Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Dan Berger: Tabletop Chemistry

 You're browsing the wine aisle in your local supermarket or wine shop and see a bottle that looks interesting. And the back label carries purple prose about how superb the wine's fruit is.

        But not all wine label text is accurate. What if the "dramatic fruit" the label says really refers to prunes? We all have bought wines that don't appeal to us. What then?     
        Buying wines that fail to deliver what we want is a sad scenario. It happened to me not long ago with a $30 bottle of syrah. Although it wasn't very good, I resorted to an old trick, which saved the day and the wine.

        The problem was that it was a little high in alcohol, so it burned the mouth and throat and was slightly sweet from an alcohol level that tasted like it was close to 16%. (The label said 14.5%.)

        So, I added about a tablespoon of spring water to our glasses. Voila! both problems faded. 

        Purists might be aghast at the notion of doctoring our wine, but we weren't about to drink it the way it was. This solved two problems. It didn't alter the wine's aroma, other than to make it fruitier.

        A word of caution: take care when using tap water, which may contain chlorine that will change wine negatively. The same with ice cubes, a strategy that works especially well on hot days.

        Putting chocolate sauce into your cabernet is a bit radical, to be sure, but adding a little water isn't very invasive.

        Decades ago, I knew a woman who added a little sugar to her bone-dry white wine from France and she was happy with the result. And there are other tabletop chemistry ideas here as well.

        For the last 60 years or so, a drink from France called Kir has been a popular aperitif, especially when a white wine is too tart. The wine gets a tiny dose (emphasis on the word "tiny") of either creme de cassis or blackberry liqueur, or occasionally some other fruit-flavored brandy.

        This same tactic also works to enliven the neutral taste of inexpensive, ordinary sparkling wines. Such drinks are called Kir Royale. 

        And what to do when a wine is too soft and lacking in acid? Each of us differs in the way we perceive acid and sugar. And it's easy to determine if a wine is right for our palates: just take a sip. If the wine seems flabby, another trick we often use is to add a tiny bit of citric acid to our glasses, to help wines that lack the proper acidity.

        Citric acid may be bought from canning suppliers. A quarter teaspoon of citric acid stirred into a four-ounce glass won't change the aroma or taste of a wine, but will make it a bit crisper, allowing it to work better with food.

        Also, some restaurants serve red wines far too warm, so we often ask for an ice bucket. The idea is not to chill the wine, just to get it closer to the "cellar temperature" that's more appropriate for proper enjoyment.

        I've often been chided by waiters, who think I'm a heathen for wanting my red wine "chilled," but it's they who are wrong to tell me what I should do with the wine I'm buying, usually at their inflated prices.

        A final tip: a winemaker friend once told me that when he encounters a sauvignon blanc with no particular aroma, he adds "a drop of Tabasco," he said. "But not two. That's usually too much." 
        Wine of the Week: 2020 Terzini Pecorino, Abruzzo ($15) -- This delightful light, crisp dry white wine from Italy is made from a grape variety that sounds very much like the cheese that's spelled the same way. Instead, it's a grape that offers beautiful hints of white peach and minerals and has elegance and charm with only 13.5% alcohol and no oak contact. It is crisp enough to work with seafood, in particular shellfish. 

        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


1 comment:

Krusatyr said...

Fresh squeezed lime juice and ice makes flat whites tolerable, especially with fish tacos. And you can do it in shades and shorts, summerly.

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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.

Note: Security provided by INS.

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