Wednesday, 17 October 2007

Wine Course Night, a play in 3 acts

Gaping void knows the score....

Tuesday night is Wine Course Night. The Glorious leader asked The Princess and I if we fancied doing it alongside himself and his brother. I am always open to new things (HA!-LMM) so I jumped at the chance. The course runs every Tuesday night for 8 weeks, there are 5 weeks left. It sucks the big one that it is on my night off. But one must suffer for one's art. And suffering I am. The class only lasts 2 hours but the night itself lasts much much longer. Wine Course Night is a play in three acts.

Act I, "I don't want to fucking go", takes place in the hours before the class actually starts and lasts for about two to three hours. There is a lot of stamping of feet, huffing and generally acting like a 2 year old. I usually calm down and remember I am 34 and not 4 by the time I get to the college. I chain smoke 3 or 4 cigarettes and make my way inside. Thus beginning the main act...

Act II, "Sir Sir I know I know ask me!" subtitled "I ask questions I already know the answer to." Apart from when I am sleeping this is the quietest I am all week. Honestly you hardly get a peep out of me. I've put this new found reserve down to the fact that I can't get a bloody word in even if I wanted to, which I don't. It turns out I actually know very little about wine. Well nothing in comparison to the room full of Oz Clarkes I'm doing the class with. So I have decided to come clean with a terrible dark secret that haunts me every time I tie my apron on. My name is MANUEL AND I AM A BLUFFER - A WINE BLUFFER. It's never ever been a problem though. A quick wit coupled with a confident and amusing table-side manner gets me through most situations. I can wax lyrical about the wine on my wine list at work. I can make good and confident recommendations based on the food ordered and the tastes of the customer. Which is great. But if some smart ass hits me with a lot of follow up questions and some of their own wine knowledge I am in danger of being outed for the fraud I am. That's why I am doing a wine course!

But why some of the rest of them are doing it is beyond me. There are two chaps in particular who are clearly trying to out do each other. If one makes a point about the history of viticulture in Argentina the other will counter with an even duller point about the history of viticulture in China and on it goes. If they aren't busy contradicting each other they do their best to contradict the lecturer. Gets on my tits. Honestly they ask questions they already know the answer to just so that they can follow up with their own startling fact.

The class itself is good though despite the Johnny-suck-ups. But I'm sure the smokes have messed with my taste and smell sensations. For example last week whilst tasting Pinot Noir the lecturer suggested that the wine had an aroma reminiscent of over ripe vegetables. There was lots of nodding of heads and a couple of cries of "rotting cabbage" and people looking smug as they could smell it too. I wasn't getting it at all. To me it smelled of eh um er wine. Crikey. I got more out of the class this week but some people are gonna have to shut the fuck up or else face my wrath. My wine wrath that is, it's nothing really to be scared of. By the end of the class I am ready for a nap. Wine has that effect on me...

Act III, "Headache tablet, water, pizza, nap", this must happen within minutes of getting home or there will be tears, my tears. A couple of glasses of wine is enough to give me a sore head. A sore head leads to grumpiness. Grumpiness leads to falling out with Little Miss Manuel and we cant be having that. It also makes me sleepy. I would be fine if I just carried on drinking, it's the stopping that's the problem. But I would only wake up at 4am surrounded by empty wine bottles, vomit, next doors cat, and a policeman prodding (no pun intended (you'll only get that if you are from N.Ireland)) me with his truncheon. And nobody wants that especially next doors cat.

I bloody hope I pass this course and I bloody hope I don't kill someone trying. But stay tuned for more from the the play that is Wine Course Night. Wonder what happens if you get detention....

27 People trying to get Manuel's attention:

Medbh said...

Ack! Wine snobs are the worst, Manuel. I am spitting nails just thinking of the boorish patter that I've had to endure over the years. And there have been many studies showing that it's all a load of shite and that people can't tell a $25 bottle from a $200 bottle at the end of it.
But hats off to you for your dedication to the craft, sir.

Little Miss Manuel said...

Awh is someone not the smartest boy in the room?

OneForTheRoad said...

I'd drink wine out of a rusty kettle I found on the street.

And I bet you I appreciate it more than Tom fucking Doorley.

I love wine.

Manuel said...

Medbh: I have no time for wine snobs either but I do like people who appreciate and love a good bottle. The lecturer is clearly one of those and is in no way a wine snob. He looks the sort who would be quite at home with a beer as a Rioja. The alphas in the class are very definitely wine snobs.....

LMM: Yes dear.....

OFTR: (one google search later) Yeah fuck Tom Doorley.....

savannah said...

i feel your pain, sugar!

Manuel said...

Savannah: We did a bit on the Napa valley tonight. Really wanna go now...

Anonymous Boxer said...

It's the tannins in red wine that give me headaches, so I switched to Vodka years ago. Most of the stuffy wine drinkers have no flipping idea what they are guzzling while nodding their heads over rotting vegetables. Pffft.

