I’ve been average.
Over my lifetime I’ve had some great things happen to me, some of which I’ve deserved; some, not so much.
Over my lifetime, I’ve also had my share of eating shit.
Dom’s sold a lot of wine, in the early days, all of it French.
When Toni and I decided to spend a summer in France studying wine and food, (seriously, we thought we had to in order to run a better business,) our wine supplier, we used only one, Classic Wines, supplied us with letters of introduction to the various producers whose wines they imported and we carried on our list.
We based our trip around these vineyards/wineries, located in the Rhone valley, Burgundy, Bordeaux, Alsace, the Loire Valley, and Champagne – Am I forgetting any?
Toni had compiled a list of ‘must try’ French dishes that we checked off as we traveled.
Can you say Great Things?
Night after night we ate in the best Michelin-rated restaurants, often in the company of the winemakers (and sometimes as guests of,) although sometimes we were their dinner guests, and once, at the Deutz champagne house in a setting worthy of Downton Abbey.
Day after day learned about the viticulture and vinification of French wines.
And we tasted:
Cahors that were 100 years old. (Unfortunately, Cahors does not improve too much with age.)
A horizontal tasting of Remoissenet burgundies, just Toni and I and M. Remoissenet.
Did you know that he had then a wine cellar of over 1,000,000 bottles?
Or that he owned the largest yacht in Europe?
Alsatian wines vinified or aged in wood; in glass; in stainless steel.
Sometimes with our sons in tow; sometimes Toni and I alone.
Now there is a gastronomic experience burned into memory.
Oh well, you can’t lose them all.
Unless you’re the Baltimore Orioles.
Today’s posting, Wine by the Glass deals with the art of smelling the wine.
Web Site Tweak: The Bouillabaisse recipe -- clarifying when to make the mashed potatoes, increasing the amount of potatoes, and reducing the water component.
And I also posted a couple of images to the recipe page in the ongoing campaign to improve the blog.
Kind of amazing how our readership is growing.
A quiz: Do you know which of these is not a grape type: chardonnay; cabernet sauvignon; rognons; passerine; muscat; nebbiolo?
Find answer just before main post.
Who was Ernest Gallo?
His grandparents immigrated from Italy to the United States.
His father was Giuseppe Gallo, a.k.a. Joseph, and his mother, Assunta Bianco Gallo, a.k.a. Susie.
Together with his uncle Michael, his father ran the Gallo Wine Company, a wine distribution company.
His mother's family, the Biancos, were winemakers.
In the 1920s, his parents purchased a farm near Modesto, California, and sold their grapes.
On June 21, 1933, his father shot his mother and killed himself.
Ernest Gallo was born in Jackson, California, on March 18, 1909. In 1933, he and his brother, Julio, founded E. & J. Gallo Winery using $5,900 in borrowed cash.
They built an empire by shaping American drinking tastes with inexpensive, non-vintage wines.
With Ernest handling the marketing and Julio serving as the winemaker, the two introduced 16 brands of wine and cornered more than 25 percent of the American market.
The company, which owned nearly half of the vineyard acreage in California, had annual revenues of about $1 billion.
Today is Saturday, July 28, 2018
Good morning, my friends.
This is my 110th consecutive daily posting.
It’s 5.41 and we’re in for another hot day with a chance of rain later n the day in Boston.
I’m at my desk.
Dinner is Bouillabaisse again.
WIKIPEDIA’S SUMMARY OF WHAT’S PLAYING:
“Sideways” is a 2004 American black comedy drama film directed by Alexander Payne and written by Jim Taylor and Payne.
A film adaptation of Rex Pickett's novel of the same name, “Sideways” follows two men in their forties, Miles Raymond (Paul Giamatti), a depressed teacher and unsuccessful writer, and Jack Cole (Thomas Haden Church), a past-his-prime actor, who take a week-long road trip to Santa Barbara County wine country to celebrate Jack's upcoming wedding.
Sandra Oh and Virginia Madsen also star.
The film premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival on September 13, 2004, and was released in the United States on October 22, 2004.
Payne and Taylor won multiple awards for their screenplay, with the cast also receiving accolades for their performances.
Sideways won the Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay, and was also nominated for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Supporting Actor (Haden Church) and Best Supporting Actress (Madsen).
Call for Help:
Hey, my friends.
Looking for a research assistant to work on short biographies of people our readers will be interested in.
Email me @ firstname.lastname@example.org for details.
It’s a non-paying participation.
Answers to the quiz: a passerine is an order of birds characterized by the perching habit: includes the larks, finches, crows, thrushes, starlings; and rognons is the French for kidneys or a small rounded mass of rock usually embedded in rock of a different type
AROMAS AND BOUQUET: An INTRODUCTION
Smelling the wine is a revealing and pleasurable sensory experience -- the nose is the most perceptive of the senses.
The variety and concentration of the wine's aromas far exceeds any other of its physical properties.
To the novice wine taster the concept of smelling for information and pleasure is disconcerting – in no other experience is the olfactory system called upon to process the clues and transmit the information we seek in smelling the wine.
Don’t be discouraged.
With a little background, some vocabulary, a detailed guide through the process, AND a little practice we will develop our olfactory sense rapidly.
To begin, a brief understanding of the way our olfactory system works will clarify some of the mechanical steps we'll be discussing shortly.
We detect odors as they pass over the olfactory region, a small remote area locate high up in our nasal cavities, immediately adjacent to our brain.
