I come from a family of opinionated control freaks, and I mean that in the nicest of ways. I’d be putting it lightly if I described every one of them as stubborn and set in their ways, which often makes for spirited debates and passionate opinions that stay with us long after the arguments end. The seven of us couldn’t have more varied wine preferences, so dinners out always result in at least one compromise in ordering wine, and it comes with gritted teeth and crossed arms. Because of our tendency to fight over wines, we’ve become great fans of wine bars, thanks to their ability to nullify the debate by giving each of us our own way. We order wines by the glass, no compromise needed.
Thus, our family celebrates our twenty-first birthdays by going to a wine bar and each ordering what we know we like, or should I say think we like. This past week, two of my sisters and I went to Terroir Tribeca for a belated twenty-first birthday celebration for one of them. It was a fairly warm August day, and I arrived to discover them both drinking red wine.
My sisters both shot me looks of irritation and disgust. One exclaimed, “You didn’t tell us they only have Riesling right now. I HATE Riesling,” while the other groaned, “Ugh, it’s like drinking Welch’s. How could you?” Terroir, I discovered, was serving only one kind of white wine–Riesling–but they were pouring many types of it. Clearly, my sisters needed to be stopped.
I assured them that they needed to listen to me, that in my professional opinion they did not hate Riesling, and that they were merely inexperienced. With a slightly haughty air, I asked the very knowledgeable bartender for the driest Riesling on offer, one with loads of minerality and aromatics. He poured two tastes of Alsatian Rieslings, and both were exactly what I was looking for. I savored both tastes, and in describing the wines to my sisters, I was sure to lay it on thick. The more wine I enjoyed, I noticed that the longer their glances lingered on my cool, refreshing glass of Riesling. They finally caved, just as they emptied their glasses of red.
The wine guru behind the bar suggested they go with a moderately dry Riesling and maybe try a pair, a younger one next to one with a little more age, and one from Alsace with one from Germany. Knowing from years of experience that the less I urged them to love it the more likely they would, I kept my mouth shut as they sipped. Much to their surprise, and my delight, both stubborn young women developed a taste for Riesling that night. I enjoyed my Rieslings, but I enjoyed being right more.