winePairing for the rest of us

Too much has been written about wine. This column proves it.


June 17, 2006

Myth: One's wine should match one's socks.
Truth: Only if one's socks sparkle like rubies, garnets or amethysts, thrum with the deep, rich hues of an Ethan Allen mohagany sideboard, tease with the puckered gleam of a ripe berry, awe like an angry sunset, or flicker in candlelight like a stream of protein-rich urine. One's wine should also not smell like one's socks, unless one is using a sock filter in home winemaking.

Myth: Dimple depth has nothing to do with the price of wine.
Truth: The dimple is the indentation at the bottom of the bottle. People pay big money for dimples. See here for one proof and see here for another.

Myth: Wine pairings cannot be forecast.
Truth: Nonsense. Watch for my upcoming column on wine pairings and the Zodiac.

For Steve, bottoms up!


This column's under someone's lens, the audience is now in the tens! Thanks to cheap technology and wireless clouds, almost everyone has Internet access. A "Robert C. Bindlestiff, Esq." writes:

What would you pair with a day old package of Ball Park Franks? My friends and I obtained several packages from a dumpster recently. We are on a limited budget, so were considering Aqua Velva, but thought it best to consult you before making a hasty judgment.

Dear Robert, you can't go wrong with two liters of the house wine, The Dog's Bullocks. It's cool, refreshing, and sanitizing: a perfect pairing with cuisine franche and the outdoor lifestyle.

Bottoms up!


The Focus Group

June 31, 2006*

My cousin Emma Cordillera recently divulged how she and her husband Richard once used an impromptu focus group to make a successful wine pairing.

Background: Last January Richard was fired from Nike's Marketing department and simultaneously declared dead by both the State Labor Division and the Social Security Administration. Richard's response was typical: "The Emperor may be a little hot headed but he sure gets things done." While dead, Richard is unable to qualify for work or assistance. "It's been tough, but I've learned so much. Resurrection is really complicated, even with computers. We have to be patient." He and Emma recently joined a church and are considering crossing into Mexico to find employment as undocumented workers.

Last March, when it was still damn cold and wet, the money from Emma's disability check ran out four days before the next check arrived. Emma receives just enough to pay their rent, clothe little Sophia Annabelle, and put a bit of food on the table.** It was dinner time and they were down to half a 64 oz. box of Quaker Oats and three bottles of wine—all reds, the remains of their cellar. They'd shut off the furnace to save money and were burning Sophia's maple highchair in the fireplace to heat the house and provide some cheer.

Emma had joked that she didn't know which wine to serve with rolled oats: the '01 Nebbiolo (dark, tart, tannic and alcoholic, smelling of cherries, violets and truffles, with a rich, chewy, deep and long-lasting flavor); the '98 Crianza (ripe sour-cherry and vanilla aromas and appealing nuances of cinnamon, clove and orange peel, with fresh fruit flavors following the nose); or the '03 organic Zinfandel (hints of blackberry and raspberry; round and graceful with mild tannins).

Richard had a brainstorm. He set the three bottles on the floor in front of Sophia, labels away from her, and said, "Let's let her choose. The light from the fire through the wine and the shape of the bottles will be her guide." Sophia is ambidextrous and unbiased in her reach. They set the Nebbiolo on the left, the Crianza in the center, and the Zin on the right.

"Which one, honey?" they asked her.

Emma said her daughter didn't hesitate. In a blink, she grasped the Nebbiolo and declared "Phia!"

Emma said they'd never had a better meal, and shared just a little of the Nebbiolo with Sophia before bed.

God, doesn't it make you weep. I mean, the Nebbiolo—how perfect. Wisdom from a child, indeed.

Bottoms up!


* A slippery date, difficult to pin down.
** I try to help now and then, but they're ambitiously proud.

The Thirsty Underbelly

June 14, 2006

"The thirsty human underbelly overlaps 75% of our planet. Retailers ignore it at their peril."
 – Annabelle "Absinthe Annie" Cordillera

A real person asks, in response to my last column on pairing port with huevos rancheros:

  What do y’all recommend with toe cheese?

This author was inclined to recommend a fortified varietal such as MD 20/20. However, reliable sources on the SW Portland waterfront* strongly recommend a malted aperitif such as Olde English 800, 40 oz size. Make it a meal by adding BBQ wings, sliced cucumber, and a big chocolate chip cookie.
I may not participate, but do not discriminate.

Bottoms up!


* Mr. Kelly, et al. Conversation, June 2006.


It Turns Out that Wine is Fun!

June 8, 2006

Here's a handy tip from Kurt, the blue collar wine connosieur who, because of his liberal politics, does not believe in discrimination:

When you finally get the kids to bed at the ass end of a long day and you're settling down over a quick plate of heuvos rancheros made with brie, uncork that half-consumed bottle of Yalumba Clocktower port from the dark cupboard over the fridge and pour yourself a jelly jar. Swirl the glass and fill your nostrils with the piquant, no, insouciant, no, downright naughty aromas of cayenne sauce, overeasy eggs, budget brie, and the phat fruity depths of Clocktower (one of the secret bargains of the port world). You'll pat your belly and say to yourself, Well, wasn't that just fine.

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Till next time,

Kurt "Claret Toes" Kremer

Copyright 2006 Kurt Kremer