My Dumb Phase
February 8, 2011 by Kris Barber
I was pretty stupid when I was in junior high. When I was baking a cake in eighth grade home economics class, the instructions told me to grease the bottom and sides of the pan; so I did—on the outsides. In seventh grade history class, I wrote a five page book report on the pheasants that lived during the old medieval feudal system. Not the peasants, mind you—the pheasants. According to the paper, the pheasants were not able to leave the fiefdom without first receiving the Lord’s consent. Junior high was also the time when I thought the word “awry” was pronounced like “awe-ree”. Once during summer break I tied a rope to my friend’s mini bike to see if my skateboard could do thirty. Turns out, twenty seven was its top end. This was the first time of four that I broke my arm in junior high.
Let me continue. Once in social studies class I copied every single answer off a friend’s test paper—beginning with his name. On two separate dares I chewed tin foil, and pushed a pin into the wall socket. Rather than taking the $5/hr. caddying job, I stuck with the $3/hr. lawn mowing job because I thought it would look better on a resume one day. I remember wishing I could score with the ladies the way Freddy Mercury probably did. Once in a spelling competition I misspelled the word “Angel.” A-N-G-L-E–Angel. Another time I counterfeited a teacher’s handwriting on a hall pass to get out of going to math: “Please excuse me from class.” These are just a few examples. I could go on. I’m not saying I’m a brain surgeon now but I did get a little better.
Some wines go through a phase like this too. It’s called their “dumb phase.” No kidding. It’s a period of a wine’s transition from youth to maturity. Shortly after bottling, the delicious flavors of fruit can begin to decrease before the complexities of maturity have developed. During this time the wine just doesn’t taste very good. It’s wine’s version of writing “pheasants” and just like some junior high kids, there’s no telling what causes it or how long it will last.
This week’s recommendation is a white wine and therefore typically immune to the dumb phase.
Chateau St. Michelle 2008, Columbia Valley Riesling ($9.99): This wine contains a smart taste of apricots, a clever use of pears, and an intelligent hint of honey. It all comes together in one brilliant Riesling.
To read more of Kris Barber’s insights on wine, visit his blog at winerogue.wordpress.com