Tuesday, October 12, 2021

Dan Berger: New Rules

 The conventional wisdom that has pervaded the wine-loving community for the last several decades could very well be updated by newer rules that make more sense.

But for reasons that are unclear to me, the new rules have never been widely disseminated.

One of those old "rules," in which we talk about serving white wines with fish and red wines with meat, has long since been debunked as ridiculous. There are so many exceptions to that generalization that it simply doesn't make any particular sense.

Sea bass is a fish, but "sea bass Veracruz," made with olives and tomatoes, likely would be best with a medium weight merlot or a pinot noir.

Other new rules are not quite as obviously incorrect. For instance, the old "rule" about aging all wine bottles on their side to keep their corks moist (so they don't dry out) is still a sound idea, but Champagne and other sparkling wines probably ought to be kept standing upright.

Several sparkling winemakers told me this over the last few years. They say that keeping a Champagne cork wet for years actually might compress it so much that it loses its elasticity and could allow oxygen into the bottle.

Another old rule is that white wine should be served well chilled. Although this is probably fine for certain wines, such as those with residual sugar such as riesling or gewerztraminer, wines such as chardonnay and many Loire Valley Sauvignon Blancs are best served just cool.

Similarly, red wines probably should never to be served at "room temperature," especially if the room is at 75 or 80 degrees. I believe red wines taste much better at around 60 or 65 degrees, meaning that you probably have been served red wines in restaurants that simply are too warm to enjoy.

Pulling the cork on a bottle of wine to let it "breathe" is yet another ancient rule that makes no sense at all. The tiny amount of air that gets to the wine through the small neck of the bottle is negligible. To help a wine breathe, decant it.

Decanting is also at the heart of another myth, that old wines should be aerated by decanting. Old wines tend to be fragile and are most susceptible to oxidation. This is only accelerated if you decant them. 

The older a wine is, the more you should consider not decanting it at all, except perhaps to pour it off any sediment that's in the bottle -- and then plan to consume it as quickly as you can, before oxygen ruins it.

Another silly old rule is that older wines are better than younger ones. Such generalizations make no sense. Some wines are at their absolute best when they are young, and others probably shouldn't be consumed until they're 10 years old. Each wine has its own aging cycle, and knowing a lot about wine helps you to know when to enjoy it at its peak.

And there are no particular rules that are general enough to apply here. Beaujolais, for instance, is typically made to be consumed quite young, but several quality Beaujolais are intended to be aged for two to four years.

Wine of the Week: 2019 Foppiano Sauvignon Blanc, Russian River Valley ($20) -- The aroma of this attractive medium weight white wine leans a little bit on kiwi fruit, citrus, and tangerine, and the mid palate is relatively lush and textured, but the acid is high enough to make it a superb companion to seafood. The winery suggests that it be served lightly chilled.    

To find out more about Dan Berger and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate webpage at www.creators.com.



Anonymous said...

Is the wine of the week one that Mississippians are allowed to buy?

J'etait Charles Martel said...

Great pairing: sauternes and pate.

Lets go brAndon!

Anonymous said...

I was taught that the choice of wine should be determined by the sauce the food will be served with. So, yes, sometimes a lighter red wine will be the better choice for fish being served with heavier, earthier sauces. Had that once in France. Similarly, if the sauces your food will be served with are spicy, then the fruitier the wine you will want so as not to conflict with the sauce. So no dry Rieslings, but the fruitier ones will go well. True about the temperature for red wines and whites. If a red wine is warm or cold, it has not been properly kept. They are best kept at a cool temperature. Whites, well, depends on the grape involved. A good Rose (there is such a thing, and it is not white Zinfandel) is usually better cool than cold. The whole thing about wine is to store it and serve it at a temperature that brings out all of its character, and to match it with the flavor of the food being served. That usually means the flavor of the sauces involved.

Bill Dees said...

@8:57 PM. Good luck on finding a Sauterne in Mississippi.

Anonymous said...

@Bill Dees. Leslie at Briarwood almost always has a great selection of desert wines, including Sauterne. I have also seen Sauterne at Colony Wine, Fondren Cellars, Walker's, CAET's, and Koestler Prime.

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Trollfest '07 was such a success that Jackson Jambalaya will once again host Trollfest '09. Catch this great event which will leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Othor Cain and his band, The Black Power Structure headline the night while Sonjay Poontang returns for an encore performance. Former Frank Melton bodyguard Marcus Wright makes his premier appearance at Trollfest singing "I'm a Sweet Transvestite" from "The Rocky Horror Picture Show." Kamikaze will sing his new hit, “How I sold out to da Man.” Robbie Bell again performs: “Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be Bells” and “Any friend of Ed Peters is a friend of mine”. After the show, Ms. Bell will autograph copies of her mug shot photos. In a salute to “Dancing with the Stars”, Ms. Bell and Hinds County District Attorney Robert Smith will dance the Wango Tango.

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This is definitely a Beaver production.

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Jackson Jambalaya is the home of Trollfest '07. Catch this great event which promises to leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Sonjay Poontang and his band headline the night with a special steel cage, no time limit "loser must leave town" bout between Alan Lange and "Big Cat"Donna Ladd following afterwards. Kamikaze will perform his new song F*** Bush, he's still a _____. Did I mention there was no referee? Dr. Heddy Matthias and Lori Gregory will face off in the undercard dueling with dangling participles and other um, devices. Robbie Bell will perform Her two latest songs: My Best Friends are in the Media and Mama's, Don't Let Your Babies Grow up to be George Bell. Sid Salter of The Clarion-Ledger will host "Pin the Tail on the Trial Lawyer", sponsored by State Farm.

There will be a hugging booth where in exchange for your young son, Frank Melton will give you a loooong hug. Trollfest will have a dunking booth where Muhammed the terrorist will curse you to Allah as you try to hit a target that will drop him into a vat of pig grease. However, in the true spirit of Separate But Equal, Don Imus and someone from NE Jackson will also sit in the dunking booth for an equal amount of time. Tom Head will give a reading for two hours on why he can't figure out who the hell he is. Cliff Cargill will give lessons with his .80 caliber desert eagle, using Frank Melton photos as targets. Tackleberry will be on hand for an autograph session. KIM Waaaaaade will be passing out free titles and deeds to crackhouses formerly owned by The Wood Street Players.

If you get tired come relax at the Fox News Tent. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both will entitle you to free drinks.Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required, just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '07 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.

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