And do not piss off The Lady. Ever.

The Hangar Queen said...

Wine is big business in Virginia too but there's none of the usual snobby fuckery you find elsewhere.

I popped in to one of the nearby vineyards over the summer to find the entire staff cabbaged at 10 in the morning.

Medbh is dead on with not being able to tell the difference and even more spot on with the prices.Had that very same thing happen.I inherited a $200 bottle from Frenchie and ran it against a $25 bottle of Penfold's.

Cynthia and I would take the Penfold's any day of the week.

Old Knudsen said...

Bring a bottle of sprite as a mixer.


I'm all class I am.

Is it just me? said...

LMM...Laughing!!

Manuel...its a handy skill in your proffession.I tend to ignore idiots who take the whole thing too seriously..just recommend your restaurant to the fools and decant a bottle of £5 wallys hut into the empty bottle of the expensive wine they've ordered and snigger as they tell you how wonderful it is.

Toast said...

i had a lovely wine last night... 'red' i think it was... quite wonderful.

Sideways is the shittest fucking fillum ever - it makes me hate people.

sheepworrier said...

its all a loada pish - if it tastes nice to you, drink it, evrything else is just being pretentious.

alot of it is the waiter's fault - pouring that wee bit into the glass 1st so evryone can ponce about and pretend that they wuldnt lick buckfast off the ground in any other situation.
unless its more than £30, just open it and plonk it on the table!

i do love a nice aussie shiraz tho.

fatmammycat said...

Oh I don't know, it's all to do with quantity. Most wine is fine as long as it doesn't taste like cheap vinegar or a half dead tree, but the first bottle should be better then the next. After the first bottle I certainly don't notice what the second one really tastes like, unless it is particularly vile or a Chardonnay.
Either way these days wine gives me a frightful headache and a dicky acidy stomach. Surely it would make more sense if folk just stuck to good drinks, like rum.

But good luck with the classes.

Mudflapgypsy said...

I'm not feeling your pain as I would hazard a guess that a wine course would attract exactly the sort of people you describe. Can't abide fuckwits like that.

You are there to learn intya?

Laugh at them and hope you'll never have to wait on them as they extol the virtues of the wine you have poured for them when they should be tasting and smelling to ascertain if it is corked or not.
I suppose you could laugh at them even more after that.

I love wine, I can drink the sort of stuff that makes Mrs M retch.

Handy, means I get more of it.

Manuel said...

Boxer: It's the drinking 5 bottles in a row that gives me a headache...

Hangar Queen: Oh I do like Penfolds....

Old Knudsen: I spend my days bringing bottles of soda and 7up to tables for the ladies....

Is it just me?: Oi don't encourage her...

Toast: Well you don't get reviews like that on BBC 1

Sheepo: Oi don't have me come round and give you a bloody good worrying....waiters fault my arse...

FMC: Ta ta..

Flapster: Some of the people on the course are from some of the city's better restaurants....

Little Miss Manuel said...

Tell me I'm wrong then?

healysequoia said...

I did the wine course at Queens a couple years ago and thought it was great. Always wanted to be a wine snob and now I have the vocabulary to fake it! Also great because I managed to drink my tuition fee's worth several times over...

Manuel said...

LMM: I'll talk to you later, or maybe not

Healysequoia: Me too, I've been faking it for years, now I need the actual knowledge....

Medbh said...

I would like to echo Toast's declaration of hatred for Sideways. Those were awful male characters who were completely unlikeable, whiney and selfish and they both wound up with beautiful women.
As if.

Manuel said...

Medbh: I dunno it seems that happens in real life all the time...

Conortje said...

One half glass of red can put me to sleep - such a pity cause I wish I could drink it. White wine I could drink a vat of however (still looking out for that Ned)

I really liked Sideways - sorry :-)

Manuel said...

Conortje: If you can't find it try Wither Hills.....

sheepworrier said...

'prodding' tsk, tsk.
for shame Manuel, for shame.

Dave said...

Wine course? Is that the 'Wine and Spirit Education Trust basic certificate' (all in one breath) ?
Done the same course many moons ago. Taught me that wine tastes like....wine.
On another note, winemark had a go at educating all the staff with a few nights in the Empire about 9 years ago. Hosted by that big clampet off utv, Julian whatsisface.
Always good to have a little phrase handy in case he came over to ask your opinion.
"ahhh, it's quite a cheeky fruity little number".

Manuel said...

Sheepo: A bit of "post conflict" humour. Too soon?

Dave: The very one, what's the exam like?

Dave said...

To be honest, I can't really remember the details of the exam, it's been nearly 15 years. I think it may actually be a multiple choice test. Basically if you've got half a brain, you should get through it ok.
When I done it, they spent 90% of the time on the grape varieties, regions, soil types and grades of French wines. Cos they're the best in the world at making wine, aren't they!?
Is it still held in that college in Brunswick St?

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