Saturday, March 06, 2010

Sunday Sipping

When getting together with friends one of the most memorable & most enjoyable isn't always the wine. Well of course its a huge part but sometimes what I take away from the experience isn't flavor profiles, aromas or textures...its the conversations.

Recently a few of my friends & I met at my house to pop some bottles & share some food. I went to the store the night before in search of beef short ribs. Unfortunately, they were out but I spied some grass fed, free range beef shanks. I thought "what the hell?" I've never cooked them before & they looked so good with a huge bone in the center & lots of marrow. By the looks of them they indicated to me that they should be treated like shortribs or lamb shank perhaps. I seared them off hard & fast in a screaming hot dutch oven. Then I threw onions, garlic & carrots in as well as some fresh thyme. The shanks went back in along with some fresh vegetable stock, red wine, pesto & chicken stock. That bubbled away in the oven for about...oh.. 7 hours.

Lance, Fiona, Richie & Meagan arrived with their goodies & wines & we settled in for the duration. As we tasted through our bottles & snacked on our dishes a topic came up about changing tastes.

Richie commented on how his tastes have transformed in the past two years. He said he used to be into these big, rich super concentrated wines & now he's moving more towards more nuanced & elegant wines. Lance said that he's noticed himself going that route as well. Fiona remarked that when she is home alone (if Lance has a gig or practice) she will dine on something simple & accompany that with a big wine. So I got to thinking. Isn't there room for all different styles? It doesn't necessarily have to be one or the other right? It should be about balance.

As well as that wine's place at the table. I don't want a big, overly rich concentrated red with ceviche. Nor do I want a lithe, taut, brightly acidic white with my beef cheeks. Every wine has its place & every place needs a wine. That being said I think my palate has transformed somewhat over my years as a wine lover. I used to love the bold, steroidal pinot noirs of Brian Loring's early days but now I have an aversion to syrah-like pinots. I want my wine to taste the way its supposed to. To taste of place. To make my armhairs stand on end. To electrify me.

I wish I could remember the first aged Rhone that I ever had that sent me over the edge. That memory escapes me but I know its there because I still salivate over even a CDR-villages with 10 years on it.

The same goes for dusty bottles of wines from Piedmont. They haunt me. Allure me. Seduce me. And leave a permanent mark on me.


Samantha Dugan said...

I so feel you Michael....

Okay your word verification is "twast" that made me giggle

Michael Hughes said...

Ha ha ha! That's hilarious! I love random word verification.