A couple of nights ago, my friend and I were headed out for an evening of dinner and ballet. Yep, a little bit of culture never hurt anyone. Prior to the show, we decided on a leisurely meal of Sushi at one of our favorite places. She ordered the eats, leaving me to select the beverage to wash it down. I chose Sake... A Momokawa Pearl variety. Now I could tell by the expression on her face when the server poured the Sake that she had never seen a "pearl" version before. For those of you unfamiliar, Pearl Sake is un-filtered and retains the whiteness of the rice grains it is made from. To the unknowing, it looks milk. At nearly 18% alcohol, this is no glass of milk. But I chose it because I am a bit partial to its creamy, slightly sweet flavor and the way it handles the heat of some of the food we were eating. Trust me, when your date orders something called a "heart attack", you want this wine.

Dinner was great, as was the ballet. But it does beg the question, "under what circumstances does someone decide... Hey, let's just let this rice ferment and see if we can make something cool to drink out of it". And I have to admit, having had some wine made from very odd things, rice seems very normal.

For a few years, I was invited to serve as a judge for a variety of wine competitions. One such was the local County Fair. Now judging the commercial division was always fun with, mostly, well crafted wines from traditional varietals. But the amateur division... Well that's were it got interesting. Ok, weird might be a better description. Yes, there were varietals and wines made from familiar alternatives. Think elderberry, dandelion, honey and table grapes. And, of course, lots of sweet fruit wines... raspberry, cherry, strawberry, pear, blackberry and the like. But... As they say... OMG! There were some "surprises". Wheat. Fig. Corn (pretty sure they must have moved here from Tennessee) and Hops. Really! Hops. Have they never heard of this thing called BEER! But hands down, the winner of all winners... The one that got us all scratching our heads was simply identified as "grass clippings". And, yes, it was a lovely shade of green. There are no words to describe this experience. And, as a judge, I always tried to find some words of encouragement for the creators of what we were tasting. After all, many a successful winemaker began in his or her garage or basement. But this one? Sometimes "No! Never! and What were you thinking!" just isn't strong enough.

So I ask you... What is the weirdest "wine" you have ever had? I've shared a few of mine, so let me know yours. As always, I look forward to your comments. And now that I can't shake that green beverage from my mind, I think I'll skip a real review this time.



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