Too many times we diminish our home life.
I’m talking dinnertime.
We choose economy cuts of meat to prepare.
We choose less expensive wines to drink.
To save money.
When we eat at home.
I go opposite.
To save money.
At home I eat lobsters and Prime-Aged sirloin. (A touch of hyperbole here.)
The best quality foods and usually the easiest to prepare.
The finest cuts of meat work fine with simple grilling.
Stew meats prefer more complex treatments.
And I drink finer wines at home.
I love a glass of champagne before dinner.
The real French stuff.
I buy splits. They are a glass and a quarter. They are hard to find.
How does this save money?
Restaurants are always alluring.
A night away from the kitchen.
Steaks and lobsters.
In restaurants, I eschew expensive bottles of wine, ordering wine by the glass.
And if I don’t care for the selection, I will make love to a gin and tonic;
or a gin chilled and served in a martini glass.
By eating and drinking better at home than I do in restaurants, I reduce the pull of dining-out by two of the allures: the fine wines and the prime food products.
Which reduces the number of times I decide I need to eat out.
Which saves a number of monstrous restaurant bills.
Lobsters, steaks, and fine wine at home.
Today’s post, found below, deals with the mechanics of holding a glass to look at the wine.
Today is Tuesday, July 3, 2018
Good morning, my friends.
This is my eighty-sixth consecutive daily posting.
It’s 5.20am and the heat wave continues.
On the screen: Cabaret is a 1972 American musical drama film directed by Bob Fosse and starring Liza Minnelli, Michael York, and Joel Grey.
Situated in Berlin during the Weimar Republic in 1931, under the presence of the growing Nazi Party, the film is loosely based on the 1966 Broadway musical Cabaret by Kander and Ebb, which was adapted from the novel The Berlin Stories / Goodbye to Berlin (1939) by Christopher Isherwood and the 1951 play I Am a Camera adapted from the same book.
After the box office failure of his film version of Sweet Charity in 1969, Bob Fosse bounced back with Cabaret in 1972, a year that would make him the most honored director in the movie business.
The film also brought Liza Minnelli, the daughter of Judy Garland and Vincente Minnelli, her own first chance to sing on screen, and she won the Academy Award for Best Actress.
With Academy Awards for Best Supporting Actor (Joel Grey), Best Cinematography, Best Art Direction, Best Sound, Best Original Song Score and Adaptation, and Best Film Editing, it holds the record for most Oscars earned by a film not honored for Best Picture.
It is listed as number 367 on Empire’s 500 greatest films of all time.
Cabaret opened to glowing reviews and strong box office, eventually taking in more than $20 million.
In addition to its eight Oscars, it won Best Picture citations from the National Board of Review and the Hollywood Foreign Press Association and took Best Supporting Actor honors for Grey from the National Board of Review, the Hollywood Foreign Press, and the National Society of Film Critics.
Straight out of Wikipedia.
I’m at my desk.
Dinner is Chicken with Shallot and Artichokes. Yesterday I steamed the artichokes and peeled the shallots. And the butcher cut my chicken into 16 pieces for me. Today I’ll assemble it all and then braise it.
I’ve tweaked the recipe to eliminate frying the chicken. I think the frying dries the chicken unnecessarily.
I’ also playing with the Web Site's 'Travel' entry, including changing the name of the page to Auto Trip.
Today’s post is an excerpt from the first chapter of “Wines by the Glass,” published here for the first time.
We discuss the physical acts of examining the wine, from holding the glass to swirling it while looking at the visuals of the wine.
We’ll start our enjoyment and examination of the wine as it pours out of the bottle, twisting and jerking, brilliantly catching the light at hundreds of different angles, each facet exposed for a millisecond.
We might catch flashes of blue, straw, garnet or any of the hues that contribute to the color of the wine.
I find the sound of the gurgling liquid juicy and pleasurable.
POSITION THE GLASS
Take the glass by the stem and set it where it is most comfortable to reach.
I like to keep my arm rested on the table’s edge to take weight off my shoulder.
