Archive | 7:23 am

Happy Swiss National Day – Aug. 1

1 Aug

If you ever wondered how Señorita Vino first became a wine lover, count your lucky estrellas that I’m still studying for my Wines of Bordeaux exam next Monday and I’m too slammed to write an original post. Here, enhanced by some snazzy photos I just snapped  (and sporting a new, timely  title), is my first-ever Señorita Vino blog post, which explains how my love  for wine was born. Wondering how Swiss National Day ties into all of this? Read on! (But please spare my parents a collective heart attack by not telling them that I got into a car at age 22 with a strange man and let him drive me to the outskirts of Geneva, Switzerland, just because he promised me a fabulous meal with some local wines. ¡Gracias!)

This is the ACTUAL map I took with me to Switzerland as an impressionable young college girl. And no, I’m not a hoarder.

At a wine tasting event last month, someone asked me how it was that I came to love wine. It all started 23 years ago in the countryside outside the city limits of Geneva, Switzerland. The middle of nowhere, to be exact. With a man I had met only two hours earlier.

But it’s not what you think. This is not that kind of blog, and I was not that kind of chica.

I was a 22 year-old Latina in her last year at the University of California, away from home for the first time on a summer work-abroad program. That was the summer I came into my own, and to get back to the story, the summer I discovered the joy of wine. And improved my French.

The man in question was a thirty-something banker who had taken a liking to my gringa roommate. He had asked her to dinner at a small country restaurant, and she was nervous about going for a drive with a man she barely knew. So I took one for the team and accepted her invitation to join them.

That photo in the background reminds me of the experience I’m about to describe. By the way, the Swiss National Tourist Office did not sponsor any part of this post. I just happened to find this brochure in my living room. (De nada, Swiss National Tourist Office.)

What I remember most about that afternoon was not so much the conversation or even the food, but the glorious red wine. I couldn’t tell you the name or the grape. At the time, the only things I was jotting down in notebooks were French words I’d never heard in my literature classes (bretelles for bra straps, Coupe Danemark for a lethal portion of velvety hazelnut ice cream with heavy chocolate syrup, served in a cup the size of a fish bowl).

And this, my friends, is fromage. Real Swiss cheese. From left to right, Vacherin Fribourgeois A.O.C., Holzmilch Kase, and Le Maréchal.

Maybe it was the bucolic country setting. Maybe it was the thrill of being with a European man who could school my American boyfriend back home on wardrobe and manners. Regardless, I was hopelessly, unapologetically, deliciously hooked on wine.

This is a Swiss white wine made from the Fendant, or Chasselas, grape. The book in the background is the same Baedecker’s that accompanied me on my Swiss odyssey back in college. I swear I’m not a hoarder.

Which brings me to today. Before I head into the kitchen to pour a glass of Australian Shiraz, I want to share a few things you can expect to see on this blog. Let me stress that while I may be targeting my fellow wine-loving Latinas, this content is for everyone and anyone who loves wine, wants to learn more about it, or would like to share their knowledge or expertise about wine. I’ll be writing about wines I think you might enjoy, tastings and events that I visit, profiles and interviews with people in the wine industry, factoids about what I’m learning in the UCLA Extension wine education program, and maybe a few foods I enjoy with various wines.

So cheers, salud,  and santé, chicas y chicos! And a special toast to the fine Swiss gent who started it all.

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