Boone’s Farm – My Introduction to Wine

Boone's FarmDo you remember the Emerson Lake and Palmer song, From the Beginning? Great tune and brings back memories of my first forays into the world of wine, well if you can call it that.  From the beginning,  I would only buy bottles with twist off caps, Boone’s Farm, a wine I once thought had been brewed out in the boones in some barn.  I never liked it much but at the time, I didn’t know how to extract a cork, so it was either Boone’s Farm, Reunite Lambrusco or the Pink stuff in the box.   But even the corkless Franzia carton intimidated me with its potentially leaky extractable tap.

MateusOn the homefront, the parentals usually had a bottle of Blue Nun or Mateus in the fridge, decidely unhip wines that I secretly respected because of the cork.  The Mateus vessle looked like an antique vase or an industrial sized bottle of aftershave – a deluxe edition of Brut.

My first experience with a decent wine came in the mid 80’s when a quick scan of the radio waves would have revealed a still youthful but maturing REM and yet another U2 mega hit.  One evening I got together with some friends at a wine bar.  I made the mistake of sitting at the head of the table.  Someone ordered a bottle, nothing too fancy, but corked – that is to say, not screw capped.  Our sommelier adroitly extracted the cork,  set it on the table next to my hand and poured a little wine in my glass.  If the truth be told, I’d have preferred a beer; I still had a dreadful Boone’s Farm aftertaste in my mind even after all those years removed – or maybe it was Riunte Lambrusco, I couldn’t be sure.  Anyway, I thought it was nice of the wine steward to serve me first, but what about the others?  After a long and awkward pause, my cultured friend who had ordered the wine mumbled something about the cork and taking a sip.  I turned as red as the wine in my glass, picked up the cork, looked at it to acknowledge that it indeed was a cork, and downed the wine like a shot of whiskey.  The sommelier with a napkin delicately drapped around his arm stood staring at me and I was thinking – what…does he want a tip?   And all I could think to say was “thanks”.  And then he walked away.  My friends were rolling in laughter and I was like, “what”?