All Dressed Up, Sake, No Sake

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Saturday night, I dressed in my skinny jeans and a white t-shirt, my glittery navy blue pumps I bought a year and half ago and looked forward to wearing them for the first time. I completed my classic, simple, sexy outfit with my genuine Chanel earrings and long strand of faux gray pearls. I looked good and I felt confident.

I strutted my way to a meetup dinner at Feng Shui. Meetup(s) are an easy way to meet new people in a group setting and do fun activities with others when you have no friends 🙂  I’ve never met these people and I’ve never been to this restaurant. The group of people who attended were super fun! We really had silly, simple fun at this hibachi dinner. The whole evening was a joy  🙂

Prior to the dinner, I reached out to The Passionate Foodie, a friend of mine and a professional food and wine writer. I’ve never had Sake before and he is a master Sake Educator, I think one of a very select few in the U.S.

Anyway, I copied/pasted the online Sake menu from the restaurant and sent it to him (with what I  planned to order for dinner) for his opinion on which Sake would best pair with my dinner choice. He responded promptly and recommended the Kimoto- dry and umami, which would go well with my choice of strip steak and lobster. Oh man, was I excited to go try this Sake with dinner. I have a lot of experience with wine and food pairs but Sake is new and I get excited to try new things!

Seated at the hibachi table, menu in front of me, I happily and eagerly searched for my Kimoto to order. Ugh, there was no Kimoto and the Sakes on the menu had descriptions with no mention of umami.  I asked the server about the Kimoto, she had no clue. I asked her if they had changed their Sake menu and she answered no, they had not changed the Sake menu.  Her Asian face stared back at me,  confused by my request for Kimoto and discussion of the Sake menu.  I showed her the Sake menu from their website, that I copy/pasted on my phone, she was clueless. She grabbed my phone out of my hand and said she’d bring it to the manager to see if they had this Kimoto! Off she went, my iPhone in her hand, before I could say Sake.

OMG, now this turned into a huge deal and she had taken my phone!

My table mates found this quite entertaining and teased me that I was needy 🙂 and we had a good laugh. She returned and informed me that they in fact did change their Sake menu and I had the “old menu” listed on my phone. She left again. She returned – brought me a bottle of some random Sake and asked me if this is one I would want to have ” Many customers order this one” she told me, yet she was unable to provide any information about this Sake. Now mind you, I had already told her I know nothing about Sake and therefore know not which one to order. This random bottle she showed me meant nothing to me. Huh? Now, my confused face  stared at her. I asked her if she’d tried any of the Sakes on the menu. She answered she doesn’t drink 😦  I wondered- was this server even 21 years old?

For the love of God! now what? I found this all quite hilarious but at the same time, I really wasn’t looking for this absurd drama.

Wanting my new-found meetup acquaintances to see my kind and thoughtful side and a quick ending this server drama, I thanked her for the time and effort she put into this, but assured her I would figure it out.

In the end, I ordered a scorpion bowl, which is a safe bet and always a pleaser.

FS chel

#49 and counting down… The Wine Century Club

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So…en route to becoming a member of The Wine Century Club a few years ago, I researched 100 grapes and tried many wines. The entry level requirement is 100 grape varieties. There are higher levels as well.  Here is a link to the club website: winecentury.com.

Please check out the poll found in my earlier post titled The Wine Century Club.

Here are some facts about the 2 wines (both are now on my favorites list) and a couple of grapes that were new to me.

🙂 🙂

2013 Colomé from Valle Calchaquí, Salta, Argentina… grape variety is Torrontés.

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Salta, Argentina

Torrontés has quickly risen to become Argentina’s signature white-wine grape, and one of the most widely grown. Torrontés wines range in style from light and fresh to heady and intensely perfumed, often expressing spicy character and aromas of white flowers. The cooler climate here helps with the retention of acidity, yielding a light, refreshing white wine with tones of jasmine and orange blossoms. The wine I tasted had a longer finish, good acidity and floral notes. It reminded me of a Viogner or a Gewürztraminer, both noted for floral a bouquet.

Salta, in the far north of Argentina, is home to some of the world’s most extreme vineyard sites. Many sit at lower latitudes and higher altitudes than anywhere else on Earth. Interestingly, these two factors balance each other out; the cold temperatures associated with high altitude are mitigated by the high temperatures found at these latitudes, producing bright, intensely flavored wines.

