I've written a few times about blind wine tastings and wine tasting protocol. Someone asked me if I drank all my wine that way; see, swirl, smell, sip and savor — or spit it out. My answer is no, because the wines I drink on a regular basis don't need a thoughtful analysis every time I drink them. They are simply enjoyed. Tasting wine is for those who want to make new discoveries in a wine drinking experience.
If you are going to drink just one wine at a summer evening meal, make it one of the many good types of bubbly I have mentioned in previous articles. If you are looking for a different kind of bubbly, look to Germany for a very drinkable treat. During a recent visit to Faribault, Minn, I stopped in a local Haskell's and got in on a tasting of a never before tasted sparkler — Schloss Nicholas from Germany. This is a non-vintage sparkler that was delightfully refreshing on the hot afternoon when tasted. The taste led to purchasing 2 bottles — on sale at $10.99.
With the possible exception of Thomas Jefferson who liked just still wine — no bubbles — I think I'd be safe in saying that probably 99 percent of the wine drinking population today loves their sparkling wines: Champagne, Prosecco, Cava, and when you can get it, Sekt. Each of these sparkling wines comes attached to a country: Champagne, exclusively from Champagne, France; Prosecco from Italy; Cava from France; and Sekt from Germany.
The best, most explosive pop I've ever heard recently came from a bottle of Champagne, specifically a Charles Heidsieck Brut Reserve Champagne. The bottle was properly chilled, and upon removing the muffler (wire cage over the cork) and draping a towel over the cork to begin a twist, the pressure within literally popped my toweled hand away from the bottle.
Sherry wine is perhaps the most underappreciated wines to pair with food. While I have never tried it with my wine class students, a review of the literature claims that it is being discovered by the younger generation — the millennials — because of the wide offerings in styles and flavors.
Would "two glasses of red wine with dinner, three or four beers after, followed by two shots of vodka" every day for decades be considered moderation? Not according to the physician giving an 83-year-old patient his physical. Moderation means to have enough wine to enjoy with company of family or friends. Drinking wine to solve problems will not work any better than drinking water or milk will. Ask yourself then, why is it you drink wine?
FARGO — My wine aficionados got together with us to sample some wines from eight different locations around the world. The wineries were mostly new to us, and certainly some of the wines we sampled were a new experience as well. The wines came from wineries in Argentina, Chile, Italy, Napa California and Spain. We had simple finger food to go along with the tasting: A couple of different hard cheeses, tasty spreads, along with a selection of fresh veggies and fruits.
Hold the next glass of wine in your hand and contemplate for a moment how this wine came about. Certainly not by wishful thinking, but by careful planning and hard work, including hand labor using basic pruning tools to get the vines in the best possible shape to produce a marketable crop. This works well with small vineyards of just a few acres, but with larger vineyards that are typical of the ones in western states, especially California, modern technology is coming into use more often.
FARGO — I just ordered a pound of "Black Insomnia Coffee" — stuff that is supposed to take care of your caffeine fix with just one cup. Caffeine, like alcohol, is a drug mankind has had a long association with. Nature created them to kill creatures much smaller than us; caffeine to kill insect predators, and ethanol to kill competitive microbes.
FARGO — Thomas Jefferson was perhaps one of the first to say moderate wine consumption is good for one's health, and he certainly credited it to his longevity of 83 years in a time when the average life expectancy was 36. He also attributed his long and productive life to regular exercise and a generous diet of vegetables and fruits. Nice thoughts about wine being a part of a three-legged stool for a long life, but is there any science behind it? Rest easy. There is support for Jefferson's claim.