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Monday, September 22, 2008

Are you a wine-o?

I think we all know what wine is...fermented grape juice. It's such a simple concept, really, but in reality, wine is so complex.

I don't think there's enough space here to go over every aspect of wine, and quite honestly, I'm the last person to give a wine class. My knowledge of wine is limited to my consumption...which I guess can be considered quite vast(if only based on consumption!). Truth is, I love wine. I love pairing it with different foods, I love drinking it on its own. I even love learning about it. I can see, however, that wine drinking could seem daunting to many people.

I hear and read about a wine's tastes..."possesses that liquid minerality that denotes a great terroir, along with a tremendously sweet liqueur of black currants and cherries intermixed with melted licorice and spice box. Dense and full-bodied yet remarkably elegant and delineated, this is a stunning achievement for the 2002 vintage."

This is Robert Parker's description of the above pictured Chateau Pavie from St. Emilion in Bordeaux. 'Sweet liqueur of black currants and cherries intermixed with melted licorice and spice box.'? We drank this at French Laundry, and I remember none of that. All I remember is that this wine was good!

Truth be told, I am far enough along to know a few things, but when I'm eating a great dinner, the last thing I'm looking for is hints of creme de cassis in my wine. I'm still not certain what creme de cassis is, much less what it tastes like.

That, though, is the great thing about wine. You can drink it and enjoy it; but if you choose, you could spend a lifetime mastering it. You could learn about the infinite varietals, like cabernet sauvignon, cabernet frank, viogner, marsanne, merlot...to name a few. You can learn about terroir, which is the piece of dirt and the climate the vines grow on. You can learn about the 5 classes of Bordeaux, or about the difference between Left Bank and Right. You can argue why LaTour is a First Class while Pontet Canet a Fifth Class, even though they're spitting distance away from each other. Or...you can just enjoy a few different varietals with dinner amongst friends, and judge which wine goes with which dish.

We at Fooddigger have had many a wine pairing since the idea of our site was born. The best meals have been the ones where the conversation bloomed from the pairings. Wine is a beautiful thing...something that is close to our hearts. We've even created a Fooddigger wine pairings card with a tip chart on the other side as a giveaway to help people with food pairings, and with the tipping in case you're too drunk from the wine. If you'd like one, let us know and we'll see if we can get one to you. Otherwise, grab yourself a glass of pinot noir and pair it with an aged Gouda.


H. C. said...

I love wine too but by no means an expert. If I don't take any notes, I'll just remember wines on the yummy to yucky spectrum (rarely the latter unless it's something out of a jug or if the bottle's corked).

Speaking of which, there's a terroir wine/cheese/chocolate event going on this Friday: http://www.fancifullgiftbaskets.com/winetaste.php

I am fairly certain I'll be checking this out ;) Seems like a great learning opp too since a master sommelier will be presenting, and it's only $10 a person

Anonymous said...

You are so correct. The other night I opened an Opus One 1994 I had been saving ... and was a bit disappointed. On the 100 point scale, I gave it an 85 (which was a tad generous). A lot of "trophy wines" are overrated. Some say the 1994 is approaching the end of its life, but no --- the wine was fresh. Who knows? http://www.AWineStory.com.

FoodDigger said...

Hey H.C. Thanks for the comment. I've had my share of yucky wines...but when I find that great one, all of the bad memories disappear! I just got a case of this Tempranillo...only $8 a bottle and really good!

Thanks for the info on the event. That sounds amazing!

FoodDigger said...

Hi Marisa. Thank you for your comment. It's too bad that bottle of '94 Opus One didn't wow you. The drinking window goes to about 2017, right? Still, it should have drank well. Better luck on the next bottle!

glutster said...

...can't say much yet, at least not in this country , still 19 (damn puritans!).

But when I was in Buenos Aires...Malbecs and Grass Beef...ah, the beauty of life.

By the way, looking forward to Thursday!

FoodDigger said...

That sounds like a combo made in heaven. We'll definitely have to explore some pairings on Thursday. See you then!