Suggestions for a wine night of drinking

Suggestions for a wine night of drinking

by Mark PleissFlipside Editor

To most students, the world of wine remains a perplexing land brimming with condescension and a sad repetition of unsatisfying spits and swallows.

The thousands of different vintages, nationalities and tastes can range from a meager $2 bottle of Boone’s Farm all the way to the $160,000 Bordeaux 1787 Chateau Lafite, the Guinness Book of World Record’s most expensive bottle ever sold. With such selection and essential knowledge, how could someone with tests and essay assignments possibly have time to learn the intricacies of such aromas?

Luckily for all of you, my fair readers,I have compiled an answer sheet to the most frequently asked question for college students regarding wine. This should align nicely with Thanksgiving and the tips offered for dormroom dinners in the Lifestyles section. I have also provided you with a few brand recommendations — all under $15 (a dirty 30 of Busch Light) — for different collegiate situations.

Now, I understand beer and cheap liquor (Hawkeye Vodka) have become the poison of choice in American academia. It’s true that both drinks are easy to take down, produce half the hangover of wine and are relatively cheap, but such drinks hardly provide you with the tasty and stout sophistication of a fine wine. And remember, you go to college and you’re an academic; you have to start drinking like one.

Which is really more classy, the jug or the box?

The gunpowder-barrel-sized jug of Rossi makes up for its immobility with shear amount. The average college kid simply lacks the logistics to carry around a massive glass container filled with carpet-staining wine to several different party locations. Therefore, the wise wine connoisseur must choose to stay at home, or at least close enough to where he or she can return to the room for a refill.

The strengths and weaknesses of the box are slightly less obvious. A box of pink Franzia fits nicely into most backpacks and can become even more portable by simply removing the bag inside. Unfortunately, the box does seem to emit a slightly smaller aura of class, especially when the person is sucking directly out of the bag. This isn’t always clear to first-year students, especially male ones trying to impress nearby damsels, but like the maturity of wine, they’ll become more sophisticated with time.

What’s a good “first-date wine?”

If you’re actually trying to impress someone, then you definitely want to stick with the wines that actually come out of a bottle (with a cork). I would recommend a French wine because they usually sound sexy, but some actually have good taste as well. The Beaujolais Nouveau is fairly well known as having a simple, middle-of-the-road taste for those who enjoy red wine. Just remember to get the French pronunciation down (your guest may have taken a French course) and remember to take the cork out for about an hour before you serve it. You’ll have to drive to Des Moines or order online to find it. It shouldn’t run you more than $20 (a bottle of Captain Morgan).

What about a dinner party at the dorm?

My first suggestion is to never buy anything out of a bottle in the shape of a cat. My second suggestion is the Black Swan Shiraz. If your cooking is anything like mine, then I’d go ahead and buy the big bottle, which will make you dig out about $22. But at least after the pre-and-mid-dinner cocktails your dinner guests won’t be able to taste the overcooked and poorly seasoned salmon loaf your mother said was “a breeze” to cook.

Writing a paper selection?

Whether it’s a riveting report on Aristotle or a meager Simpsonian column, I always like to have a bottle of Yellow Tail Cabernet Sauvignon near the keyboard. Study after study shows the effectiveness of drinking while working on any piece of writing, and the simple taste of Yellow Tail is never an exception. The wine is from Australia, and though the bottle doesn’t have a swan on it, it does catch the eye with its delightful image of a kangaroo.

Is it okay to just drink box wine from the bag?

Absolutely. Truly one of the most disheartening situations one can come across while enjoying a fine wine is when the box can’t dispense anymore, but there’s still perfectly good wine left in the bag. During these troubling times, one should feel more than all right in locking his or her self in the bathroom to discretely suck on the sphincter like a baby cat at its mother’s teat. Some call this act “uttering,” but I just call it tenacity.

Hopefully after this short introduction to collegiate wines we can all get a better appreciation for the drink, as well as all the fitting situations one can drink it in. Though I have proclaimed myself an expert in wine, I’m undoubtedly not one. The best way to learn about real wine drinking is to read a book or talk to someone that actually tastes a wide variety. Nevertheless, the wines listed in this column are all solid choices I’ve enjoyed on several occasions, and I encourage you to leave beer and booze for a night and try something a little different, maybe even in moderation.

Either way, at least you’ll get a good hangover.