Wannabe Wine Lovers


This is an article about wine, written by a teetotaller whose father used to be a vintner. I’ve never tasted vodka and I’ve spent less than €100 on booze in my entire life. I’m only allowed two glasses of prosecco or champagne once every four months. After the first glass, hilarity ensues. I first reach the proficiency level of French I’m currently working towards when sober, and I also send one or two texts to exes who need reminding that I am a goddess. My brother then drops me off home to my parents, who are always none the wiser. I then pass out.

I’ve only ever experienced three hangovers and I’ve only chundered once in the privacy of my bathroom in Tooting Broadway, London. And that was only because my choice of beverage happened to be Wetherspoon’s cheapest grape juice. People often ask me as to why I remain abstinent, and I think I’ve finally come to the most truthful answer. When daddy had embarked on his journey of vinification, I was just a young faun with very few friends at school. The families of those few had been bored to alienation by my father’s impromptu demonstrations of wine tasting and other oenologistic anecdotes. Because of this, wine, to me, is passé. I care not for it and I am in no way a wannabe wine lover. How could I be? I’m abstinent.

Despite this, I did learn a lot about the general Maltese attitude towards their local grape and what they look for in a bottle, and that’s a cheap price tag.

Luckily, it is. Perhaps I have this opinion because most of my peers are still students or struggling artists. Having said that, when I compared the prices of wine in London to those in Malta, our produce is certainly the more reasonably priced. This is probably because there is a lesser demand for wine in Britain than there is in Europe.

On a more positive note, the Maltese are slowly moving away from the postcolonial notion that “foreign is best”, and are now more inclined to partake in local produce, not just out of patriotism, but also for the quality alone. Florence Fabricant for the New York Times recently wrote an article on Maltese wine, discussing the two main indigenous grapes, ġellewża and girgentina.

I very much doubt that the majority of Maltese diners are actually aware of the two, and do I expect them to be? No, I certainly do not. Otherwise, we’re bound to have an army of pretentious w***s who think they’re qualified to be sommeliers. There’s also another strand of wannabe wine lovers who think they can mask their lust for a booze-up by referring to the secondary choice of alcohol as ‘vino’, and throwing in one or two basic French terms to sound impressive to the ladies.

“It’s got great body, hux?” says Beppe loudly enough to be heard by the entire bar. “Ah yes, really full, isn’t it? Very fruity, eh?” pipe in Tonio and Giorgio, as they swivel their wine glasses and mystically look into the liquid.

I highly respect anyone who does actually take wine tasting seriously. But the rest of us mere mortals must remember this. Dionysus himself couldn’t give a flying f**k.