Sunday, January 30, 2011

Look at Those Legs!

"A meal without wine is like a day without sunshine."
-The Physiology of Taste

I wish my budget could allow a "day of sunshine" with every meal. Fortunately, whenever I do have wine, it makes the indulgence all the more enjoyable. Over the past few months, I've started to take a greater interest in it. Prior, I tended to just drink it without knowing much. I knew the types and brands I liked, but I didn't know how it was made or how to determine quality and develop a taste. I'm still a "wine dummie" by all means and consider myself an "amateur" lover of the libation. Still, I've made it a goal to learn more. I started buying it to keep in the house, instead of buying a single bottle to drink for one specific night. And even then, I'm only able to keep about two bottles on the rack at a time; the most I kept was three. An investment in nice wine glasses was a must too, so this past Fall I marched over to the mall with a $25 Dillards gift card unused from the previous Christmas and was even willing to pay the difference. About a week past before one was inevitably broken and replaced by another with a similar shape totalling two dollars at the liquor store down the street. My sister, Beth and I have this inside joke that our book club should also double as a wine club, but so far, it could really be called, "Beth and Michael drink wine at every book club" club. I got a wine calendar for Christmas. It was a present from the dog. Gracie knows what I'm about. Each day provides tips and facts, so the learning process can soak in gradually. I treat this calendar like I treat all calendars: three to five days pass before I glance at the refrigerator, where it's stuck by a magnet, and then catch up to the right day. This usually happens bleary-eyed in the morning as I'm getting cream out for coffee I haven't had yet, so I'll read the daily contributions all at once with my brain half-functioning to where the information is barely processed. If I'm feeling particularly proactive, I'll go back and re-read them later, but only if I remember. I really do have the best of intentions.

The only resource for my wine education

Wine glass fail. I wasn't drunk. Promise ; )
Over the years, my taste has favored heavy reds. Of the varietals, my favorite is Cabernet, followed by Zinfandel, Shiraz, and if I'm in the mood for something lighter, Pinot Noir. I also like Spanish and Chilean reds if my budget allows. I've been meaning to try more French reds. One day. Some whites are refreshing and crisp in the Spring and Summer. If I have white, I usually go for a Sauvignon or Pinot. I've been reading some wine blogs too and have thought about giving an amateur review myself, so here it goes:

I bought a Cabernet this week. The brand is Guenoc, which is now Langry Estate and Vineyards. You can read more about it on that link, because the website would describe it far better than I ever could pretend to. Beth brought it to a book club back in September per a suggestion from a wine guy at the liquor store she went to. Since then, it's become one of my favorite Cabs. So, I've had it before, but this week I did a tasting utilizing my limited knowledge I've gathered over the past few months. The $11.99 price is nothing to scoff at given the quality. It calculates at 14.5% Alc. The bottle is sealed with a regular cork. I opened it, did my tasting, forgot to let it breathe for the standard 20-30 minutes to let the tannins mellow, actually did that impatiently, and then re-tasted. With a swirl, I waited eagerly. You've got some nice legs there, Guenoc Cab. On the nose, I get a distinct fruity aroma with an ever so slight earth hint. On the palate, the smell translates, with black cherry notes as the most present, and I swear I taste just a bit of blackberry, but could be wrong. There's a subtle firmness with low acidity. A problem I have is telling the difference between tannic and acidic, and I can say for certain this one is much more the former than the latter. It's not too overpowering, providing a nice, smooth ending, yet is still hearty enough. A nice balance and texture. It went well with the zucchini baked spaghetti I made that night. While cooking, I couldn't wait and had a glass during the dishes' lengthy bake time. It's a wine that's good both on its own or with food, and during any occasion, like spending an evening with pasta, wine, and Matt Saracen, which is exactly what I did.

Definitely recommend this one. Cheers!

The zucchini baked spaghetti (with green pepper and onion), because I'm pretty proud of its success.


  1. Nice job identifying the legs. Was that the baked spag you brought into work last week, or did you make it again?

  2. Yup that's it - zucchini and all!

  3. It's the same one. This was last Wednesday night. If I made it again, I would be flooded in pasta! It makes so much. I still have a little left over with two people eating on it, and a week has almost passed.

    I'm a leg man when it comes to wine ;) Bad pun?