Well, people ask me about it. No, really! I don’t know why? Do you think it’s because it is featured a lot here?
We have been to numerous, dare I say hundreds, of wine tastings over the years. We have also been to numerous wineries and vineyards. As a result of these experiences, I can say without fear of contradiction that I can recognize at the single glance the difference between a red wine and a white wine. That does come with experience.
Nevertheless, I am not a wine snob. Being a wine snob requires work and study. I am not necessarily fond of either. I enjoy tasting wine. But the next day I’d be hard pressed to remember the names of the wines I tasted. For the most part I usually prefer to try something new.
There is no such thing as the “right” wine or the “best” wine. As in everything else in life, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. If you like anti-snob, less expensive bottles of wine, good for you! It’s all a matter of personal taste. Coke . . . or Pepsi? You decide.
I can recommend . . . because I have opinions. It’s nice if they’re valued, but they don’t have to be. The super and I have a strong preference for dry red wines. I like them to be so dry as to be dusty. Some people don’t. I like Lady Gaga, some people . . . well, everybody should like Lady Gaga.
In the dry red family, my (and usually the super’s) favorites will be in this order: Malbec, Zinfandel, and Cabernet Sauvignon. I certainly understand that others are more likely to appreciate Merlot or Pinot Noir or Burgundy or . . . there are many.
We similarly prefer dry, and usually light, in the white wines. Something to drink in the summer. We discovered New Age a couple years ago – a light white, only 9% alcohol, that you drink over ice with a slice of lime. Refreshing for those hot, humid days. But our general whites will be Sauvignon Blancs, Semillons, Pinot Grigios, and Chardonnays. If you like your wines a little sweeter, Rieslings, Gewurtztraminers, and Muscats will rule the day.
[Not a white wine . . . but apparently helpful in singing the National Anthem at girls’ hockey games.]
[Scarlett Johansson treasures her Champagne.]
And the ultimate whites will always rule the day. Whom amongst us does not love Champagne? But the master of all, the nectar of the gods, are the Sauternes. The latter are really hard to find, often sold in half bottles, and are normally beyond the pocketbook of the sane shopper. Made of Nobel Rot, they are a very sweet wine, designed to be sipped as an aperitif, not be spoiled by, horrors, thinking of something to eat with them. A drink to be savored, and treasured, solely on its own. If you’re feeling a little flush, and can find a half bottle in the $30.00 range, go for it!
[The incredible edible Sauterne.]
Of course we have our favorites. Within the last year, I believe, we discovered what has become my all-time favorite at a wine tasting at our very own SAWA. We remarked at the time that it just jumped out at us – clearly the best wine of the tasting. We buy it often now. It’s about a quarter again more expensive than your average priced dinner wines, but we’re getting too old not to enjoy what we really like. It’s Don David, a Malbec from Argentina. It’s a totally well-rounded full-bodied red that I like more than wines I’ve tasted at more than twice its price. I would recommend it to anyone without hesitation.
Minnesota, hail to thee! Locally, we have Carlos Creek Winery, which has been honored by some as the best winery in the state. But, I hear you say, the state is Minnesota? That’s true, and Carlos Creek would not be able to compete with the big worldwide wineries using the standard wine grapes. Carlos Creek can, however, compete with Minnesota “invented” grapes. The University of Minnesota has now produced several varietals that can survive the rigors of a Minnesota winter. So, for example, Carlos Creek can grow in its own vineyard the Marquette grape . . . and then make a wine from that grape that’s being made at not a lot of other wineries, at least so far. And from that grape the winery has produced Marquette wine, that I would stack up against any of the other reds I’ve mention herein.
[More Minnesota grape wines from Carlos Creek.]
Wine is meant to be enjoyed with friends, with food, with music. It probably should not be used to start your lawn mower, to wash the cat, or to clean your computer keyboard.
Associated Press ranked the Top 10 Rivalry Trophies in College Football and Gophers play for the Top 3!!
1. Paul Bunyan’s Axe (Minnesota-Wisconsin game)
2. Floyd of Rosedale (Iowa-Minnesota)
3. Little Brown Jug (Minnesota-Michigan)
“They are shooting at our regiment,” a friend remarked.
The beckoning New Longevity, so ardently hyped by Big Pharma and orthopedic quacks, has no allure for me. I can’t see myself among those burnished, glossified AARP oldsters bicycling around artificial “water features” in cookie-cutter communities in or around South Carolina. I refuse to keep my brain “young” with “fitness software” from outfits like Lumosity.com. I’m planning to be old and cranky, the sooner the better.
I’ll tell you what doesn’t flow from death-awareness: My definition of wasting time has changed. I don’t see staring into space, riding my bike or binge-watching some DVDs as a waste of time. I have friends who play a lot of Solitaire on their laptops and complain about it constantly: “Oh, I’m wasting time.” Really? If Solitaire relaxes you, then relax. It’s your time now. Spend it as you like.