2011 Kanonkop ” Kadette” from Stellenbosch, South Africa… grapes varieties are Pinotage 57%, Cabernet Sauvignon 26 %, Merlot 14%, Cabernet Franc 3%.

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Stellenbosch, South Africa

Pinotage grape is a native product of South Africa, developed in 1925 by Abraham Izak Perold, the first professor of Viticulture at the University of Stellenbosch. Pinotage, a cross between Pinot Noir and the more obscure Rhone varietal, Cinsault, was born in South Africa. The professor hoped to combine the virtues of the two grapes. Pinot Noir is  recognized for its aromas and flavors, but can be difficult to grow. Cinsault yields an abundant crop and is resistant to disease. Pinotage typically produces deep red wines. Some have been criticized for sometimes smelling of acetone. The wine I tasted had no aroma of nail polish. Pinotage tends more toward dark fruits, tar, tobacco, and chocolate; sometimes touches of banana have been noted. The grape also tends toward high tannins and low acids.

Pinotage is easy to grow and ripens readily. Plantings didn’t really get started commercially until the 1960s, and, despite a few successes, acreage dwindle from then until the 90s and then the end of apartheid  and end of international boycotts on South African products. Interest in South African wines was high, and Pinotage in particular as it was unique to the country.Kanonkop’s Pinotage vines were some of the first commercially planted Pinotage to be established in the Cape and most are over 50 years old. Hardly any irrigation is needed due to the ideal soil type and location.

Kanonkop is a fourth generation family estate, which was originally purchased by JW Sauer, a cabinet member in the parliament of the Union of South Africa. The name Kanonkop was derived from a kopje, something from which a cannon was fired in the 17th Century to alert farmers in outlying areas that sailing ships had entered Table Bay for a stopover at Cape Town.

Psychology of Wine

One of my mentors recently shared an article written by Jancis Robinson December 2014. The title is The Feminisation of Wine. This article points out gender divides such as men are expected to know more about wine than women. Who has not experienced the waiters’ offer to have the man at the table taste, before pouring the wine? Historically, society expected men to know about wine and women were not expected to know about wine. Jancis Robinson continues to write about a European wine bloggers conference that titled a session ” We Don’t Need More Women in Wine.” Women have long been excluded from the world of wine.

Change is inevitable, would you agree?

Women are the most powerful economic force in the wine marketplace. One stat showed women in the U.S. make up 59% of all regular wine purchasers (thesis written by Felicity Carter). Women have surpassed men in scores on some of the most well-known, well-respected and internationally recognized wine exams across the globe.

I recommend a terrific book written by Ann Matasar, Women of Wine. For centuries, forces kept women away from the world of wine through biases, traditions, religious practices, superstitions, physical characteristics and social stereotypes. Gender distinctions permeated wine in areas such as production, consumption, distribution and appreciation.

Matasar writes that jars of wine were placed in tombs of upper class Egyptian men so that life after death would continue to be comfortable but no such comfort in the after life for Egyptian women. It was thought that the women would become drunk and act promiscuously in the after-life.

Matasar continues to amuse the reader with more history: Ancient Greece established the first male drinking clubs with women only allowed in to serve the wine. The Romans also had such exclusionary clubs, focused on No Girls Allowed and in fact didn’t even allow women to serve wine. Later years brought male-only taverns and cabarets in France. As wine culture spread to the New World, the collegiality, intellectual sophistication and learning associated with wine consumption remained associated with male only establishments.

