My Oenophobia Had a Color

The Back Story:
After being pregnant and nursing for several years, I lost my ability to think, I mean, drink.
I had previously had a Sunday-Dinner-Sometimes-Thursday Night relationship with Oliver Soft Red Wine. It’s local and inexpensive, and had been my favorite since Drew discovered it and brought me a bottle.
In the nursing years, I would try to indulge in Oliver Soft Red Wine, when I could.
(“When I could” is a complex situation that can really only be understood by medical personnel and other mothers who’ve had long-term intimate relationships with their breast pumps.)

My favorite wine made me sick.
My face would grow hot and red. My skin would prickle from the inside, and I would feel unwell.
I tried, repeatedly.
I did not understand how something that had once given me pleasure could bring me illness and a sense of futility.
I gave up wine.
I painted my nails “So Merlot” as a consolation.





Years Later:
I was at a Brownie meeting where I met a woman who told me that it was because of my Rosacea, and that white wine would not have that effect on me.
I bought a bottle of white wine on the way home.
I drank three glasses, slept like a baby, no prickly hot face.
Yay for white wine!

When offered red wine, I had to say “No, thank you,” and if prompted, I had to respond with old people phrases like, “I love red wine, but it does not love me.”
Then I watched other people drink the red wine.
Just terrible.

The New Story: 
Several weeks ago, Mr. Hill and his fella came to visit, bearing a bottle of Malbec for themselves and a bottle of Pinot Grigio for me.
How lovely.
We had a delightful visit.
I thought to myself, we should have more friends over for wine…
When they left, I put a stopper in the Malbec, thinking I would use the remains for cooking.

A few nights later, while I had a handful of chocolate chip cookie, I caught that Malbec staring at me.
So I indulged.
I slammed caution’s head against the butcher block table, and poured myself a small glass of Malbec.
Never had a Malbec, I don’t think.
Quite *smacks lips* nice.
Better than I remember any red wine ever being…
No prickling red hot face.
Just a rich and sweet, sweet taste on my lips.

Had the spell been broken?
Had it only been a hormonal issue?
Had I outgrown it?
Is it just the Malbec, or could I have any red wine I wanted?
What if it’s just this brand?

I drank another small glass, which finished that bottle.
I marveled at how I had tempted fate.
Jacob wrestled the angel: I drank red wine.

After that, I craved it.

In a pre-menstrual fury quest I went to the store to buy a bottle of Malbec (and some cordial cherries.)

I remember Mr. Hill teasing his fella, “See, you brought an $8 bottle of wine, whereas I would have brought a $30 bottle of wine, and this would have been an altogether different evening.”
But I wanted the $8 bottle of wine, didn’t I? Because what if it’s the brand that makes it safe to imbibe?

I was able to locate the exact same wine.
And it was on sale 3/$12 for cryin out loud.
That’s even cheaper than my old buddy Oliver Soft Red Wine!

My palate does not know the difference.
My parents know good wine, so I’ve had plenty.
Many of my friends know good wine, so I’ve had plenty more.
Even my old wine snob friend, Tori, worked for a vineyard, and I tasted gobs of assorted fine wines with her.
I can tell you I prefer one to another, but it’s not always the expensive bottle I prefer.

I said I’m a foodie.
I told you I’m not a food snob.
I could probably admit that a more expensive bottle of Malbec with some delicate gourmet truffles could have provided an altogether different evening, but I’m here to tell you, my glass of cheap Malbec and two cordial cherries from the ubiquitous red box suited me JUST FINE.

About joey

Neurotic Bitch, Mother, Wife, Writer, Word Whore, Foodie and General Go-To-Girl
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9 Responses to My Oenophobia Had a Color

  1. meANXIETYme says:

    Awesome that you can imbibe (*hic*) and enjoy. So jealous!


  2. LindaGHill says:

    Yay for you and Malbec! I couldn’t live without my red wine.


  3. Sherry says:

    Well, that sounds like a story worth telling. Glad you did. 🙂 You write very well Joey…excellent in fact..


  4. Aussa Lorens says:

    Mmmm a story with a happy ending, love it 😉 I would weep without red wine so I am sorry you had to endure a long absence of it from your life… At least everything is back to how it shoud be now!


  5. words4jp says:

    congrats for being able to indulge in the ‘red’ again:)


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