Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Corkscrews and First Tastes

My kitchen is typically in a state of disarray - most utensils don't have a permanent home, because there isn't enough drawer and cupboard space to accommodate everything. I constantly have to dig to find what I'm looking for, with the exception of one thing:

The Corkscrew.

As the most used and most loved item in kitchen, the corkscrew has its own designated spot in one of my drawers, in a utensil tray that separates it from the clutter of silverware. Usually, the corkscrew is adorned with the cork from the last bottle of wine it opened. When it's time to open a new bottle, the cork from the old bottle goes into a large vase full of corks from the bottles I've enjoyed over the last couple of years. Corks take up less space than the actual bottles.

My first taste of wine came from a bottle without a cork - Arbor Mist has the screw off top. My second taste of wine was Merlot, which is the only glass of wine I haven't been able to finish. Wine is an acquired taste. Most people enjoy sweeter wines when they are first sampling wine. As one's palate develops, it becomes easier and more pleasant to enjoy drier varieties of wine.

After nearly choking on the Merlot, I was hesitant to try anything other than Arbor Mist for quite a while. Luckily, my friend Laura introduced her sister, Katherine, and I to Edelweiss, and I've been in love with the vine ever since.

As Katherine and I have attended different festivals and tastings together, our palates have evolved and become more refined. Although neither one of us are overly fond of very dry wines, we are at least able to sample them and appreciate them.

We first learned about the Nebraska Wine Tour last year, but it was too late in the season for us to begin. We were surprised by how many vineyards are in Nebraska, and even more surprised to see how many Nebraska wines have won national and international contests. Our goal this year is to travel to as many of the Nebraska wineries and vineyards as possible, and to fill our Nebraska Wine Tour passports with stamps from each location - not merely because of the wines, but because of the people behind the wines and the memories we'll make.

Here's to the journey each stamp on our passports represents, and to what's beneath the cork.