Both Jancis Robinson and Ann Matasar offer that women perform more precisely in tasting experiments. Two olfactory sensitivity studies, one at the University of Pennsylvania and the other at the University of Cardiff, showed women consistently out-performed men in odor identification and sensitivity. Yale School of Medicine established 3 categories of tasters: non-tasters= 25% of the population, medium tasters=50% of the population, super tasters = 25% of the population. The group of super tasters had the most taste buds and was made up of predominantly women. Check out this Wall Street Journal video ( click on link to watch brief video)

http://www.wsj.com/video/do-men-and-women-taste-wine-differently/2F0A6CA2-36F7-4197-B417-4E9621D3BBCC.html

Women are now wine makers, wine growers, wine critics, sommeliers, wine writers and the list goes on. I thank the women who have paved the way: Importer Martine Saunier who once said “There were no women in the wine business then, we were supposed to marry and shut up.” Her French charm is front and center in her role as star and producer of wine documentaries. A Year in Burgundy premiered in 2013 and A Year in Champagne premiered in February 2015. Let’s remember Lalou Bize-Leroy, who established herself as a businesswoman in the Burgundy wine business in 1955 when she took over her father Henri Leroy’s négociant business and finally  let’s also thank Barbe-Nicole Clicquot (of the French Champagne house Veuve Clicquot) who lived during the French revolution era. I recommend a very good book on her life written by Tilar Mazzeo titled The Widow Clicquot.

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Scotch and Meaning : part 2

Here are the next two Glenmorangie Scotch from my taster pack. Glenmorangie is in the Highlands, which is the largest whisky producing region in Scotland. I find Glenomorangie to produce more full-bodies whiskies. There are 5 other regions producing Scotch, each with its own character. Most of my posts have been on wine, wine regions etc. and it’s well known that the flavor and aroma differ greatly depending on the region. Same goes for Scotch.  Some may be more peaty, others may be more smokey, yet others more full body vs light body. I find it interesting and there’s so much information to share: I’m keeping my post short these days, so, I encourage you to have fun exploring on your own and learn about the regions of Scotland. Maybe one day, when things settle down here at home, I will have time to write more frequent posts and include some details for you.

The Glenmorangie Original was like any other regular old Scotch, not impressive or complex in my opinion, but decent and good. This Scotch has a place color, a bit of an abrupt finish like many Scotches.  It’s aged in American white oak. Simple. Expected.

The Lasanta,  a deep apricot color, on the other hand, was very good, nice round long finish and a slight sweetness but still had that Scotch tingle we expect on the lips and at the back of the throat. I really enjoyed the Lasanta. It’s aged in sherry casks, giving it warmth, a little spice and nuttiness. This was an unexpected but close second to the Nectar D’Or reviewed in my previous post.

Scotch and Meaning

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Hello Readers!

It’s so nice to have a few minutes to write to you. My dog Elvis is improving but we still have a long way to go. I celebrated two things over the weekend. The first and most important- Elvis started bearing weight on his affected hind leg. The second- I have an appointment with a local school department to discuss writing and teaching a curriculum for the kids on Self Love and Self Care.  Afterall, so many people have to re-learn how to really love when they hit adulthood. So, let’s teach them young, when it really makes a difference for communities and families.

So, in celebration, I bought myself some Scotch. I will be writing on each one I taste in the upcoming posts. The posts may still be brief as I’m still dealing with a lot at home right now, but I do like to share my experiences with you whenever I can jot down some quick notes. I hope you’ll give this Scotch a try and leave a comment if you have tried it. Enjoy!

Below you will find a photo of the cutest little tasting pack from Glenmorangie. I spent $25 US dollars and the tasting pack has 4 different bottles, each one is 100 ml.

I’ve tried one, which is also shown below in the photo. This is Highland Single Malt Scotch Whiskey, aged 12 years in Sauterne barrels. It’s called Nectar D’Or. It is a gem, for sure. The choice of barrels , along with  the aging of 12 years really provides a smooth finish, not too smokey or peaty at all.  There is a viscosity to this one.  I enjoyed this gold-colored scotch on the rocks. It’s silky and ever so slightly sweet.  Scotch from Highlands is less smokey compared to Scotch from the Isle, which is more smokey. This Nectar D’Or is Luscious!

scotch botle

Glenmorangie’s website reveals this interesting tidbit: “The Tarlogie Springs, Glenmorangie’s own water source and most prized asset, is the product of rain that has been forcing its way through layers of limestone and sandstone for a hundred years. These natural minerals give it its ‘hard’ water qualities and provide Glenmorangie with a raw ingredient unique amongst Highland distilleries. Our ancient ancestors drank here, considering the pure, mineral-rich waters of the Springs to be sacred”.

