Monday, September 10, 2007

Meet my (imaginary) friends Dottie and John

One morning, almost a year ago, the Wall Street Journal began appearing at my front door. I hadn't subscribed to the paper and didn't know anyone who would have sent it to me as a gift. Yet, everyday there it was with my name on it. Fletcher began to take the paper on his way to work and I didn't think much more about it until the day I discovered the Friday "Weekend Journal" section. Inside this section I found a column entitled Tastings, written by Dorothy J. Gaiter and John Brecher. I can't remember the theme of that first article, but I do remember that it was accessible, friendly and informational. I was instantly hooked.

The next week I waited eagerly for Friday to roll around; not for the entry way into the weekend but for the paper. I gave Fletcher specific instructions to leave the paper for me on Fridays and he obliged. Week after week I read about wine; Sauvignon Blanc, Muscadets, Italian Whites, Roses, wineries and New York wines. After the first few Fridays I even sent out a test email. The authors had said that readers interested in seeing their article on Viognier should send an email request. I sent out a very tentative, short two line email requesting both the article and any recommendations that they had for affordable viogniers. I got the following email in return:

Dear Lauren,

Thank you for your note. Here is the article about Viognier. Enjoy!


Dottie and John

I was happy to get a response and didn't care that they hadn't mentioned anything specific about affordable viogniers. They also mentioned their book, I decided to go out and find their book. I ended up purchasing their book, The Wall Street Journal Guide to Wine. The chapters are organized by grape variety and are ended with a short wine essay tangent. The book is personal, funny, totally engaging and absolutely nothing like a dry textbook. Again I was hooked. Now not only did I want to read about the wine, I also wanted to read about Dottie and John. I felt as though I could relate to them. They helped me learn about wine through their personal anecdotes.

After finishing a second book, Love by the Glass, I found myself incorporating Dottie and John into my daily conversations. I would say, "Dottie and John think that wine should make the occassion and that we shouldn't just save wine for special occasions." The next time I went out to eat, I leaned over the table and quietly said, "Dottie and John said that often the cheapest wine on the menu is the best deal, while the second cheapest isn't very good at all." Later I commented that, "Dottie and I both like rare meat, organ meat and sushi... I think we have the same adventurous taste in food." Pretty soon I was mentioning Dottie and John so often that my dad said I reminded him of a little kid who referenced his/her imaginary friends. I even found a way to link myself with them in only three degrees of separation - college dorm-mate - her father (quoted in their book) - Dottie and John.

Dottie and John went on vacation this summer, and I went four weeks without their Friday Column. This Friday they came back. They wrote an article on American Pinot Noirs. I was tempted to run out and buy one of their recommendations, but I am trying to be frugal these days and I did already have a Pinot from Chile in the apartment. So these tasting notes are in honor of the return of the Tastings Column and my friends Dottie and John.

Tasting Notes:
2005 Solario Reserve Pinot Noir (Chile). Immediately I noticed an orange tinge to the garnet colored liquid. The smell reminded me of christmas spices - the combination of cloves, ginger, nutmeg and cinnamon that I have used in baking. I also got a hint of christmas tree (or was I just reminiscing about all things christmas?) Then I got a sharp whiff of cat pee. The first sip was dry, alcoholic and spicy. A few sips further in I did start to get the ripe fruits but I couldn't distinguish a particular fruit flavor. I have stuck with this wine for three nights and it hasn't gotten any better. It is drinkable and I will finish it but it hasn't convinced me any further about the merits of Pinot Noir. I have found very few that I have really enjoyed - and only one that was less than $10. If you find one let me know.


RougeAndBlanc said...

I can help but to suggest Twin Fin Pinot Noir. It is drinkable and cost less than $10.

Kevina said...

Thanks for writing this.