Sunday, September 27, 2009

Wine Can Enhance Your Date

Do you remember back to when you were in your early to mid 20's and you would meet someone which after one of those "I want to get to know you" conversation over the phone, you were now planning a first date. At the age of 23 to 24 I found myself in the situation of wanting to step up my game, and look for a classy dame who's conversation could keep my attention over the phone. I realized that if I wanted to go from the minor to the major leagues in regards to women, I needed to do some work on myself. So I decided to take it upon myself to learn more about things further out of my reach financially, more specifically, wines. For some reason I felt as if a woman of a more sophisticated mind frame, all found wine pleasurable. I say all that to say this, rarely did my knowledge of wine help in smoothing out those awkward silent spaces that come about in most first dates. That was until I stopped worrying about the awkwardness and listened to how certain wines allowed for a woman's body language to speak out loud. So as I started to recognize that certain wines had the ability to stimulated a woman's senses I began to narrow the varietals down. Now these wine varietals aren't full proof, every palate's different, but these have been my "break in case of emergency" bottles. Hopefully this will help out some of my friends who call me panicking about what wine to get for a prospective date, and also all who are reading this. First, you want to find out how much the lady actually knows about wines, you know, whether they like white or red varietals. If your prospective date is anything like the women I used to date, most of them have a sweet tooth. Also, woman tend to lean towards the lighter wines, some grapes that fit into this category are Riesling, most Chenin Blancs from Vouvray, Gewurztraminer, Muscat, or muscato d'asti. All these grapes, mostly Rieslings or the Gewurztraminer are 80 percent deal makers for women. If after fact finding you realize your date is into reds, try to lean toward fruit forward, and young drinking wines. What I mean is look to more new world varietals like Shiraz from Australia (its the same thing as France's Syrah, but it's more heavy on the fruit and is better drunk in a younger vintage, at least in most cases.), A fruity Malbec from Argentina will also do the trick, or a pink blush wine known as rose from either Spain or the Rhone valley of France. I challenge you, both women and men, to go to your local wine shop (whether Trader Joe, Bevmo, or your neighborhood wine merchant), and find these wine varietals. For the guys, please tell me if my advice helped, and for the women, please comment about any varietals I may have missed, that always hit you in that right spot. Again, I'm just here to help, till then, live life one step at a time.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Wine and Cigars - What a Pair

So, along with the large amounts of wine consumption, I do love a good cigar. Because my vices include both wines and cigars, how do I pair the two. Now don't get me wrong, I've tried not to allow the two to cross paths, but because I enjoy them both immensely, it was inevitable. So I lit up a La Gloria and began to think, what wines would pair best with this cigar? My first question was, am I leaning towards a red or white wine? Maybe it's me, but the thought of trying to pair a cigar with let's say, a Pinot Grigio did not seem too appealing. Although I do believe a buttery Chardonnay from napa may have done a decent job. However, I believe the job of matching a cigar with wine, fall to the dark side of the wine world, the reds. So let's run down the list, Pinot Noir - mostly too fruity and light, Cabernet Sauvignon - mostly too big, and Merlot - too inconsistent. On to the wines that captured the rare essence of this cigars complexities. In this case Syrah and Zinfandel were the best pairing for this cigar. To be more specific, a person looking to syrah should focus on the Rhone region of France and Santa Barbara in California. You may ask, why these regions for Syrah, well let me explain. In the Case of the Rhone Valley (The birth place of Syrah) and Santa Barbara, the soil allows its wines to have pure round fruit cloaked in peppery minerality which seems to cater to some of the vanilla/cocoa nuances that most cigars tend to exhibit.

As for the Zinfandel Grape, it displays bright rasberry, jammy red currant, and a tobacco component, YES I said tobacco. Some places, I believe produces the kind of Zinfandels with the ability to match up well with Cigars, are Sonoma Valley and Lodi. Sonoma tends to produce Zinfandels with an ideology standing firm on the foundation of structure, meaning that the flavors are concentrated, but the fruit doesn't overwhelm your palate. Sonoma County's Zins tend to pair well with medium bodied Cigars. Lodi is a whole different story in regard to most of the Zinfandels they make in that area of northern California. Lodi leans towards the fruit first aspect of wine making. When tasting a Zinfandel from Lodi, red fruit bombs (high in alcohol) seem to drop heavily on your palate, accompanied by hints of tobacco that linger long after the wine has gone down, look to pair with big robust cigars. Although, I mostly lean toward a premium Scotch or Brandy when consuming a Cigar, if you have followed me on previous posts, I do like to try new things. See if these pairing work for you, and if you have any ideas of wines out there that I need to try, please leave a comment.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Some Like it Hot

Okay, maybe not hot, but some of you do like your wines at room temperature and some like them chilled. To tell the truth, it's your personal preference. Don't let some so-called wine expert (except for me, you don't have to reply to that statement, your silence is confirmation enough) tell you how you need to drink your wines. So take it or leave it, but here's my preference. I like my red wine at room temperature, for me, when it's chilled, it seems to mute the nuances and complexities that I love so much. There is a exception though, have you ever spent a good amount of change on a bottle of red and when you tasted it, it didn't sit well with your palate? I have two suggestions, the first thing is let the wine get more air in it, sometimes the bitter tannins in the wine can settle down, and the second thing is, if this tear jerker wine doesn't subside, throw some ice cubes in it and call it a day.

In regards to white wines I tend to straddle the fence. Like most people, I too like my white wines chilled, but because I tend to consume more white wine during the hot months, it's always refreshing drink something cold. The thing is, when I'm in my "wine nerd mode," I like my whites at room temperature, again allowing me to taste all of the subtleties in the wine. Chilling wines tend to mask some of the fruit for me, but for people with more discerning palates, maybe it doesn't matter, you be the judge.