Today I’m happy to announce we have a guest post from author Nicky Wells. “Sophie’s Turn” is a charming novel about a woman who has to make a choice when she runs into the rock star she fell hard for – and he’s interested in starting things up. The juxtaposition of Sophie’s rock and roll days with her new life, and the turmoil she feels seeing Tuscq perform again, makes for an exciting story that will make readers nostalgic for what could’ve been.

Without further ado, I turn it over to Nicky!

Sophie’s Turn goes Wine-Tasting 101

I don’t know much about wine, other than I like drinking it. Sophie, the eponymous heroine of my debut novel, Sophie’s Turn, and her best friend Rachel love drinking it, too. In fact, Rachel probably knows most about wine amongst the three of us, and she’s always trying to elevate us from our philistine existence.

Recently, she took us to a wine tasting at a local wine shop. We don’t live near a vineyard, you understand, but the local wine shop does tastings quite regularly. It’s not actually a shop, it’s more a wine warehouse, and they sell most wines under the sun.

So there we are, Sophie, Rachel and me, at this wine tasting. Sophie and I simply want to make a beeline for a nice-looking white, but Rachel holds us back. “Why do you think that looks nice?” she wants to know. Sophie and I look at each other, blankly.

“Uhm,” I venture, “Because it’s nice and clear.” Realizing that that sounds incredibly stupid, I hasten to qualify the judgement. “Not clear, as such. It looks… light. Almost see-through. Like water, but just with a touch of green in it. Clean.”

Rachel nods her head knowingly. “All good descriptions. And why do you go for this wine, in particular?”  Sophie pipes up. “It’s lovely and fresh and it makes the inside of my cheeks tingle.” I nod my head in confirmation. Yup, that gets it.

“Ah,” Rachel pounces. “So there is method to your madness. You like dry, crisp white wines. That’s cool. But,” she turns and sweeps a glass off the table. “How about this one?”

Sophie and I regard the liquid dubiously. It looks golden, quite inviting, in fact, but heavy. As Rachel swirls the glass gently, the wine leaves long, oily looking dribbles clinging to the side. I know that that means something, but what, I’m not sure. I shake my head. “Nah, I probably won’t like that one.”

“Probably,” Rachel reiterates, then prompts. “Why not?”

“Dunno,” I mumble embarrassed.

“Try it,” Rachel suggests. Obediently I try. Yuck.

Ok, yuck is probably too strong a word. This is probably a really expensive wine, it’s just not for me.

“Why not?” Rachel wants to know, seeing my face. Sophie isn’t faring much better, judging by the look on her face.  “For a start,” she splutters, “This stuff is so sweet, it makes me want to gag.”

“Absolutely,” I agree. “Sweet. And it tastes… I don’t know, it tastes like the inside of a barrel.”

Rachel is in stitches on the floor. “Of course it tastes like the inside of a barrel,” she gasps in between bursts of laughter. “Where do you think wine is made?” Her mirth, even though directed at us, is infectious, and within seconds, we are all giggling.

“The taste,” Rachel starts when she has recovered herself, “The taste is oak. This is an oaked wine. It sounds like you prefer un-oaked.”

An oaked? “Oh no, I don’t,” I object instantly. “I don’t like an oaked wine. I like un-oaked.” This statement is met with stunned silence, before Sophie erupts in giggles again.  “An oaked wine,” she chortles. “Un-oaked wine. You crack me up!”

At this stage, the shop attendant, who fancies himself as sommelier for the night, steps in and asks us kindly but very firmly to leave. “This is a wine-tasting,” he informs us gravely. “Not a binge drinking event. Now out!”

Speechless at his lack of grace or understanding, we turn as one and flee. We make it out the door and round the corner before collapsing into a three-fold heap of hysterical laughter. What a disaster! Still, I take away an important lesson. My random criteria for selecting wine aren’t as random as I thought. Colour and hue are totally valid pointers to what I like. I just didn’t know about it. A big thanks to Rachel for her attempts at educating me. One of these days, we’ll find out about red wine, too….

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