Lots going on, folks.
Thanks to all who wished the Chef and me well last month on the anniversary of our wedding.
On a similar note, best wishes to Scott and Jill on their nuptials last weekend. Such a beautiful party.
And, of course, there's the wine goings on. Much to do here in Northeast Ohio, especially this weekend. If you felt let down by the Tribe's oh-so-typical performance this year, you can return to Jacobs Field in Cleveland this weekend, Nov. 2-4, for a much happier occasion. It's the Heinen's/WVIZ World Series of Wine , a perennial joy for wine novices and aficionados alike. It really doesn't get much better than the grand tastings ($70-$75 a person; purchase tickets in advance). More than 400 wines, 100-plus producers, stellar munchies, unparalleled people watching. You'll find lots of opportunities to speak with winery and distributor representatives to get the real dirt on what you're tasting.
It's hard not to over imbibe with so many wines to try, so take a cab or a limo or book a hotel room. Some downtown Cleveland hotels are offering packages specifically for the occasion.
This is easily the biggest wine event of the year for Northeast Ohio. Oh, and it benefits public broadcasting, as if you needed another reason to go.
Who doesn't like SPAM with their greens? Vineyard Spam Salad.
Quotable: "Connoisseur, n. A specialist who knows everything about something and nothing about anything else." - Ambrose Bierce, The Devil's Dictionary
Caberiffic: Delectus 2001 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon Stanton Vineyard Oakville ($50). Tobacco, mushroom, black cherry, plum. Decant, my friends, decant.
Splurge worthy: Philip Togni Vineyard 2003 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon (online prices vary widely, between $80 and $150). Blackberry, dusty chocolate, plum, great acid on the back end.
Tags: wine, marketing, quotes, cabernet sauvignon, recipes
At 26, she was named the youngest female master sommelier. Now, at 29, she's director of wine and spirits for Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises. Smart girl. And she champions the women-and-wine cause. I like that.
And there she is in today's Chicago Sun Times offering us a little taste of her wine savvy. I'm fond of this one in particular: Many good wines are meant to be drunk young. "Otherwise, while you're patiently waiting for 'Mr. Right,' you may inadvertently be letting 'Mr. Right Now' get away."
I'll throw in my own girly wisdom: Wine and shoes have a lot in common. You have the $300 Stuart Weitzmans stashed away in a cloth bag in an air-tight box in the back of your closet. And then there's the everyday, comfy-as-hell boots you throw on without a second thought, but can't imagine living without. Those dress-up wines you've got buried in your cellar, they're nice, but it's the week-night, lasagna-and-garlic-bread bottle that gets you through the week.
Tags: wine, sommeliers
Paris was unveiled this weekend as the new face of Rich, a prosecco product packaged in a gold-colored can. The novelty is already losing its sparkle. Italian winemakers are insulted that the producer of Rich would circumvent the law that says Italian wine must be sold in bottles. Rich is not being sold in Italy, but rather in countries like Britain and Switzerland.
Then, of course, there's the whole bit about Paris' pesky DUI. Road safety advocates in Italy are molto irritated that these ads feature the party girl despite her less-than-stellar driving record.
But it's all worth it, isn't it? I mean, when I think of a vacuous product in pretty packaging, I think of Paris, too.
OK, so this weekly feature hasn't been so weekly lately. Frankly, I haven't been all that snappy with the posts, either.
Like any passion (cross-stitch, anyone?), wine has a habit of getting lost in the shuffle when the stampede of daily life comes barreling through. We've been painting our office, landscaping, working, entertaining. It's a tough job, but someone's got to do it.
But how do you pick up with your passion once you find the time again?
How do you get inspired? How do you find the energy?
If wine is your cup of tea, er, juice, you go to the store. That's right, when the going gets tough, the tough go shopping. Even if you have a cellar full of drinkable bottles, shelf browsing can be quality time. There's nothing like a few hundred brand new, shiny bottles lined up like soldiers to remind you that there's a world of wine out there - and that what you've tasted wouldn't fill a bucket.
Something to try at every turn. Single-varietal gamay, beerenauslese, pinot blanc from Sonoma, muscat, ripasso, Douro, Kongsgaard, vernaccia.
I'm excited already.
But that's what winemakers are doing. They're fighting for our taste buds and our minds. And in the quest for our minds, New Worlders are winning. Why? In a word: marketing.
And that's where Old Worlders have fallen behind. For too long, they didn't play the game. They didn't embrace the global marketplace with a big, wide bear hug. They didn't think they needed to. They were wrong.
I get this.
People want at-a-glance labels, suggested pairings, critters, playful names and specified grapes. They don't want micro appellations, regular-size appellations or any appellation, for that matter. They want wine. Just wine. So many people don't really care where it comes from or about the traditions and geography behind it.
The German wine industry has taken this so much to heart that it's changing the name of one of its wine regions (they've done this before). The Mosel-Saar-Ruwer appellation will most likely become Mosel. Why? Because it's easier to say and remember. For who, you ask? Not the Germans, I'm guessing.
And this is where I get off the bus.
I fear this rush to make wine look the same on the outside will ultimately homogenize what's on the inside. And I don't think I'm far off this one. If wine drinkers have become so lazy that they can't be bothered to know that Chianti is made from the sangiovese grape, why should their taste buds be bothered to know the difference between quality and plonk or even red from white?
I know, I know. We're busy. We have far too many things floating around in our heads already. We shouldn't have to know that Sancerre is sauvignon blanc to be able to enjoy wine. But that's the thing. You don't need to know that. All you need to do is try it. Most people don't wonder what's in their beer or how their Jack Daniels was made. It's just something we drink; it's part of our culture - the way wine is a part of so many other cultures.
I'm all for demystifying wine, but for me, that's done in the mouth. The idea that generic labels will help the average consumer enjoy wine more is something that's being perpetuated by the very people who made it intimidating in the first place: marketers.
Categories: wine, marketing, wine labels
Ann at A Chicken in Every Granny Cart has tagged me with my very first meme, started by Melissa at A Traveler's Lunchbox. She's calling all bloggers to share Five Things to Eat Before You Die.
It's a pretty sweet idea, and I never turn down dessert, so here goes:
1. Carne cruda. Preferably Piedmontese beef. Preferably eaten in Barolo. Preferably with shaved truffles on top. But what is it? Literally, it's finely chopped raw beef dressed in lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper. Principally, it's heaven.
2. Portillo's all-beef hot dog with everything (mustard, relish, onions, sliced tomato, kosher pickle and celery salt on a poppy seed bun). Mmmm. Sweet home, Chicago.
3. Rabbit rillette from Bouchon in Napa. Rillette is meat that's slow-cooked in fat until it's creamy and rich. It's served cold, often from a ramekin, and Bouchon pairs it with crostini and fig paste.
4. My husband's butternut-squash bisque. He gives the recipe out freely because he knows once someone takes a look at the list of ingredients, they'll never try it on their own. It's smooth and satisfying. A few crumbles of blue cheese on top cut the sweetness. My ultimate comfort food.
5. Kifli, the triangle-shaped cookies my mom makes about once every five years at Christmas if I beg. They're labor intensive, so I don't blame her for being so stingy, but the flaky crispness and almond-paste inside say holidays to me.
Now it's my turn to tag:
Edward at Wino Sapien
The good doctor at Doktor Weingolb
JD at Walk the Wine
Jeff at Good Grape
Genevelyn at Genevelyn Steeles Swallows
Go to it.
Categories: memes, food, restaurants