April 2013

Wine writing

wine‘Nice’. ‘Very nice’. Or ‘not so nice’. That’s how I describe a wine. I either like it, like it a lot, or not. Although I admire poetic descriptions such as ‘deep garnet hues with a brilliant ruby sparkle, a full body and flashes of amber’, I wouldn’t have a clue what it means. Also, I probably lack creativity because my answer when asked the colour of my drink is a simple ‘red’ or ‘white’.

Seriously, how do they come up with stuff like ‘The bouquet is both pleasing and intense with aromatic notes of violets and oregano’? I thought wine was supposed to taste of grapes, not of flowers or herbs. Then again, I’m probably not the right person to ask about taste as I’d happily put an ice cube in a glass of white when I’ve forgotten to store the bottle in the fridge (a cardinal sin according to the real connoisseurs).

The Cornwall Today wine tasting at Scarlet Wines in Lelant (near St Ives) is the perfect opportunity to brush up my non-existing vino knowledge and to finally make an attempt to drink reds instead of declaring them ‘not nice’ before even trying. Together with some lucky CT readers and writers we’re sampling five different ones, all provided by Cornwall’s wine expert Jon Keast.

Tentatively sipping the first white, The Flower and the Bee, Treixadura 2011, Ribeiro, I initially describe it as very nice. However, my creativity improves as the amount of the wine decreases. When the aperitif is finished, I suddenly know it: Bradley Cooper. The content of my glass is fun, pleasant on the eye, smells good and tastes very yummy, just like I imagine the man would (especially after seeing him in The Hangover).  It’ll most likely make great company on a sunny summer afternoon – both the guy and the drink.

However, when I explain my brilliant comparison, my fellow tasters don’t seem too impressed. In fact, they look like I said something weird. Apparently it’s not cool in wine world to compare the stuff you’re drinking to male movie stars. As the evening proceeds I learn three more interesting vino facts:
1. Twirling the glass around before you smell the wine isn’t only done to look sophisticated, but also so you can judge the nose better (technique tried and tested).
2. There are so many more wine colour nuances than just red and white (actually, this is quite logical seeing as even a boring colour such as grey already has 50 shades).
3. It does make a difference what food you eat when drinking a wine – a good pairing choice can complement the flavours of both meal and drink. (However, finding the perfect match is a lot more complicated than just choosing red with meat and fish with white).

At the end of the tasting, we’ve also tried a Domaine Gayda Viognier 2011, Languedoc (a very likable and exotic white one with an almost magical colour), a De Loach Heritage Reserve Pinot Noir 2011, California (smooth, sultry, seductive and way better tasting than I thought it would considering it’s a red wine), a Cien y Pico Bobal, Spain (a dark red that is way too robust and potent – guaranteed to knock me out after half a bottle ) and we finish with a Graham Beck Rhona Muscadelle, South Africa (a sweet & slick dessert wine, which just tastes too good to be true and can best be enjoyed in little sips).

Or, in other words, Bradley Cooper has been joined by Orlando Bloom, Antonio Banderas, Sylvester Stallone and Justin Timberlake. Now that’s what I call creative wine writing.

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