Since Bush left office, I haven’t quite been tempted to drink myself into oblivion every day. Nice change, that. But I still have a fondness for good wine. One of the more exciting aspects of moving into a place of my own is getting a nice wine rack put up, wherein bottles of my favorites can be attractively displayed. Until, of course, I drink them.
It’s Friday. Time to unwind with a nice glass o’ something tasty. Here are a few of my favorite varieties:
I first came across Riesling in a Time magazine article, which I paid attention to only because I was needing a fancy-sounding wine for a scene. At the time, I was still in tequila mode. Wine and I had not yet become friends. But the bottles were pretty, and it sounded nice.
A few years later, I finally got around to trying some. Oh, delight! Rieslings vary quite a bit between regions, and I’ve made friends with many. From my own state of Washington, you can get a nice, crisp, slightly dry Riesling that still contains a big fruity punch. If you want something a little more guttural, where else would you go but Germany? But my absolute utter favorite Riesling comes from Australia. Sweet, lush, robust stuff that bounds around on the tongue like good Aussie slang. You can barely taste the alcohol in it, which means you can get into considerable trouble. And that’s exactly how I like my wine!
Not a huge red wine fan, actually – tannins and I don’t get along. But when I first moved to Washington, I found a wee little bottle of Petit Beaujolais at Cost Plus that just begged me to bring it home. It sounds so friendly. Cheerful, even. So I snatched it up, and promptly discovered the most delightful red wine I’ve ever had. It’s a bright ruby red without the tannins. Woot!
I have a bottle of Pierre Chermette Beaujolais 2007 sitting here unopened as we speak. I got it at my favorite local wine shop on the afternoon they poured all Beaujolais for their Friday tasting. I’ll tell you something. It’s damned difficult to pick favorites when they’re all divine. But this one’s something special, and if you get a chance, get a bottle.
I know, I know – I said I’m not a red wine person, and that’s generally true. But Shiraz is awesome. So is Syrah, and you know why? It’s because they’re the same thing. It’s a grape with dual identities!
Shiraz is a little more tannin-y than Beaujolais, but let’s just think of it as boisterous rather than bitter. It really does have that bounding, devil-may-care, loudmouth feel to it. All wines have personality. While Riesling’s laid-back, and Beaujolais is cheerful, Shiraz is a prankster. It’s spicy and adventurous, but not quite overbearing. If Shiraz were a friend, it would be the type of friend you grab when you want to go explore brave new worlds.
It’s also a damned fine cooking wine, if you want a good red that’ll give a beef stirfry an extra kick.
When I was a kid, I used to wonder what it would be like to drink flowers. You wonder this sort of thing when you enjoy faerie stories, as I did. There was talk of nectar and sugared violets and such things, but the “nectar” you got at the grocery store was pretty much pear juice, and the one experience I had with candied flowers wasn’t all that special. Oh, and FYI – rosewater’s not for drinking, at least not when it comes out of the bathroom vanity.
I gave up on finding flowers. And all those wines they claimed had a floral bouquet – yeah, right.
Until this one.
It’s like drinking a gardenia. Or maybe honeysuckle. Little bit of iris. Seriously. If you’ve ever wondered what the most enchanting flower garden you’ve ever seen would taste like distilled, my darlings, this is it.
Italians are genius.
It’s the best white wine I’ve ever had. And what’s even better is, when it’s been open for a few days, it doesn’t get that bitter, icky old-wine taste. Oh, no. It tastes like tequila.
No post on wine would be complete without a shout-out to my absolute favorite wine shop in the world, Pike & Western Wine Shop. If you’re ever in Seattle on a Friday afternoon, they do free tastings from 3-6 pm, and believe me – they will do right by you.