Thursday, August 30, 2007

My Wine, Your Dog

Yesterday was my last official day of vacation (if you don't count the upcoming Labor day weekend). Today I officially kicked off my new life as a graduate student with a day long orientation at Teachers College. So to celebrate the end of summer I decided to take a walk to Astor Wine and Spirits. Surprisingly I had not been to this nearby store since it moved from its old location over a year ago.
The store is immaculate and has all the bells and whistles of a new-age wine shop: a tasting counter (with built-in sink), a research office, a chilled glass walled cellar, and rows upon rows of carefully stacked bottles. I had no problem spending an hour walking around and I left with 6 bottles (all $7.99 or less).
With the great feeling of buyer's-high, and eager to take my bottles home where I could study them more closely, I decided to cut diagonally through Washington Square Park. At 4pm the park was filled with loungers, musicians, skaters and dog walkers. Crossing my path in the center of the park was a woman and her dog. This dog, in my opinion was the antithesis of cute.. it was hideous. It looked like it was assembled on one of those virtual make-over websites where you get click on different features - red hair, puffy Angelina lips, green eyes... whatever your heart's desire. Only in the case of this dog, it looked as if the features had been chosen at random. It had those three inch stumpy legs, an impossibly elongated body, over-sized head and splotchy fur. People who know dogs probably could tell you the breed (Corgi-Gone-Wrong?), but I am not a dog person. Let me say that again - I am NOT a dog person.
So what does this horrible looking dog have to do with wine? Well in the moment that the woman leaned down to gingerly scoop her dog's poop into a plastic grocery bag, I was suddenly reminded that she actually loved and probably adored this dog. In fact she probably thought this dog was one of the better dogs in the entire park. Dog lovers, like wine lovers have specific and sometimes quirky taste. The Miniature Poodle owner would probably not be so thrilled with a Pit Bull, just as the White Zinfandel drinker might pass on a glass of Shiraz. I don't care for the sour tannic flavors in certain red wines that my friend refers fondly to as the "winey" taste.
Many people who write about wine acknowledge that it is hard to define "great" wine. Our taste buds and flavor preferences are as wide ranging as our partiality toward German Shepherds or Shitsus

Somebody loves her as much as I love Viognier

Right now I'm really into Viogniers. I don't go around the city petting other peoples dogs and discussing breed types. But I do hunt down every affordable Viognier I can find. Each Viognier has a different flavor profile. Some are rich and buttery like Chardonnay. Others have luscious floral bouquets like some Rieslings. Last night I had a glass of Pie De Palo, 2007 Viognier from Mendoza, Argentina.

Tasting Notes
This is one of the first 2007 wines that I've had. It instantly reminded me of the Honey Moon Viognier. Which was the first Viognier I tried (from Trader Joes). It is sweet with flavors of white nectarines (I say white because i think they have more of a floral bouquet than regular nectarines), pineapples, white grape juice. It has a slight taste of pepper at the end. There is a scent of honeysuckle. I liked it, but just as with the Honey Moon, think that it's better on its own than with food. I would like to try them both side by side to compare them. For 5.99 I would get it again.

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