Saturday, January 23, 2010

Do you want pencil with that?

"The 2007 Syrah contains a dollop of Malbec, Viognier, Tempranillo, Mourvedre, and Grenache. It shows off a superb aromatic display of bacon, game, mineral, pencil lead, and blueberry. Layered, bordering on opulent, it has great depth of flavor, savory fruit, and a lengthy, pure finish. Give it 2-3 years to blossom further and drink it from 2011 to 2019."
Merchant Review of Polkura 2007 Syrah (Chile) - Canal Bottle Stop

Come on down to the Mermaid Cafe and I will buy you a bottle of wine
And we'll laugh and toast to nothing and smash our empty glasses down
"Carey" Joni Mitchell 1971

I'm pretty broadminded. I'm a tolerant sort of women. I can put up with pretentious. But when it comes to the taste of pencil lead, I draw the line. I'm just not a great fan of pencil lead especially when it's accompanied by blueberry.

What ARE these wine writers thinking about when they write their reviews? Are they trying to outdo each other in bizarre? Or are they testing to see if anyone actually reads their blurbs?

Polkura 2007 Syrah. I don't THINK so! Any wine that has "a dollop of Malbec, Viognier, Tempranillo, Mourvedre, and Grenache" has to be a bit suss. And as for its "aromatic display of bacon, game, mineral, pencil lead, and blueberry", I think I'll pass that round. "Give it 2-3 years to blossom further and drink it from 2011 to 2019." That's eight years of continuous drinking! The mind boggles. Even my dad would stop drinking when he went to sleep.

Wine and food buffs are a strange lot. I should know as I recently became one. I've been obsessed with the Food Channel, ever since I gave up alcohol. I watch "The Iron Chef", "Chopped, "Gordon Ramsey's Kitchen Nightmares", "Last Restaurant Standing" and "America's Worst Cooks".

I also like watching out for food trends. Remember when food had to be really tall and narrow and look lost on an acre wide plate and was always "drizzled" with something? That seems to have been short-lived. Now it's all about healthy and being politically correct.

There is only one constant in food. And that is those sad little restaurants with names like "Tin Lizzie" and "Carrots R Us" where the alternative-life-stylers of the month play at being grown-ups and serve carrot cakes and gruel.

There used to be one such "restaurant" in North Fitzroy in Melbourne when I lived there a hundred years ago. Young women with long hair and vague looks on their faces would hang around serving tofu tea and veggie-burgers. The place was always "out of" something. Usually a key ingredient like soy milk or green tea.

And I recently came across a similar restaurant ion the Lower East Side. I was waiting for my husband - we were going to see a movie - and I was early. Next to the cinema was a little diner-looking place. I went inside thinking to order a coffee, only to discover it was a Vegan pizza restaurant. No coffee. So I sat at a table and read my Kindle. I didn't order anything. No one expected me to. That's what I like about those sort of places. They expect nothing from their clientele, and their clientele expects nothing from them.

I'm used to all sorts of eating places. But although I've traveled far and wide, and have eaten in places ranging from the up-market Flower Drum in Melbourne, to roadside diners in Oklahoma, I had never, until yesterday, heard of drinking bacon and pencil-lead flavored wine.

What will come next I wonder. What came after lead pencils? Aha - the internets!!!

When I start drinking again, I will be on the lookout for a wine with a bouquet of megapixels and a hint of lol.


Anonymous said...

Is it age or something else, but we are lightening up on the grog.

My bride was on Coumadin for several months and, following the doctor's orders, she went off the grog; no wine, no beer, no alcohol of any kind. Not wishing to be a total bastard, I followed suit - well, almost. She switched to Beck's Non-alcoholic Beer and I dropped back to the occasional brewski and small glass of wine.

Released from the Coumadin regimen, she decided not to return to the grog and surprisingly (?) hasn't missed it a bit. As for me, well, I still have the evening beer while she drinks her Becks and seems to like it.

So what's this got to do with Kate's comments on wine reviews? Not much, except i was never able to taste the mysterious flavors associated with the different varieties of wines. But then, i'm really not a foodie nor a oenophile. Talk a good game, but in my soul, I'm a bloke who likes his tucker on time and not too weird.

OTOH, Bunny is a heck of a cook and we eat very well and usually something from scratch and out of one of her collection of cookbooks and personal files. Ah yes, the personal files. Do you know anyone who enjoys cookbooks as much as good fiction? That's my girl, and oh boy, does it pay off in the kitchen.

And sans wine, our grocery bill has dropped. Any oddly enough, since the social component has disappeared, so has my taste for wine.

Terry said...

Having worked in both the food and wine industry for many years, I find the pretensions of these writers (especially wine writers) to be incredible.

After all wine is just fermented grape juice, nothing more, nothing less. It is not made with apples, peaches, choco;ate, bacon, or (heaveb forbid) lead pencil.

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