I’m often accused of sexualizing wine. I never deny it. I write about wines that make my loins tingle; that make me feel like desirable hands are inching up my thighs and under my dress beneath the table of a dark corner booth, gently pushing my panties aside as I gush. And I won’t ever apologize for it. Wine has always been a sensual beverage, as documented throughout time from paintings of orgies in Rome to the chapters of Hemingway. Because wine is fucking sexy.
It starts with the sensuality of tasting, which like many acts of intimacy, is an entire experience of different senses. You begin with the satisfying pop of the cork that makes your nipples perk up as the bottle is poured. The color glitters as it catches the low light with the smooth circular motions of your wrists, working the wine—and yourself—up. You finally bring the glass to your lips and take it into your mouth, swallowing as you feel the acid tugging at the sides of your tongue and lingering tannins begging you to take another sip.
As a wine writer, I usually taste wines alone. It is how I get closest to the wine, and closest to myself. I put my phone on silent and sit back with a glass. I take in its color, maybe glinting yellow like a hazel-eyed stranger’s stare. I breathe it in like the nape of a lover’s neck. I taste it like I’ve never tasted, like I’ve never been touched, like each sip exploring my insides. I open myself up to its flavors and let it take me away into daydreams, or perhaps take me back into my bedroom to dance in my underwear. Pour me an extra glass and I’ll even get dressed up for no one but myself; the imperfections I usually pick at melting away as I inhale juicy fruit notes, sway my hips and with a big gulp and a long exhale. Those are often the times I feel most beautiful, when I am alone with a wine that fills me with butterflies.
The only thing that rivals drinking wine alone is drinking wine with a partner. Perhaps you both pick a wine neither of you have ever had and strip with each sip. Maybe you do a blind tasting, a traditionally tedious exercise where wine connoisseurs guess what kind of wine they are drinking without seeing the bottle, but also a very fun game in bed with your favorite blindfold. Or you can just do what I like to do: Take your favorite bottle to the bed stand and drink it straight from the bottle every time you’re on top.
One of the reasons wine is so sensual is because it is a shared subjective experience; you are drinking the same wine, out of the same bottle, at the same time but may have entirely different experiences. Just like sex, it conjures different feelings for all parties involved. Even if everyone had the best fucking time (no pun intended), it is probably for different reasons. Just like you can open a bottle of wine and love it—or hate it—for entirely subjective reasons. But that still opens the door to conversations you may never have had without it.
And therein lies wine’s beauty: Its ability to spark communication. You can open a bottle of wine and talk about it, or talk about what it reminds you of, or talk about absolutely nothing at all. And that doesn’t even have to be with anyone else. You can have that communication, that sensory recall, with yourself and that can be just as rewarding as opening a bottle with company.
So yes, I sexualize wine. Because I love I feeling myself alone in clean sheets with a soft red. Because I love having a partner pour Champagne down my chest and drink it from my pussy. Because I love talking and laughing with people I love just as much as I love being in touch with my body. Because wine is, has always been, and will always be fucking sexy.
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