him. “Tomorrow you’re supposed to pay back the interest. I could forgo it if you come”. I didn’t have a bargaining chip. “Ok”, I said. “With the condition that we will go and drink ourselves silly with beer before hitting the snob crowds”. “No problem”, he grinned. As it usually happens in my life, I had let somebody else decide for me.

The great 1998 Australian Shiraz wine tasting. That is where I met Jennifer Audrey Sarah Wilkinson, the potent red beauty that kept looking at me with piercing eyes while I sipped the mesmerizing, ruby red liquid. The Convention Centre at Canada place gleamed like a jewel under the twilight of that wondrous summer night. I looked at the reddish stuff, feeling like a sacrificial lamb. I took a deep breath and lifting the glass, I tried to detach from myself, in the way prostitutes are instructed to do while exercising the trade of the flesh. “Wait!” She said, with a commanding energy in her voice that would have been impossible not to obey. Her hand grabbed my forearm and removed the glass from my hand, with the simultaneous determination and gentleness that only the daughters of Aphrodite can wield, either as a weapon or a charm, depending on the situation. Tall enough to lean over the table she pulled me toward her, putting her mouth a few inches from my ear. A whiff of eucalyptus came off her hair, a scent that –I would find later- was the hallmark of her favorite Australian shampoo brand. “First you have to swirl it” she whispered, or I thought she did, half drunk as I was. “Yeah, just like that, give it a few good swirls”. Her voice was now soft and velvety, her eyes followed the circular motion of her hand holding the glass. One would have said she was enamored with the whole ritual. She looked at me with all the intensity of her eyes, the green tea tone of her irises highlighted by the dark mascara she had artfully applied. This I learned later, when dating a Mediterranean woman who, in spite of her rather paltry beauty, made herself into a radiant female through the masterful use of make up. I tried the swirling myself, clumsily, my hand going back and forth in a choppy fashion. Then something incredible happened. “Hold on” she said, and her hand landed on mine, and holding the glass together she showed me what she meant. “See, it’s easy if you just do it gently, from one side to the other, in wide open circles, just like that”. As she said this I felt the warm pressure of her hand on my knuckles, the dexterity of her wrist bending mine back and forth as we swirled, together. In that moment I knew this woman who insisted to be called by all three given names would teach me much more than just wine tasting. Or at least, that is what I thought. What do you see? She asked me. I looked up and saw her healthy, beautifully layered hair. Red and thick? I ventured. She stared at me approvingly. “A quick learner, aren’t you?”. She was talking not about wine, I figured, but about herself, and so was I. Soon I would learn the joys and sorrows of drinking Australian Shiraz….

stay tuned….


Wrongo Dongo, Wrongo Wine Marketing

September 11, 2009

There are thousands of new ideas on how to attract the attention of customers wrongo_dongoto a particular wine. Some are brilliant, some work, some don’t. Wrongo Dongo, a decent Monastrell from Jumilla, Spain, falls in the last category.

The color scheme for the label and skirt showcase a very bright yellow. A bit in the Yellowtail style, which was very successful in its moment but that was over a decade ago. Also, the face depicted on the label is rather disturbing. It seems obvious that the creator of the label wanted it to look funny but it is rather strange, the face of a man who looks crazy or a bit distressed. Not what you want to get from drinking a glass of wine. But the worst blunder here is the name. If the idea was to strike a witty note for English speaking customers, the tactic backfired. Wrongo suggests wrong, and wrong has a very negative connotation which is hard to twist and reshape. No wonder this Monastrell languishes on the shelves.

Vancouver, Pre-Yellowtail Era

April 18, 2009

A lot has changed since the cold, miserable morning of June 1993, when I arrived from Lima, Peru, as a new immigrant. Back then the city was still a bit towney, the traffic downtown not nearly as crazy as it is today, there were no drive-by shootings, no dead people on the streets after gang battles and all my alcoholic interests were centered on the one hundred and one microbrewery beers my new home had to offer.

I had no idea that the Liquor Distribution Branch, aka “the liquor store” governed the consumption and distribution of alcoholic beverages. One boring Sunday I walked to my local outlet to get some beer and to my consternation I found it closed. I learned the hard way that if you wanted alcohol for the weekend you’d better get your behind in gear and purchase your beers, vinos and liqueurs on Friday night or Saturday, only until 6pm.

Anyway, digression dismissed, I ended up finding a selection of wines that -although compared to what you find today was liliputian- blew my mind, as in my home country the best stocked supermarket or liqueur store did not carry anything from Australia, South Afrika or New Zealand. France, Italy and Germany were poorly represented, usually by the most nefarious concoctions of disreputable quality (cheap Liebefraumilch was the summit of German wines) and the California “section” showed the pregnant-belly shaped 3 liter bottle of Carlo Rossi.

My first achatte of wine was a bottle of Jacob’s Creek, Shiraz, at 12.99. Back in the time it seemed to me a small fortune and after drinking the wine with amazed delight I wrote a long letter to my brother -a wine lover himself- telling him of my remarkable experience.

Posterior visits to the liqueur store saw my consumption of beer decrease, as I tried more and more wines, although my first wine phase was almost entirely Australian. I used to buy Gato Negro Cabernet Sauvignon, at the time a whopping 13.99 for a 1.5 liter bottle, which was my party wine.

Once or twice I had some French wine, a Perrin et Fils, I believe, and I wasn’t very impressed. My friends never touched wine, except for special occasions, when I cooked. It infuriated me when they didn’t bring the brands that I asked them to buy and showed up with nondescript plonk that they acquired in order to save a buck or two.

That was Vancouver’s wine scene at the time, with a skinny Australian presence, an even thinner Chilean and South Afrikan stock and a non-existent Argentinean legion. Happily, today we have massive amounts of imported wine from all over the world, good to satisfy the connoisseur and the penny pincher alike.

Cheers to that. With wine, that is.