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Ice wine harvest endangered!

Up to now I’ve been somewhat agnostic on the causes of global warming, but this news has decided the issue for me. Something must be done! Apparently the late frost up north this year has imperiled the frozen grape harvest that produces ice wines.

Now, if you’re not familiar with these lovely offerings, you can read all about them here. Or you can just rely on my unscientific summary, which is as follows: certain grapes are allowed to freeze on the vine, then are harvested and made into sweet wines. They’re pricey, but they come in small bottles and you’re supposed to sip rather than swill them, so the occasional splurge (dinner for the boss, entertaining George Clooney, intentionally pissing off your mother-in-law with your spendthrift ways) is okay. They can be drunk with dinner or dessert, but I like them paired with cheeses. Think special appetizers or a cheese course between the meal and the dessert. Or, if you’re entertaining non-sweet eaters, this is the perfect thing to serve in place of dessert.

Pairing ice wine with food can be tricky, but the good folks at Inniskillin Winery have gone to great trouble to lay it all out for you. If you’ve never tried it, don’t be put off by the sweetness of the wine — it’s the perfect counterbalance to cheeses, from mild to stinky. Trust me, you’ll never ruin a perfectly good gorgonzola with a glass of Cabernet again.

“Bubble by Bubble”

Leggy blondes courtesy of The Wall Street Journal

Today’s Wall Street Journal features a lengthy and informative article on Champagne, mostly the good stuff. It’s written by the always informative and eminently readable Lettie Teague. If you don’t subscribe, I think you can read it online. Or just gaze longingly at the lovely photos until the sun goes down and you can decently pop a cork. A word of advice: for your own sake and the sake of the children, skip the Tiger Mother article also in today’s paper. No good can come of it.

Time to make the Christmas Eve pot pie and snow pudding! Party on, readers!

Le Beaujolais Nouveau est arrivé! Well almost.

courtesy Alliance Française of Portland

Well BFD. You know I’m no wine snob. Not even close. In fact, I’m entirely willing to admit I don’t know enough or have an adequately sophisticated palate to get uppity about my wine preferences. In truth, there’s very little I won’t drink, but in recent years I have drawn a line in the sand when it comes to Beaujolais Nouveau, that’s right a line in the sand, my friends. I’m like the Colonel Qaddafi of immature wine. Why, you ask. Why? The labels are so festive and there’s a big PR push every November. Well, I’ll tell you.

For me, Beaujolais Nouveau is the wine equivalent of Coors Light. I mean really, why would you want Coors to be any lighter than it already is? That’s like saying you want light water. In my opinion, the new Beaujolais tastes like a dumbed-down merlot – and what’s the appeal of that? You could just throw some vodka into a glass of Welch’s grape juice for the same effect.

Note the new screw top!

So what’s all the ruckus about every year? No idea. I suppose it might be that it’s an easy way for a bunch of French wine makers to squeeze $10-$12 bucks a bottle out of you on a quick turnaround. I do know the new Beau doesn’t taste like much, and I can think of plenty of wines at that price that don’t make me feel like sucking my thumb when I drink them.

Still interested? Well it’s your liver not mine – mine’s already quite limber. If you want to know more, here’s a good primer on all the wines from Beaujolais.

Go ahead and drink up, pilgrim. But if it’s new, do give it a little chill before you pour it.

Hey Hey Hey, Mateus Rosé!

I just love pink wine, and recently I was touting one or another of my favorites to a friend, who replied, a bit sniffily, that he found pink wine completely disgusting and was horrified – though not surprised – that I’d stoop to swilling such, well, swill. Long story short, it turns out he mistakenly assumed I was flogging White Zinfandel, a Ripple-like potable that is much favored by the older set, by which I mean people far more advanced in years than myself who, in addition to actually drinking the stuff, also use it to lube their wheelchairs, soak their dentures and fill their catheter bags. I am told it’s a big favorite on the early bird special menu in certain, warmer climes.

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Cheap AND Easy: Go ahead and get screwed

I love screw top wine. There, I’ve said it and I’m standing by it. Loud and proud.

As far as I can tell, there is absolutely no difference between the corked and the screwed, and I for one am ready to throw off the tyranny of broken corks, moldy stoppers and malfunctioning corkscrews. At last count I had thirteen different models in varying states of collapse squirreled around the house waiting to be pressed into emergency service when the current favorite snapped, disappeared or otherwise failed.

And then there is the horror of the cork slipping into the bottle in front of company. Makes no nevermind to me, of course, but my party guests have, on at least two occasions, taken issue with my pouring wine through paper towels to filter out the little cork crumbles after just such a malfunction. Waste not, want not! Needless to say, they have not been invited back, not that they’ve asked, but there you have it. Anyways, when it comes to wine and corks, the strain of the lurking unknown and the fear of failure have always conspired to seriously undercut my enjoyment, though let’s be honest, not enough to reduce my intake. That’s just crazy talk.

Here’s my favorite screw top white, by the way: Terranoble Sauvignon Blanc from Chile. I’ve sourced it locally for $6.99 a bottle and with a 15% case discount, it’s almost free!

Here’s what winedepot.com says about it:

This Sauvignon Blanc offers a pale yellow colour with greenish tones. It has attractive fruity aromas with a touch of peach notes. It’s a fresh wine, with a balanced natural acidity, medium structure and permanence in mouth. Ideal as an aperitif in summer time, with seafood and fish.

I don’t know what that permanence in mouth business is all about, and really with the exception of my original fixtures, a couple of crowns and some lovely veneers, I don’t think there’s anything I want permanently in my mouth, but to each his own. Here’s the swiller’s review: A perfect party wine, light, but not too sweet. Serve ice cold with whatever you’re eating, or if you’re just drinking.

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