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How Not To Enjoy Wine


DonRocks
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If my memory serves me correctly, vignerons in the Dordogne tell of an episode of The Simpsons (ep 4F19, Homer vs. The Eighteenth Amendment). They say that in the episode Prohibition is passed in Springfield and an industrious citizen named Homer took to bootlegging to supply the town with alcohol. Among his concoctions were "Bathtub gin", "Bathtub Mint Julep", and "Bathtub 40 Year Old Scotch". So remember this phrase when reading the article: You can't make 40-year-old Scotch in a bathtub over the course of a 24 minute cartoon.

Offtopic Stage Aside: Why didn't they just go drink in Shelbyville? Allez Cuisine. :)

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Just what we need - more technically-correct yet soulless wine.

I'm sure the megalithic wine corporations (Constellation, BRL Hardy, et. al.) are trembling with anticipation.

I swear, we need more descriptive adjectives for those sorts of products. How about "The Stepford Wines"?

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There was a hilarious episode of Northern Exposure when one of the characters dropped the bottle of well-aged Ducru-Beaucaillou that Maurice was going to serve at his banquet. Eve, the wife of the hermit chef Adam, concocted an ersatz bordeaux out of various ingredients according to the taste profile. At one point she sticks her finger in, tastes, and says something like, "Needs more peat moss!"

Naturally, Maurice waxed poetic about how it was the best bottle of his favorite wine that he'd ever had.

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Mmmm. Yes, the world certainly needs more wine with all the variance and flavor of mass produced American Pilsner. In theory, it might work very well to "improve" mass produced jug wine, but it turns the vinter's art into production chemical engineering, which is very much what happens at the mega-breweries. And does your average jug wine drinker actually want subtle flavors in their plonk?

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It is not hard to believe that a computer program could easily provide a way to improve your Parker or Wine Spectator score. These are single parameter scores that, if htey have any validity at all, are related to underlying factors actually present in the wine. However that is not what "quality" is in a difuse, multi faceted product.

In opera, I can say that I like Puccini over Verde, yet there are Verdi opera that are better tham Puccini. There are dull moments (flaws) in Wagner's Ring Cycle yet it is one of the great musical works in history. How do you assign a single number score to something like an opera or a wine. One number cannot hope to capture the complexity.

With the rise of the critics in wine, the range of wine styles commonly available are narrowing and thats a pity. It is not wether a particular style is valid. That is for you to decide. But there are far fewer (as a % of total wine produced) wines in eccentric styles today. Same thing with the rise of the dominant movie critics. Its market driven and all our lamentations will mean nothing until the consumer stops responding to the critics the way they are currently doing.

SInce wine making is a great place for dreamers and iconoclasts, there is still a great amount of idiosyncratic wine for me to enjoy. But they are occupying a smaller and smaller percentage of the wine that gets sold.

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And consider the idea that you should drink what you like. I read (someplace) that Princess Diana drank Sauternes all the time. Now, most of us consider this a dessert wine. And, I had more than one Thanksgiving dinner RUINED by the "champagne" served, which turned out to be Asti Spumante. Yecccchhh.

Drink what you like: this gets complicated. Most of the time, I stumble upon really nice compliments to the food and consider myself lucky. How many of us have the time (not to mention money) to really educate ourselves on this matter? I'm just happy to find affordable wines which go very well with certain foods. For example, at the August Restaurant Week, we joined a group on this board at Corduroy. Somebody in the group pointed us to a particular Reisling, which we bought. Fine. Then, at the HH at Corduory for Laniloa's going-away, Jparrot was picking out the wines for most of the group and he chose another Reisling. This stuff was just wonderful. AND it was $10 CHEAPER than the other stuff. It turned out to be a perfect match for the pork belly. WHO KNEW?

I went to Calvert Woodley this afternoon to find wine for the various meals coming this weekend. I'm going to fix rack of lamb for NYE, but also wanted to pick up my favorite Argentian Malbec. There was also a Pinot Noir by the same maker. So I asked the guy who seemed to want to help me. He declared that this particular bottle would be just perfect with the lamb. We'll see. But, I bought 4 bottles of different kinds of wine and spent about $40. I can live with this. However, $40 is just about the MINIMUM one can spend for a single bottle of wine at a decent restaurant.

What to do, what to do?

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However, $40 is just about the MINIMUM one can spend for a single bottle of wine at a decent restaurant.

What to do, what to do?

There are several restaurants in town, several that participate here on the board, that don't feel it right that a customer spends 3 times retail or more to enjoy a bottle of wine. My list features many a bottle, dozend, under $40 that I would say are quite wonderful.

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At least Adria is trying to create something different, rather than use "science" to essentially copy something else that can already be done better the old fashioned way.

Fair point. But my experiences with some of his acolytes (never at EB) make me skeptical culinary of technocrats. Their cooking too often seems to lack soul, as I expect their wine would.

On another note, the Francophile in me would like to bring up the concept of terroir, nod to it, and then unleash a Gallic sneer at the concept of ever re-creating terroir in the lab.

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On another note, the Francophile in me would like to bring up the concept of terroir, nod to it, and then unleash a Gallic sneer at the concept of ever re-creating terroir in the lab.

Perhaps not terroir , but I believe you could use a lab to create a fair approximation of terrier in your bottle of wine.

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Tanaka claims to have perfected a machine that can transform a bottle of just-fermented Beaujolais Nouveau into a fine, mellow wine in seconds, all by zapping it with a few volts of electricity.
Oh goody an aged Beaujolais Nouveau, next thing they will bring us is a well age can of Coors Light. Edited by Sthitch
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After I perfect my own race of atomic supermen for world domination, I plan upon creating a machine to send wine into the future to age it and then retrieve it in it's newly aged state. :lol:

It is incumbent on the Bush administration to not allow us to fall behind in accelerated wine aging technology. We cannot allow a WAT gap with the Japanese! The race is on!

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