 

scotch pack

Taking a hiatus

Hello all,

I’ve had one thing after another going on since late last summer. My dog Elvis had a torn ACL right hind with surgical repair and a 6 month recovery , now his left one is torn and surgery mostly likely next week. His sister has just been diagnosed with Cushings disease so I have my hands full at the moment, not to mention I work a day job as a nurse practitioner. So, Wine and Meaning will be reposting some fun articles to keep you entertained and informed during my hiatus and I will be back asap. Thanks for all your good wishes and understanding and loyalty along the way. God Bless each of you.IMG_0808

Pinot Blanc

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pinot blanc

A beautiful Trimbach Pinot Blanc from Alsace paired with hard salami wrapped around mozzarella cheese.

In Alsace, the wine produced from this grape is a full-bodied dry white wine and it pairs  very well with the saltiness of this hard salami and the creamy mozzarella. It is both fruity and floral with high acidity and generally made for immediate pleasure!

                    

Sparkling Wine: Tulip, Flute or Coupe?

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It’s always a good time for Sparkling Wine! Too many people I know enjoy it only for celebration. Think of sparkling wine as an everyday wine. There are many good producers offering bottles in the $15 USD range. I recommend a Brut (dry) version. Sparkling wine will go with just about any food you could try pairing with it. This Friday after work instead of cooking, pair take-out Chinese food with a sparkling wine.

Here’s a tip: try something new by enjoying your Champagne or Sparkling Wine in a white wine glass instead of a champagne flute. You’ll find it enhances the aspects of bubbles, aroma and taste.

There are several other glass types, more commonly used for Sparkling wine.

The flute is a stem glass with a tall tapered or elongated shape, designed to retain sparkling wine’s carbonation by reducing the surface area for it to escape.The champagne flute was developed in the early 1700s.

The coupe is a shallow saucer shaped stemmed glass. Romantics will tell you that the shape of the coupe was modelled on the breast of French queen Marie Antoinette. The facts tell us the glass was designed in England in 1663.

The tulip glass has wider flared body and mouth than the flute. Some think the tulip glass allows more of the aroma than a flute while still slowing the loss of carbonation.

Stay  in touch with Wine and Meaning. Here’s a link to a previous post on several influential female Champagne producers:

https://wordpress.com/post/wineandmeaning.com/2474

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A Coupe glass

Saint Valentine’s Day

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Wine Lover’s Devotional: 365 Days of Knowledge, Advice, and Lore for the Ardent Aficionado by Jonathan Alsop (2010) provides today’s recipe and wine pairing. Since Valentine’s Day is right around the corner, I thought the readers would appreciate this.

Chocolate Bruschetta:

1 crusty baguette

olive oil, to taste

sea salt, to taste

1 bar of chocolate  (8 oz)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Slice baguette into 12 (1/2 inch) oval slices. Arrange them on baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt. Place generous amount of chocolate on each slice and bake in oven for 5-10 minutes. Serve immediately.

Wine Pairing:

Zonin Primo Amore Juliet:  7.5% alcohol, white semi-sparkling

Zonin Primo Amore Romeo: 8.5 % alcohol, red semi-sparkling

These refreshing table wines from the Zonin family in Italy will surprise and delight your sweetheart. Take a lesson in amore from the Italians! Primo Amore wines are made near Verona, Italy, home of the real-life couple who inspired Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. Romeo is made from a blend of 80% Merlot and 20% Malvasia Rossa. Juliet is a blend of two aromatic white grapes; 70% Garganega and 30% Moscato.

Saint Valentine’s Day (commonly shortened to Valentine’s Day) is an annual commemoration held on February 14th celebrating love and affection between intimate companions. The day is named after one or more early Christian martyrs, Valentine. It is traditionally a day on which lovers express their love for each other by presenting flowers, offering confectionery, and sending greeting cards (“valentines”). The day first became associated with romantic love in the High Middle Ages, when the tradition of courtly love flourished.

st valentine

Fun fact:

“WEARING YOUR HEART ON YOUR SLEEVE” IS MORE THAN JUST A PHRASE.

In the Middle Ages, young men and women drew names to see who their Valentine would be. They would wear the name pinned to their sleeve for one week so that everyone would know their supposed true feelings.

Source:  KATHLEEN DAVIS DEC 15, 2016 -Woman’s Day