. . .. there's lots to know about wine. Wine has taste, wine has aroma. It has value, it has compatibilities; each wine has an agricultural history and particular storage and handling requirements. We can spend a lifetime learning them. But the person who wants to please his guests and maximize his hospitality business needs to know one very important thing: wine has meaning.
Suspecting how much of their culture I'm completely missing, I will talk about the meaning of tea here in Vietnam. I'm hoping for a little glimmer, hands across the water, stuff like that. Kumbaya.
The other problem is personal. I can no longer taste wine myself. There's nothing wrong with my sense of smell, what's happened is that the radiation killed my salivary glands so my l mouth is typically dry. The tannin in red wine, which usually binds with the salivary protein mucin, instead binds to the Lynn protein of my own personal flesh. Tannin extracts water from protein. In a normal mouth, tannin turns saliva into water which is washed away by the wine, leaving a dry mouth. (Dry wine dries. Get it?) In my mouth, tannin ignites. It attacks the proteins in my tissues and it burns. The acid in white wine is a little less painful, but it ain't fun either. The red wine that I used to drink now drinks me back.
So here I am, talking passionately about wine. I'm smelling to make sure the stuff is good before I pour for the students. I'm telling them about my passion for the stuff and everything it means to some of their potential guests and then I say:
wine is well suited to carry all these meanings: at it's best, it's flavor is complex and intense. It comes in thousands of variations and its ability to ennoble the taste of most food is near-miraculous. All of the other meanings are built on the taste and that's what we're here to explore today.
And I can't taste a thing: I'm a deaf musician, a blind photographer. Now you might think that this would leave me depressed or at least sad and we can both be surprised when I tell you that it doesn't. For one thing, I have wondrous, beautiful beer to console me. (hey, I could write a book) For another, I remember that I just escaped across a particularly dangerous burning bridge and it seems reasonable that there would be a toll. Wine done good by me-no complaints. Better yet, it's even possible that one of these youngsters will leave with a curiosity that grows into an interest that becomes a passion. L'chaim.