To reach our olfactory region, which is where our odor-sensing nerve endings are located, odors must first pass either directly through the nasal cavity of our nostrils or indirectly through the retronasal passage in our mouths.
As it passes through either passage, the air is warmed and filtered.
Due to the long trip and to the millimeter slit through which all odors must pass to reach the olfactory region, only a small portion of odorous gasses ever penetrate to the olfactory region.
When we have colds and the mucous membranes lining the nasal cavities swell, almost no odor reaches our olfactory regions.
Because of this remote location, analysis by smell requires that we inhale more forcefully than we do for normal breathing.
Knowing that, let’s swirl and sniff.
Swirling the wine in the glass helps to release its odors by the movement itself and by the increased exposure of the wine's surface to the air.
The movement helps to vaporize some odorous constituents of the wine, making more of them accessible to our sense of smell.
And as the wine swirls, it coats the inside of the glass with a thin layer of wine, thus greatly increasing the amount of surface of the wine exposed to the air where the oxygen enhances the evaporation of the odorous constituents of the exposed wine, adding to the odorous vapors released by the movement.
Now the well-designed wine glass comes into its own. Not only do the sides of the glass, which narrow at the top, prevent the wine from spilling out during the swirling, but the funneling effect created by the narrow top of the glass traps and gathers these odorous gases, setting them up for our noses to draw them to our olfactory region.
To swirl the wine, hold the glass by the base of the stem and, keeping it on the table, rotate the glass quickly in three or four small circles. The wine will whirl around the inside of the glass in anticipation of its examination.
Normal inhalation will bring few odorous substances to the olfactory region.
To effectively draw a substantial quantity of the wine's odorous constituents up into the higher reaches of the nasal cavities, we must stick our nose into the glass and use one or two forceful sniffs, powerful enough to propel the gases along their arduous journey from the glass through our noses past the narrow slit and into our olfactory regions.
What we are smelling are the minute particles of wine transformed from a liquid state into a gaseous state by evaporation through exposure, warmth, or movement.
Some particles of wine, usually with lighter molecular weight, vaporize simply upon coming in contact with air.
Some particles need to be warmed up before they can vaporize.
Others may be jarred into vaporization by swirling, by shaking the glass, or even by the escaping carbon dioxide of sparkling wines.
A wine whose chemical constituents pass off readily in the form of vapor is said to be volatile.
White wines are generally more volatile than red wines so the wine vaporizes readily even when chilled, an important reason why whites can be served cold without losing their bouquet.
One note of caution. While it's necessary to swirl the wine to encourage its volatility, excessive swirling may dissipate some of vapors before they can be examined or appreciated.
On the other hand, there are times when a vigorous swirling, and even shaking, is called for, as when a wine is poured that is undeveloped (i.e. has not aged enough in the bottle) and will not release its fruit odors.
Often a vigorous shaking will cause the volatilization of these other desirable aromas.
At other times, certain undesirable odors such as sulfur or bottle stink may plague a wine.
A vigorous swirling may be an effective tool to dissipate these unwanted smells.
Some wines are highly volatile by composition and the explosive character of their evaporation penetrates the nasal cavity without much sniffing required.
Sparkling wines are penetrating because of the release of carbon dioxide which rises up from the wine's surface raising odorous elements with it.
The same characteristics may often cause a prickling on the nose which is typical for a sparkling wine but may be a negative indicator for a still wine.
Two common problems of smelling wine are worth discussing before we proceed: the fatigue of our olfactory nerve endings and the ever-changing composition of the wine's bouquet.
Adaptation is the decreasing ability of our olfactory receptor organ to respond to an odor due to its intensity and length of exposure.
People in a room with a pervasive odor simply stop noticing it, although a newcomer entering the room may respond quite vigorously to it.
This is the reason we limit our sniffing to one or two short sniffs: an overly-lengthy enthusiastic inhalation is counter-productive.
We need about thirty seconds before repeating our one or two short forceful sniffs – the pause permitting the region to clear out any lingering odors.
The ephemeral nature of the wine's bouquet also causes problems for the novice wine taster.
A light red wine is light red as it pours out of the bottle and it remains light red if it sits in the glass for several hours or several days waiting to be consumed.
While the brilliance, tint, and intensity of the wine are fixed, the bouquet of the wine is the opposite.
The wine's bouquet begins with a puff, a fleeting whiff of fragrance which, pent up by the cork, escapes and dissipates almost immediately after opening.
But as the puff fades, the first dominant aromas of the wine present themselves, creating the first major change in the bouquet.
Continued exposure to air gradually brings the wine to its peak, wherein the greatest number of aromas are released into the atmosphere and the wine's bouquet is at its fullest.
With more aeration and the fading of some of the wine’s olfactory elements, the wine displays other pleasing aromas masked by the presence of the higher-toned, more volatile elements.
Every minute of exposure or degree of change of temperature presents a slightly different combination and interplay of aromas and the resulting changed bouquet.
The wine’s bouquet is far from a stationery target.
But, undaunted, we swirl and sniff, registering our perception of the first dominant aroma which grows in intensity as it engulfs our olfactory region, peaks, then fades; a process lasting several seconds.
In half a minute our senses are refreshed and we return to the glass and repeat the process.
This time the dominant aroma is familiar to us, so we're able to smell past it and recognize a different aroma.
For as long as there is wine in the glass, we smell the glass every time we raise it to drink, enjoying newly awakened aromas and ever changing combinations of aromas.
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