If you happen to dwell in the land of hard copy, check out the current issue of Salt Lake Magazine. Whilst neglecting Basic Juice in cyberspace, I have been nurturing it in the world of print. Alas, I am still struggling to multitask.
For those who eschew paper, have a look at the extended, ‘Author’s Cut’ of the article below the fold.
This I Sip
Chances are you’ve read many a wine article wherein the author recommends a particular bottle or two. What exactly does one do with such recommendations? Do you accept them on blind faith, dutifully seek out said bottles and schlep them home? Of course you do! We all do. Everyone trusts and accepts expert opinions on all manner of topics – movies, restaurants, music and, of course, wine. However, there comes a time when one realizes that expert opinions on matters of taste, are essentially just that – opinions. For example, recall the last time you sat through a painfully bad, critic-recommended film and thought, “I’ll never follow that guy’s advice again.” Experts and critics may know more about their specialty than you, but your tastes may be dramatically different. Taste, particularly when it comes to wine, is exceedingly personal. An expert may guide you in a general direction, but the final arbiter of taste, is you and your palate. The take home message is this: It pays to know a wine critic’s palate before plunking down 10/20/30 bucks for a bottle you may very well despise.
Over the coming months, I will recommend hundreds of wines in this space. Some you will adore, others may be consigned to the dubious category of “cooking wine.” However, I will always do my best to explain what I like about a particular wine. I will open my mouth – as it were – and attempt to expose every nook and cranny of my wine palate. I don’t expect readers to employ oeno-faith and blindly follow my recommendations. Rather, at some point, I hope our tastes connect and a wine idea put forth in this column, yields exciting discovery and fond memories. So, in lieu of a personal introduction, allow me to introduce my wine palate, in two parts. This, I sip – the whites.
It’s An Acquired Taste – Everyone has that one beloved specialty food that makes others cringe (Think: Kipper snacks, Brussels sprouts or Vienna sausages). “It’s an acquired taste.” You say. I love dry Sherry. It’s wonderfully weird wine – slightly nutty, aggressively tangy, delightfully funky and very much an acquired taste. My favorite Sherry combo is utterly simple: An Amontillado Sherry (Lustau Los Arcos Amontillado, $18) with oven-roasted almonds is a fiesta of out-of-the-ordinary flavors. If you’re the type who relishes the challenge of acquiring tastes, give Sherry a try.
Cheap and Cheerful – Let’s face it; acquiring taste is demanding work. Occasionally, I long for something uncomplicated. Wine doesn’t need to be complicated. There are plenty of good, simple wines. When I would rather sip than ponder, I go for budget-priced Austrian Grüner Veltliner (Berger Grüner Veltliner 2005, $12). This wine is simple, refreshing and exceedingly flexible with food. Budget Grüner compliments almost any entrée exiting the oven or flying off the stovetop. Cheap and cheerful wines like this don’t catalyze any epiphanies. Rather, they cause one simply to remark, “That’s good.”
I’m Feeling Naughty – Admit it. Every so often you yearn to do something off-the-wall – something naughty. Of course, following through on such impulses can lead to a heap of trouble. When I yearn for naughtiness, I grab a bottle of decadent Alsatian Gewurztraminer (Domaine Weinbach Cuvee Laurence, $40). Gewurz-based wine has a tendency to grab one’s schnozz and hypnotize with scents of lychee, apricot, mango and honeysuckle. The talented vintners in Alsace often introduce a layer of naughty to this decadent wine by incorporating a small portion of overripe grapes into the cuvée. The result is wine with an added scent dimension best described as earthy (or dirty). The indulgence doesn’t end here. These wines possess a very thick & cheek-coating mouthfeel. Indeed, drinking such wine feels a little bit naughty. Try Gewurztraminer with salmon sashimi and commit an indulgent act of gastronomy.
Other White Palate Pleasers
Acquiring That Taste: Aveleda Vinho Verde NV, $8; Lopez de Heredia Vina Gravonia Crianza 1995, $25; Feudo Arancio Grillo Sicilia 2005, $9
Cheap and Cheerful: Saint M Riesling 2005, $10; Segura de Viudas Brut Cava, $9; Santa Julia Torrontes 2006, $7
Naughty, Naughty: Kalin Cellars Chardonnay Cuvee LD 1995, $33; Twisted Oak Viognier, $26; Pine Ridge Chenin Viognier 2006, $12
Coming in Part II, I introduce a few of my preferred, palate-pleasing red wines.
The Reds coming in Part 2
Business in the Front, Party in the Back
I Lost 2 Pounds! Let’s Gain it Back
My Imaginary Smoking Jacket
Comments/Questions: Email Beau at firstname.lastname@example.org
Find more wine ideas at basicjuice.blogs.com