Tuesday, May 10, 2022

Dan Berger: The Importance of Regions

 There is a regional authenticity to certain food and beverage products, which is one reason that we make distinctions between the different coffees coming from Brazil, Ethiopia or Hawaii.

And it's why coffees from such special places cost more than blended coffees from unnamed places.

The regionality a site imparts to certain agricultural products is one reason producers add value to certain products, including exalted examples of specialty cheeses, hams, balsamic vinegars, beef and of course, wines.

Most people are content to purchase commodity products that serve the most basic purpose: nutrition. They don't miss the distinctiveness they would get in more expensive, regionally produced products. They don't often say, "I'm happy to pay more for a more distinctive product."

True wine lovers are willing to move up. In their exclusive world, the region plays a significant role in how the beverage delivers its uniqueness, a kind of charisma.

It starts with the macro-ness of climate. Grapevines grown in hot climates generally don't make sublime wines because they have less time on the vine to develop vine-ripened flavors, much like tomatoes, berries and tree fruits.

The cooler a region is, to some degree, the more the taste of place can add elements that provide a more distinguishing personality.

Fine wine can differ from (usually cheaper) formulated products, in which uniformity is an essential factor. Food producers want the ketchup we buy to be exactly the same from year to year. To people who make soft drinks, mayonnaise, canned chicken soup and margarine, uniqueness is anathema. Sameness is mandatory.

But wine lovers know that differences matter. It is one reason that we revere sauvignon blancs from Sancerre, Marlborough, Chile and Bordeaux. They all differ from one another either slightly or greatly -- and that's their charm!

One of the finest olive oils I ever tasted came from the gorgeous Italian coastal region Liguria. As I later learned, a good Ligurian oil is difficult to find in this country. The Ligurian oil I loved was tasted in Italy. Those that I purchased here, despite high prices, were dull -- not worth what I paid. I vowed to go back to Italy and bring back a dozen Ligurian oils.

A friend who lives in Hawaii sent me a pound of 100% Kona coffee. I visited Hawaii 25 years ago and first experienced how great Kona is. My friend's gift reminded me of Kona's specialness. When you buy a "Kona blend" coffee, chances are you won't get much Kona-ness.

Any study of wine should include an understanding of what each grape variety does best in the different places they grow worldwide

It's why cabernet sauvignon from Napa Valley commands such a high price. Many people believe it's the best place to grow cabernet, and that cabernets from elsewhere are mere pretenders.

But Napa no longer is what it was decades ago. Extremely knowledgeable people will tell you the best cabernets now come from Sonoma County, Washington's Columbia Valley, Australia, British Columbia or other locations that are perfectly suited for that grape in today's climate-changing world.

To look at how regions impact flavors in wine, pick up any wine encyclopedia, taking careful note of its publishing date. Times change and wine styles now are based on new weather patterns.

Wine of the Week: 2018 Querciabella Chianti Classico, DOCG ($33) -- A simply classic example of how the Sangiovese grape can perform in northern Tuscany, where Chianti is king. This terrific wine is 100% of the primary group and was aged in a combination of upright wooden bats and small oak cooperage. The aroma is classic Chianti, and the wine has sufficient tartness to work beautifully with any dish containing tomatoes. It is often found a $27 or so.

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. 




Krusatyr said...

I have bought coffee online and in groceries for many decades and enjoyed it, or not, all over Europe. Being a connoisseur of regional specialties is so pricey as to insure fiscal indigestion following its consumption.

Some blends are consistent and dependable, whereas regional boutique
single source coffee or wine can vary batch to batch, year to year.

Starbuck's dark roasts are mostly an Arabica blend, shade grown in volcanic soils, well roasted and properly roasted and packaged to deliver a very satisfying brew, consistently delicious over many years, for a reasonable $8.00 +/- per 12 oz bag. Versus up to $800 per lb for very highly specialized coffee beans!

Starbucks produces stupid politics but brilliant coffee, so I flush the former and drink the latter.

Anonymous said...

Gilligan doesn't understand what Thurston is saying.

Anonymous said...

I'm tired of NYT's food section attributing pimiento cheese to New York. Yankees put cream cheese in it which is totally gross. Every southerner knows cream cheese is made with mayo! And we invented it. So there!

Sorry, I digressed....

Anonymous said...

2:33 : Black Rifle Products all around are the best i've tried outside of coffee I had in Portugal.

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Trollfest '09

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.

Wrestling returns, except this time it will be a Battle Royal with Othor Cain, Ben Allen, Kim Wade, Haley Fisackerly, Alan Lange, and “Big Cat” Donna Ladd all in the ring at the same time. The Battle Royal will be in a steel cage, no time limit, no referee, and the losers must leave town. Marshand Crisler will be the honorary referee (as it gives him a title without actually having to do anything).

Meet KIM Waaaaaade at the Entergy Tent. For five pesos, Kim will sell you a chance to win a deed to a crack house on Ridgeway Street stuffed in the Howard Industries pinata. Don't worry if the pinata is beaten to shreds, as Mr. Wade has Jose, Emmanuel, and Carlos, all illegal immigrants, available as replacements for the it. Upon leaving the Entergy tent, fig leaves will be available in case Entergy literally takes everything you have as part of its Trollfest ticket price adjustment charge.

Donna Ladd of The Jackson Free Press will give several classes on learning how to write. Smearing, writing without factchecking, and reporting only one side of a story will be covered. A donation to pay their taxes will be accepted and she will be signing copies of their former federal tax liens. Ms. Ladd will give a dramatic reading of her two award-winning essays (They received The Jackson Free Press "Best Of" awards.) "Why everything is always about me" and "Why I cover murders better than anyone else in Jackson".

In the spirit of helping those who are less fortunate, Trollfest '09 adopts a cause for which a portion of the proceeds and donations will be donated: Keeping Frank Melton in his home. The “Keep Frank Melton From Being Homeless” booth will sell chances for five dollars to pin the tail on the jackass. John Reeves has graciously volunteered to be the jackass for this honorable excursion into saving Frank's ass. What's an ass between two friends after all? If Mr. Reeves is unable to um, perform, Speaker Billy McCoy has also volunteered as when the word “jackass” was mentioned he immediately ran as fast as he could to sign up.

In order to help clean up the legal profession, Adam Kilgore of the Mississippi Bar will be giving away free, round-trip plane tickets to the North Pole where they keep their bar complaint forms (which are NOT available online). If you don't want to go to the North Pole, you can enjoy Brant Brantley's (of the Mississippi Commission on Judicial Performance) free guided tours of the quicksand field over by High Street where all complaints against judges disappear. If for some reason you are unable to control yourself, never fear; Judge Houston Patton will operate his jail where no lawyers are needed or allowed as you just sit there for minutes... hours.... months...years until he decides he is tired of you sitting in his jail. Do not think Judge Patton is a bad judge however as he plans to serve free Mad Dog 20/20 to all inmates.

Trollfest '09 is a pet-friendly event as well. Feel free to bring your dog with you and do not worry if your pet gets hungry, as employees of the Jackson Zoo will be on hand to provide some of their animals as food when it gets to be feeding time for your little loved one.

Relax at the Fox News Tent. Since there are only three blonde reporters in Jackson (being blonde is a requirement for working at Fox News), Megan and Kathryn from WAPT and Wendy from WLBT will be on loan to Fox. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both and a torn-up Obama yard sign will entitle you to free drinks served by Megan, Wendy, and Kathryn. Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required. Just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '09 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.

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Trollfest '07

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.

Note: Security provided by INS