Monday, January 4, 2010


I don't know anything about wine. Well, that's not true. I know very, very, very little about wine. The realization of how much I don't know led me to read the wikipedia entry for "Wine". This, in turn, opened up a whole new can of worms. Not only is there a vast amount to know on the science of grape growing and wine making, but there are the different varieties of grapes, different growing regions in the world, history of those regions, history of individual wineries and estates, etc. Basically, there's a lot to learn.

In no way am I going to turn this into a wine blog. However, I do think it will be interesting to intersperse the food posts with updates on my wine education.

I'm currently reading "Windows On The World: A Complete Wine Course" by Kevin Zraly. It is his 'textbook' on wine; an overview of the different grapes, growers, and types of wine.

Also, I recently tasted my first wine. Now, when I say tasted, I mean really tasted. Not, "Would you like to try a sip?", but nose-in-the-glass-swirl-it-around-pretend-to-look-cultured tasted. And you know what? It wasn't half bad.

It was a red wine, a Malbec (my fathers new favorite). Malbec is a variety of purple grape that originated in France. However, in the 1850's, Malbec clippings were brought to Argentina, where the vines flourished. It has become the "national wine" of Argentina.

Malbec's are known for their "complex aromas including ripe plums, blackberries, blueberries, sweet tar, black pepper, mint, and hint of mocha." First, what the hell does "sweet tar" smell or taste like? Second, why is that a redeeming quality in wine?

This Malbec was a 2008 from the Dona Paula Estate in Mendoza, Argentina. It retails for around $15 a bottle. From the list above, I completely agree with the aroma of black pepper. Berries? Not so much. Mocha? Absolutely not. Mint? Wtf. What I found most interesting was the way wine develops. The first sip is pretty much a primer. During the second sip, things start to get real. By the third, I could actually start tasting the nuances and "tannins" (the technical term for the chemicals that carry flavor).

As far as drinking is concerned, the wine goes down smoothly, and is a bit warming. I'm sure as I taste more wine my descriptors will get better, but for now my points of comparison are Keystone Light beer (4% alcohol) and shots of Bacardi 151 (a throat scalding 80% alcohol).

Overall Impression: Pretty good, can see how it would pair well with meat, although I wish I could have tasted blackberries, or at the very least some sweet tar

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