Wine: The classy way to get drunk.

I’ve never been a scientist. As my mother will tell you, I managed to get through my physics GCSE through a mixture of learning the text book and sheer luck. I’m sure my A-levels of Ancient Greek, Latin and Music (which of course I use all the time in everyday life…..) have something to do with the creative side of cooking, but one thing I never expected to find so fascinating was the science behind cooking. From the moment I discovered that some vague memory about how osmosis worked could actually be usefully applied when boiling potatoes, using osmosis to infuse the potatoes with flavour before mashing, I was hooked. It’s not just the science of food that has interested me recently, but I’ve been finding out a lot about wine as well. While I’m not going to be able to spill out all the information I accumulated about wine over a qualification i did this summer in one blog post, and it is almost impossible to understand how different wines taste unless you taste a lot of similar wines one after the other, there are a few things that might surprise you. For anyone who declares I only like Chardonnay; Chardonnay tastes completely different based on the climate – citrusy, fresh in a cool climate, tropical and rich in a warm climate. Red wine can only be made with red grapes but white can be made with both (as long as the red skins are removed). The colour (tannins) are in the skin. Italian wines are almost certainly high in acidity, it’s just how the Italians like it. If a wine says Grand Cru on it, the wine is one of the best, but Special Reserve technically has no guarantee of a good wine. Generally a grape that produces high tannin wine (thick skins e.g Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah) will be better when it is aged and the tannins softened, but thinner skinned grapes (Merlot, Grenache, Pinot Noir) can be drunk earlier. And that is why I always drink Merlot in a pub. I could probably go on like this all day, proper wine geek.

In terms of wine/food pairings – there are a few rules: (If you do one of these courses you get given a handy card you can carry with you – which of course I use all the time…..)

 

While overkilling the wine geekery in a conversation with my friend, Madam Jojo,  she insisted that I design a wine tasting for her and some friends to put my skills to the test. Here is the menu, a little bit about what they taste like and the dishes I matched them with… on that note Majestic Wine were fantastic, great value, delivered to the house for free and huge selection.

Lindauer Special Reserve Blanc de Blancs
Sparkling White New Zealand, 100% Chardonnay, Butter, Biscuit, lemon
Chablis Vieilles Vignes 2012, Vocoret
White Burgundy, 100% Chardonnay, citrus, green apple, minerality

Smoked Salmon, Crab Salad, Fennel, Apple, Avocado, Sourdough Bread

Marquis de Pennautier Chardonnay ‘Terroirs d’Altitude’, 2012 Pays D’oc
Southern France White, 100% Chardonnay, stone and tropical fruits, cloves
Château Tour du Haut Moulin, 2007, Cru Bourgeoise, Haut Medoc
Red Bordeaux, Cabernet Sauvignon dominated Merlot/Cab blend, blackberry, spice, smooth tannins

Spicy Black Beans, Bacon, Confit Potato, Creme Fraiche, Toasted Almonds

Matsu El Recio 2012, Toro
Intense Red, 100% Tempranillo, coffee beans, chocolate, overripe plums, smooth tannins
Royal Tokaji Late Harvest, 2012
Hungarian dessert wine, ripe peach, apricots, nectarine, high acidity so not cloying on palate

Orange Cream, Basil Jelly, Honey toasted oatmeal

  

  

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2 thoughts on “Wine: The classy way to get drunk.

  1. Try cambridge wine merchants. They do the best wines but slightly discounted and they do tastings at the branch on bridge street

    Like

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