I’ve been a wine enthusiast since I was old enough to drink alcoholic beverages. I grew up in the San Francisco bay area, and California wines were plentiful and cheap. During my early years in Vietnam, when French wine was readily available, I developed a taste for it. Later, as I traveled broadly in my work, I sampled wine for all over the planet. I ended up preferring the French, but my budget usually wouldn’t allow it.
More years ago than I can remember, I paid a cabinetmaker to build a maple-wood wine chest for me. It’s more than four feet wide, several feet deep, and over three feet high. Fronted by two sliding doors, its interior is divided into three sections. On the left side are seven drawers, each of which holds three regular-sized bottles of wine. On the right are six drawers sized for two magnums each. In the middle are shelves for three tiers of stemmed crystal wine glasses hanging upside down.
I try to keep the chest full. That way I have plenty of choices for a beverage to accompany my meals. But except for a couple of bottles of French champagne, these days I fill the chest with cabernet sauvignon, far and away my favorite wine.
I don’t drink wine with breakfast, but I enjoy a glass of cabernet with all other meals. Most often my food consists of beans and rice, split pea soup, or clear soup with a salad. I eat little meat. My choice of food is based on nutrition and low calorie count, and I’m strict about how much food I allow myself. As a result of my diet and regular weight lifting, I’ve now got my body weight down to an all-time low. But I have worked on the recipes for the dishes I enjoy so that they are perfected for my taste. And all of them are enhanced by the flavor of cabernet sauvignon.