Monday, June 21, 2004

OENOPHILIA: ¿Madre, Padre ... Puedo Tener Algún Vino? Mutter, Vater ... Ich Habe Ein Bier?

On Saturday, I was out with a group of friends to take advantage of a free wine tasting in the newly renovated Wide World of Wine, 2201 Wisconsin Ave. NW (tucked away in a non-descript apartment building down the road from the Vespa dealership and the Chinese embassy dormitory complex). Since Wide World of Wine is somewhat hidden away, its tastings are sometimes only frequented by the most vigilent winos in town. (Wine from the d'Arenberg vineyards of South Australia's McLaren Vale was being sampled, including its Footbolt Shiraz, Custodian Grenache and Laughing Magpie Shiraz Viognier.)

Its tasting room is located in the store's basement, where its more expensive offerings are kept. The room is somewhat small, so tastings are only comfortable with a handful of customers. The room's size creates an environment where people can strike up conversation, making often-stuffy tastings more friendly and personable.

On Saturday, we met a man from an outlying Montgomery County suburb who discussed how he gives his children, one who is only four years old, wine and beer with dinner. The father was giving us tips as to how to properly introduce children to alcohol, saying that you only do it with meals. And even more, it's all part of a vibrant learning experience.

I'm paraphrasing what he said, but you'll get the point: "They only get beer if they ask: 'Mutter. Vater. Ich habe ein Bier?' And they only get wine when they ask: '¿Madre, padre ... Puedo tener algún vino?'" So slight childhood inebriation comes only with training your children to be polyglots, according to this father.

Also at the tasting was an older woman in her 60s who was very impressed to see a group of five twentysomethings out on a Saturday afternoon sampling wine. "If only all young men your age would appreciate wine ..." We all tried our best to hide our laughter as her comment, in combination with her approach was unexpectedly humorous.

When the woman was speaking with the man who gave us tips on how to introduce children to alcohol, she asked where he came from. He replied that he came from Germantown and in a truly old-school Washingtonian retort, she said: "Germantown, that's not local." The man, sort of surprised and perhaps slightly intimidated by her forward nature, stood silent, later switching to a conversation about local bike trails.

More information:
Accolades and Tasting Notes [d'Arenberg]
Wide World of Wine


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