Jen's Musings

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

In Vino Veritas part trois

Ok, I know some of you are on the edges of your chairs waiting for the thrilling conclusion to "in vino veritas"... so here you go! Today's subject: red and white wine's bastard stepchildren.

Port - This sinful dessert wine is made by fortifying red wine with brandy, then aged for many, many years. Try it with some good dark chocolate (I believe Vosges makes truffles infused with port if you're lazy). If you're a port lover, you most likely own a smoking jacket and perhaps a Bentley because this stuff ain't cheap.

Eiswein - Another sinful dessert wine made by leaving grapes (usually Riesling) on the vine until the frost comes, then carefully picking and squeezing the grapes, essentially removing most of the water out of the grape pressing. This is the nectar of the gods, baby! Again, mad props to any guy who would order a bottle (actually, a half bottle) of this stuff because I respect a guy who's secure enough to order something so decadent.

Champagne/Sparkling wine - We all know this is bubbly liquid is used to celebrate. However, if you encounter someone who only drinks champagne.. back away slowly. They're really weird people.

White Zinfandel - Where do I begin? Well first of all, white zinfandel is made from zinfandel grapes, but the skins are removed from the grapes before much color can be lended to the wine. Sutter Home first made white zinfandel in 1972 because they found a way to use their not so good grapes and turn it into a sweet, profitable "beginner wine". Yes, I said beginner wine because this stuff is mass produced and is made from less-than-quality fruit. Personally, I feel bad for white zin drinkers. Perhaps they're too scared to venture out into the world of wine by themselves and feel white zin is a safe bet. If you encounter one of these people, please try and hold their hand and ease them into something else, like a Riesling.

In conclusion, remember that good wine comes in all shapes and sizes, whether it be corked, screw topped, or even boxed (try Delicato's Shiraz boda box if you don't believe me) or canned (try some Sofia blanc de blanc bubbly). So the next time you go to your local wine shop, try something different, and don't be afraid to ask questions. You can learn a lot from a wine shop clerk. Happy drinking!


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