When I was growing up, the images of wine that we’d see on TV or in movies evoked class, sophistication… even entitlement.
I’m sure this vintage commercial, featuring Hollywood icon Orson Welles, was largely responsible for my perception.
I saw wine as the beverage of the upper class. So, when I was old enough to drink, I began ordering a class of “Chablis” to go with my steak at the local Sizzler restaurant.
Of course, as I’d learn a few years later, that wasn’t real Chablis — as in the “White Burgundy” of France, made from the finest Chardonnay grapes. Rather, it was “California Chablis,” a mélange of minor grape varieties merged to create an affordable adult beverage that restaurants could use to create a “wine list.”
It was about as far from “sophisticated” as one could get. But I didn’t know it, so what did it matter?
These days, I’m pretty picky about the wines I drink, mainly because I enjoy matching wine with food. I’m not a snob; I just know what I like.
But I also understand that there’s still plenty of “Chablis and steak” consumption taking place, and that’s fine. In fact, it’s better than fine; it’s fantastic. If a wine — no matter what kind — brings pleasure to someone, it’s a good wine in my book.
And these days, wine is available in more places than ever before, including some unexpected locales. With that in mind, I thought it might be fun to share some places where I’ve encountered wine — and was totally surprised when it happened. Every so often, I’ll share a few of my “discoveries” here.
Over the weekend, I snapped the accompanying photo. Does the sign look familiar? Do you know where it’s posted? Here’s a clue: It’s somewhere in California, but far from California wine country.
I’ll provide another clue tomorrow, and then reveal the location… and a bit about the wine list… on Wednesday.