Age 17: This tastes like metal, why does anyone drink this? Age 23: This crimson elixir is flowing through my veins like oxygen.
A relationship with red wine is like the one you have with a terribly cheesy song; you cannot stand it at first and then suddenly it’s all you need and love in the world. Never in my teeny bopper days did I think I would ever grow to tolerate such a tipple, let alone thirst for it. It’s served warm for Christ’s sake!
It wasn’t until I was recently in a restaurant (alone, I might add) and uttered the words ‘Cab Sauv’s perfect’, that I realised. I’M OLD. Where is the girl who once yearned for apple Mickey Finn’s and blue WKD? Still in the off licence, only this time bypassing the alcopop fridge to peruse the grapes of the Chilean section. I’m still struggling to decide if this is natural maturation or agonising pretentiousness.
In my defence, I think a lot can be attributed to our taste buds changing as we age. I noticed a very similar transformation with beer, coffee, goat’s cheese, and a variety of other foodstuffs I gorge myself on every day. I know that certain things are acquired tastes but does that just mean we grow immune to the aspect we once perceived as repulsive? Do we simply cross the thin line between love and hate? Or is it actually a cultural manifestation, like the communal excitement we attach to a Friday, for example? Do I revere wine purely for the taste or for the pleasant connotations that accompany it? If it were marketed in a similar fashion, could Bacardi Breezer earn the same place as prosecco, say, as a celebratory treat?
For me personally, however, I do believe it was a gradual weeding out process. One by one, certain alcoholic beverages had to go. From whiskey to cider, the numerous nightmares mounted until each poison was added to the blacklist. Rum free since May ’09, I proudly add. But why is the rum gone? Because it is important to know the difference between a whimsical drunk and a satanic beast. Red wine has become one of the very few drinks I actually enjoy drinking, without feeling like Dumbledore sipping on a potion that weakens you to the point of death. That may be a slight exaggeration but that’s why the rum is gone.
As a final note: HANGOVERS. Where on earth did you come from?! Once upon a time, I could down shots like a champion and enjoy a pleasant day of productivity. Nowadays, the mere thought of tequila has me wrapped in a duvet and sucking on Fanta like a life source.
So, to sum up, I am positively decrepit before my time and all signs of crazy, reckless youth have rapidly diminished. Drown my sorrows, you say? Bring on the Chilean Cab Sauv. In a glass bigger than my head.