The distance from my elbow to my hand is the distance I choose to keep the glass when not actually examining or drinking from it.
Being lefty, I keep it on the left side of the dinner plate, usually even with the top rim of the dinner plate.
THE LIGHT SOURCE and the BACKDROP
Since nothing is seen without light, we must next locate a light source, perhaps the overhead light or the table light, or another source.
Opposite the light source, find a suitable background that might add illumination to the wine. A white tablecloth is convenient.
Establishing these touch points, we can manipulate the glass to create a light-play with the wine.
Keeping the wine at its resting-place, we’ll look at the wine for the second time.
(We may note here that wine tasting is like looking at art. We’re not clock-watching.)
To permit the light to play on and through the wine, tilt the glass so it rests on the edge of its bottom rim, first right and left, then forward and backwards, then rotate it. Observe the reflection, transparency, hues, and intensity from this distance.
Moving the glass around takes little physical effort.
Our arm and wrist may stay still.
We’ll use just our fingers to move the glass.
Talk about cool!
This is just a casual observation that’ll take six to twelve seconds.
The pause to appreciate our the awareness of the beauty of the wine and our good fortune to be sitting in front of a glass of such lovely liquid, is more important than gleaning anything specific from the wine.
Ursula Le Guin, in The Left Hand of Darkness, "It is good to have an end to journey towards; but it is the journey that matters, in the end."
RAISING THE GLASS FOR A BETTER LOOK
Having established the source of light and the best backdrop, let’s manipulate the glass to create a light-play with the wine.
Take the glass from its resting-place and hold it at horizontally at chest level, above our dinner plate.
Observe the wine from its shallow at the glass rim to its deep bowl.
The light reflects off the surface and illuminates the depth of the wine.
The tint that the bowl of the wine reveals is almost always different from the tint that shows at its rim.
Notice the gradations of the tints from the bowl to the rim of the wine.
At the rim, the color will most visibly surrender its telltale signs of maturity.
Examine the wine’s intensity and its transparency.
Look for its shadow on the tablecloth and ask if that adds anything to your conclusions.
Here we may share our observations with our company.
Or we may understandably disconnect and focus on the wine.
Our company will understand our moment away from amiable chatter if they are not interested in sharing the experience.
We won’t go through this detailed visual analysis every time we want a sip of wine.
But as tasters of life we want to enjoy the look of the wine every time we reach for the glass.
Make every movement confidently.
We know why we’re manipulating the glass.
We know why we’re taking time.
If we happen to be more serious than the next person is, so be it.
We’re a bit more cool.
Can’t help it.
Make every movement gracefully.
No need to move the glass precipitously or jerkily or in any way that begs attention.
Don’t bend over the glass.
Don’t be dramatic in any way.
Develop a working wine-vocabulary.
Wine salespeople at creditable wine stores will be a starting point.
Written wine descriptions by the host store will add a lot.
Go to Wikipedia.
Maybe one of our dinner companions can help.
Any educated person will instantly warm up to a beginner who respectfully seeks knowledge. Novices provide a great forum for the accomplished taster to show their stuff and in turn, they provide a great learning opportunity.
A FINAL VISUAL NOTE: LEGS
So a glass of sweet wine is poured.
A glass of sweet wine is almost always a little bit smaller than a dry, say 3oz for the sweet v 5oz for a dry.
Keeping the base of the glass flat on the table rapidly move the glass in small circular motions, causing the wine to spin around the inside of the glass.
Abruptly stop the movement and holding the glass upright, raise it without delay to just above eye level. When the glass stops swirling, most of the wine falls to the bottom of the bowl.
But the layer of wine on the plane of the glass clings to the sides of the glass and forms about a dozen rivulets which stream slowly to the bottom where they rejoin the body of the wine.
These rivulets are the wine's "legs.”
The quality of the wine's legs are judged by the time it takes for the little rivulets to slide down glass – the longer the better, since the premise is that a slower moving wine is richer in alcohol and sugar.
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