Saturday, September 10, 2011
I think part of the problem is that hubby dearest knows
my palate such that I don't have to. When it comes to wine, I get to be June Cleaver and let Ward deal with all the tough issues like how to disclipline Wally and the Beaver, and,oh yeah--decide what to drink.
I have, however, learned two things. The first is that when the right food is paired with the right wine, the experience and flavor of both is enhanced. (And when the right food and wine are paired with the right people, well--that's pretty much a spiritual experience.) For example, take my tomato sauce. I pride myself on this sauce, and even my children know that jarred sauce in my kitchen is like ants at a picnic. My Ragu-loving husband, however, can do one thing to make it better: serve it with chianti classico reserva. This higher-end chianti stands up to the acidity of the tomatoes and allows every single molecule of flavor to tap dance on your tongue. Same thing happens when you take a ruby port and serve it with the richest creamiest darkest chocolate dessert you can find, and suddenly your richest creamiest darkest chocolate dessert becomes utterly and simply: MORE. It's heaven.
I don't frequently do shout-outs on this blog, but my favorite place to go for wine is Vienna Vintner in Vienna, Virginia. The proprietor is guy named Victor Mendes, and he's about as approachable and unpretentious as they come. You are greeted with not just with a smile, but on Saturday afternoons, he has a full spread of wine and food out for sampling at the back of the store. Hit it at the right time, and you feel like you've walked into a really good party. Victor understands that wine and food are like a good marriage-each one does what they can to make the other better. So when you sample his wines, you get a sense not just what they will taste like, but how they will hold up to particular flavors. There's also usually someone there, if not Victor himself, who is more than willing to explain to you what it is you are drinking, and thus, after awhile, you start to learn what it is you like, and what you don't. Go there often enough and you might actually learn enough about wine to graduate from Wine 101.