I have a wine tattoo

Some would call me gross for having the word “rot” on my foot.

Contrary to what you might think, my tattoo doesn’t have to do with my podiatric hygiene, but my love of dessert wine. If I had to be stuck on a desert island with a bottle of wine, it would be Sauternes. I adore Sauternes: the viscous texture, the full sweetness, the sometimes earthy aftertaste. I love the heady fragrance and the golden color. To me, a small glass of Sauternes is the perfect nightcap. Actually, it’s good anytime. I’ve had it with steak.

What makes Sauternes and other late harvest wines so delicious is Botrytis cinerea, fancyspeak for Noble rot. I won’t get into all the details, but the basic gist is that Noble rot is a fungus that makes amazing dessert wines (aside from Sauternes, many late harvest wines are also affected by Botrytis cinerea). When I first heard the term Noble rot, I was instantly in love with the word play. Here we have two words with opposite associations – noble being grand and queenly, rot being, well, rotten – used to describe something that looks nasty but makes wine actually taste good. The humor in all of it delighted me almost as much as a glass of Sauternes.

These grapes are affected by noble rotI also like that Noble rot captures something good coming out of something that seems bad. While I really don’t believe everything happens for a reason (and I’d have to punch myself in the face if I did), I dig the idea of a situation not always being as dire as it seems. With this in mind, on one very rainy day I headed over to 3 Kings Tattoo to brand myself with a wine term.

The tattoo artist asked if I was nervous, which I very willingly professed that I was, but fortunately he was not only kind but swift, and the whole tattoo took just five minutes. I was left with a mantra, a conversation piece, and a visible guide for anyone who wants to buy me wine. Hint, hint.

Seriously, though. Please send me wine:

Aliza Kellerman
VinePair
115 West 18th Street
New York, NY 10011