Wines for an Occasionlivxmin
Wine is cloaked in as much mystery as an Agatha Christie novel and if the food and wine rules don’t get you then the occasion challenge will. Supper is just a meal until wine makes it a dining experience, complete with fine china, crystal and everyone in formal attire. Some how as I make plans to tailgate with friends before an upcoming Red Rocks concert, I’m not thinking about the stuffiest wine I can find, but something delicious would be great. So how do we get to good wine without the stuffing? A few ideas to consider follow.
Occasion is a combination of food or the lack there of, friends, associates, or those that will be imbibing, and weather which is determined by place or time of year. First to food and wine rules (I feel another column in the making) don’t let any rule stand in the way of what you like. If you don’t like asparagus then white asparagus grown in the south of Austria and revered throughout Europe isn’t going to be to your taste. With this firmly in mind wine and food go together by similarity of contrast, an interesting juxtaposition can reveal a wine or food and make for a synergistic effect, at the nth degree 2+2 can equal 5, but when you are getting ready for a Phish concert are you really that concerned about math? Similarly (sic), a wine that emphasizes a component of the food by pumping up the volume can be extraordinary but most amps don’t really have a dial that goes to 11 and most of the time it just hurts! Weight of the wine or food probably should be somewhat equal otherwise you get food that is simply texture or wine that is at best, wet. A good food and wine combination is one where the food and the wine are better than they are without the other. If you find this with potato chips and great grower Champagne rock on! (Try this, it really works).
Who will be drinking with you, are you a sharer or a hoarder? Do you talk too much about the wine in the glass and turn it to vinegar with your lectures or do you just pick anything because nobody would know the difference. These are real questions; I know I have been all of these things. In the end I like drinking wine with people more than I like drinking alone, I do like to talk about the family that made the wine because that connection, especially if I might have met them, enhances the experience for me, maybe for you and your friends as well. If this is the time to just have a sip and watch a perfect sunset, shut-up and enjoy the spaciousness of the sky.
We do change what we seek in food and wine dependent on weather and place. Sometimes the juxtaposition of super elegant wine with a pedestrian setting is just right (Miles drinking ’61 Ch. Cheval Blanc with his Burger in Sideways), but I will say getting engaged with old burgundy just seemed right. When it is hot a really big red wine, high in alcohol and tannin isn’t very appealing, but it sure sounds good as the first snow flakes are flying. And don’t be afraid to mess with temperature with your wines, a red at 60 is so much more enjoyable on a summer evening than the 75 degrees as it comes out of your rack. Whites that are too cold in the winter are lively and refreshing at an outdoor brunch in July.
Ok, school is out, lecture is over, what are you going to drink at your next concert? Try these “on the rocks:”
Cleto Chiarli Lambrusco Vecchia Modena Emilia-Romagna SRP $18
Lambrusco is an al fresco scene in a bottle, frizzante, lively and grapey, a great match to so many foods, if you can only bring one this may be it!
Argiolas Costamolino Vermentino Sardinia SRP $18
Ah, the island life, half of Europe seems to go this island in August and this is a wine they drink, a bit richer than most Italian whites but still refreshing.
Casal Garcia Vinho Verde Minho SRP $9
The perfect café wine, a bit spritzy, tangy and light, it simply disappears! This is the original Vinho Verde bottled and the producer bottles to order for Colorado-enjoy!
Carmina Luna Red Jumilla SRP $5 equivalent
This is a red box wine made by the best producer in Jumilla, Luzon. It is grapey and rich and comes in a 3 Liter bag in the box, keeping the wine fresh (but you will drink it all quickly, I assure you).
Castano Rosado Yecla SRP $8
Sometime rose is more than red and white not less, on the tailgate, many new truths are revealed by wines such as this.
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