Welcome to Second Ferment! Wine pairs well with life ... and food, travel, people, work and play. Grab a glass and join me as I explore the wine scene in Ottawa, Canada, and beyond. Love hearing from my readers, so please leave a comment. Cheers! - Bethany

Sunday, December 27, 2009

While visions of Beaujolais danced in my head

At the risk of sounding like a total alcoholic, I have to say I've been missing my wine this Christmas. (Wow, I really DO sound like an alkie when I say that, don't I??)

My first pregnancy, I didn't really give much thought to beverages of any sort, with the exception of the samples I was swishing and spitting as part of my sommelier courses. (Shortly after that class ended, I decided a hiatus from school was in order; waddling in with a baby belly REALLY made me look like Mom of the Year.) It was summer: cool, non-alcoholic drinks, lemonades and ice tea were fine with me. With the exception of my birthday, there weren't a great deal of booze-centered festivities on the go, making it easier to go without.

This time around, my first trimester coincided with the beginning of the Great Socially Acceptable Binge of the Year: the period between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day. Not only is that a bad time to go on a diet, it's a worse time to become a temporary teetotaler. Every party, visit, dinner, outing and work luncheon involved alcohol. Everyone around me drank freely, in copious amounts, with great abandon, while I sipped on my ginger ale or cranberry-and-soda (both of which got old pretty quick).

I'll admit to have hesitatingly relented under the pressure of the usual "oh, come on, one little half-glass of red wine now and then isn't going to do anything". But the bitter aftertaste of guilt and mental weight of What If just isn't worth it, so I'm nipping that one in the bud until next summer. The jury's still out on how much is too much; besides, my palate is so screwed up from hormone overload, everything smells and tastes like rancid apple juice mixed with Vaseline. Yummy.

I'm making do with a few good stand-by mocktails: virgin strawberry daiquiries when dining out, or Hubby's killer Caesars (minus the vodka) at home. Today I put together cranberry-raspberry juice spiked with lime-infused frizzante San Pellegrino (tastes like a Cosmo - think I'll go make myself one of those right now). PS: if anyone has any other good ideas or sources for non-alcoholic sippers, do tell. I still need to stay hydrated.

Despite the "dry" Christmas, my family and friends ensured a share of wine-and-food themed gifts still found their way under the tree for me: a bottle of Domaine Chandon Brut Classique; a renewed subscription to Wine Access; the 2010 Wine-a-Day desk calendar; a pocket-sized journal for wine notes; a copy of Bill Buford's Heat (look in January for the complete review); and a thousand-and-one other goodies, including gourmet rubs and spices, BBQ implements and foodie gift cards. Many, many thanks to all!!

So, I raise my glass of fizzy water in a toast to the holidays ... and in the hopes that June comes sooner rather than later.

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