You know, sometimes, you just don’t know

Life continues to surprise and amaze me.

Most of our lives are filled with the same old, same old. We are creatures of habit and that can be very comforting. However, it can also be very constricting.

For example, we get up at the same time every morning and that’s a good thing if you consider the alternative of not getting up in the morning! And at the end of the day, we look forward to slipping between the sheets for a good night’s rest — at about the same time every night, right?

We like the same food because our tastes have become accustomed to the same old, same old. We find comfort in that sameness, don’t we? We all have our favorite colors, authors, churches, grocery store, friends, etc., etc. It’s in that sameness where we find ease, peace and comfort because we know those pieces of our lives, and that make us feel at ease, at peace and comfortable.

But every once in awhile, something happens and we shake our heads in bewilderment or befuddlement. Instead of knowing what’s happening, we are taken out of our safety zones and we enter the realm of: “You know, sometimes, you just don’t know.”

Rather than knowing how to fix that flat tire, we find ourselves at a loss. Instead of knowing the answer to a question or a situation, we don’t know it. When attempting to logically understand why someone does or says something stupid, our minds go into lock down.

You know, sometimes, we just don’t know. But fortunately this not knowing usually doesn’t last too long.

The same phrase can be used when trying to describe the taste of a new food or a drink. When we taste something new — a new cultural food or drink, for instance, — our taste buds go into a frenzy trying to describe that new taste. We can’t come up with an answer — is that new food taste an herb, spice or some other new magical food?

The same can be said about tasting a new wine. Opening a bottle of wine from a new country or a new wine region can be startlingly different and the usual turns to: “You know, sometimes, you just don’t know.” Instead of receiving the usual taste from a cabernet sauvignon or a chardonnay or a pinot noir, the new wine opens the portals to another taste and that’s why wine is so fascinating.

Recently we received a bottle of Crow River Winery’s 20º Below Apple Wine. I’ve tasted a number of apple wines and have always found them to be very sweet — too sweet for my taste. But as I looked at the 18 percent alcohol content of this Crow River wine, I knew this was going to be different. Upon taking the first sip of the wine, I was taken into the realm of “You know, sometimes, you just don’t know.”

There was very little sweetness but rather — and it took me a few minutes to find the right answer — a crispy taste that told me I was tasting an apple! I know that sounds ridiculous since after all, I was tasting an apple wine. But the usual became unusual because in this wine, I could actually taste the Honeycrisp apples. Once I got past the thought the wine was going to be overly sweet, it was a new and welcome tasting experience.

I had a similar tasting experience with a bottle of Argentinian wine. It had been awhile since I’d tasted a cabernet sauvignon from that country and I bought a bottle of Santa Julia Cabernet Sauvignon which comes from the Mendoza region of Argentina.

To say I’ve tasted a few cabs from around the globe would be an understatement. The usual taste of the wine is a cherry fruitiness which gives way to a full luscious mouth feel and ends with a nice vanilla finish. When I took the first sip of this Argentinian wine, I entered the state of: “You know, sometimes, you just don’t know.”

The initial taste confounded me for a bit. Yes, the mouth feel was lusciously full and fruity. Yes, the finish was smooth. But there was something at the beginning I was not expecting and it took me a few minutes to get past the usual and to realize I was tasting pepper. Pepper in a cabernet sauvignon? One normally finds peppery tastes in a zinfandel or a syrah but not a cab.

Once I could identify the peppery taste, I re-entered the world of a very good tasting wine. Was it different than usual? Yes, but that’s what made it memorable!

Is there a simple answer for this “You know, sometimes, you just don’t know” syndrome? As you may have guessed, of course there’s an answer. It’s to open your mind and faculties to the wonders of newness and to invite your friends and family to help you when you’re stymied.

Never be afraid to step into something new but watch where you step!

Next week, too many!

As always, eat and drink in moderation but laugh with reckless abandon!