Many people drink for the sheer ‘pleasure’ of getting drunk. I don’t understand that, or why becoming drunk would even be an objective for anyone, but I have seen it occur many times. I gave up hard alcohol by the time I was 30 because I could not handle it, nor did I enjoy it. I still drink the occasional beer, especially on a hot summer day, but beer bloats me if I have more than a few.
Wine is my drink of choice for many reasons, and I almost exclusively drink wine now. I have never been drunk from wine, nor would I want to be. I enjoy drinking wine for the taste and flavor and for its diversity of grapes and styles. I can drink multiple wines in an evening, and sharing time and food along with the wine with friends for a great experience.
But I ‘taste’ my wine, not indiscriminately drink it. I take the time to swirl it to open the bouquet and increase the pleasure of nosing it, fulfilling my sense of smell. I then pour it onto my palate and experience the taste as it impacts my taste buds – but I do not swallow immediately! I enjoy the wine as it warms up further in my mouth, releasing more new flavors and sensory (if not sensual!) perceptions. I let my tongue and taste buds pick up on the sweetness, bitterness, or whatever flavors it finds. I might keep the wine in my mouth for 1 – 3 minutes before actually swallowing it!
I also love to match up wine with foods, or just chocolates or cheeses, and having some food nourishment along the way helps to reduce the impact of alcohol also.
This process and experience intoxicates me, and it constrains me from getting drunk. I drink less because I get more flavor and satisfaction out of each sip of wine and I slow down the amount I drink over any period. This is similar to the advice of chewing your food 25 times before swallowing. You pick out much more flavor and nourishment from your food, become more satisfied and ultimately, eat less.
Drunkenness is not a state I enjoy during or after drinking, and I avoid it. Avoiding drunkenness comes easily for me since I taste my wine while drinking and before swallowing, combine it with food which further absorbs and disperses the alcohol content, and enjoy it and let it satiate me along the way.
I recommend you do the same. You will enjoy your wine far more and treat your body far better along the journey! Remember to taste, not drink (or guzzle) your wine to become intoxicated, not drunk!
Steve Shipley, author Wine Sense, out early 2014. Published by InkIT Publishing
© 2013. Steve Shipley
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