Real Men Drink White
By Boris Wiedenfeld, CSW
Yep, I’m a guy. Six foot three, 200 pounds, usually a little stubbly. You get the picture. I like things that go fast, things that go boom, you know, manly-man stuff. But I seem to be a little at odds with the masculine world when it comes to wine, and I’m here to tell you that it’s OK and to help you fellow men get in touch with and accept yourselves. You see, about 80 percent of the wine I drink is, ummm, white.
There, I said it: I generally prefer white wine.
Friends have tried everything to help me, but to no avail. I’ve had interventions, Lodi Zinfandel blood transfusions, a serious sit-down with counselors and testosterone-level tests. Nothing. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I still like the red juice. I’ll drink a good glass, or bottle, of Barolo, or Volnay, or Oregon Pinot anytime, but I still prefer my Muscadet or Grüner, etc., unless I have food that really calls for a red.
I do understand if you’re not quite ready to drink Pinot Gris or, heaven forbid, Chardonnay — someday though, you might graduate to my level of security in manhood and embrace that too, culminating in white Burgundy. But, fret not. I have a compiled a list of all your favorite tough-guys’ translucent grape beverages of choice to help you.
Chuck Norris is said to be rather fond of Rieslings, it turns out. No, not the sticky sweet kind — he wouldn’t allow anyone who drinks that stuff to live. He prefers really dry, super-manly “Erstes Gewächs” Riesling from the Rheingau, tasting as hard as the slate rock in which it was grown.
Charles Bronson, on the other hand, preferred Chenin Blanc. Whether from the Loire Valley of France or South Africa’s Stellenbosch region, it was the drink of choice for C.B. A glass of Anjou with its enticing, yet masculine hints of apple, quince and honeydew was all he needed to inspire him to do donuts in his ’69 Charger while holding a sawed-off shotgun, a cigarette and a glass of bourbon — straight-up, no ice.
The guys from ZZ-top? When they’re not guzzling racing fuel while smoking cigars soaked in seven drugs, they drink Italian whites, but not some young fruity swill. Would you rather hang out with Justin Bieber or George Clooney? Thought so. The boys love Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi with some serious age on it. Full of strawy complexity and mineral flavors that’ll make your beard grow another inch.
Finally, what wine could possibly be tough enough for Clint Eastwood? Malbec from Cahors? Black Tannat from Uruguay? Nope, Clint raises one eyebrow and one-ups that on the masculinity chart by drinking mostly Savagnin. Not Sauvignon Blanc; that stuff is not nearly macho enough for Clint, punk. No, Savagnin from the Côte du Jura — a wine so brutally dry and acidic, it tastes like denatured vinegar and battery acid in which the rocky soil has been dissolved; but in a good way. This is not the kind of wine that comes to you; you go to it. On your hands and knees, begging forgiveness for every glass of sweet, over-oaked Chardonnay you ever had.
So, go ahead and try some white vino. If it’s macho enough for these guys, it’ll do for you. And if you start now, who knows, by summer you might be ready for the next step and drink what I drink that time of year: Provence rosé (yes, I’ll have an ice cube, please). But I understand if you need some more practice and counseling before you’re ready to go pink.
Boris Wiedenfeld, CSW, sells wine for The Estates Group of Young’s Market Co. He is the co-founder/host of “Food for Thought” (KLCC) and writes about wine and food for several publications.