Tuesday, September 4, 2007

My Glass is Half Empty

Today I registered for classes. It was an all together dreadful experience. Openly acknowledged to be a flawed system by the registrar herself, it was far worse than I could have ever have imagined.
This morning 1200 students gathered in a large auditorium to listen to yet another welcome speech. The air in the auditorium was thick with anticipation and nervous sweat. If there was a machine that was able to mute to speaker's voice and tune into everyone's internal monologue it would have picked up the 1200 voices chanting the same message - "Are we EVER going to get to register?"
When the time finally came for the faculty to give out the pin numbers that would enable us to register online, by phone or in person, the entire school erupted into chaos. The scene was a frenzy of laptops, cell phones and hallway runners. This was soon followed with error messages, busy signals and long, long lines. Three hours later I left with only three out of the four of my courses and lots of questions and concerns. I am about to study "Organization and Leadership" and I just experienced one of the most DISorganized experiences of my life! What could I really expect out of this program?

So, I came home and opened a bottle of 2005 Milziade Grechetto Colli Martani (Italy).
As excited as I was to try this new grape varietal, I couldn't shake this feeling of skepticism and doubt. I looked at the printout given to me from the store (Astor Wine and Spirits - they give you a list of the wines you buy upon request). It said, "An Umbrian white wine full of character made from the Grechetto grape. Dry, full of lemon citrus fruit character and white flowers. Beautiful minerals on the finish with firm fresh acidity." It sounded delicious, but would the wine really exhibit such delectable characteristics? I poured a shallow glass and plopped down on the couch.

Tasting Notes:
Before taking a sip I smelled ripe apples and pears. I smelled something sweet, like a sweet liqueur. I took a small taste - it wasn't sweet at all! It didn't taste anything like apples or pears. In fact it was quite dry, citric and had a distinct mineral taste. When I say "mineral taste" I think of two things - a mix of what you smell when you spray hot gravel with a hose and what you taste on a fork that gives off a metallic zing on your tongue. I took several more sips and didn't taste anything different.
Overall, I appreciate that this wine could be a conversation piece. It is an rare grape variety. Its smell fools the senses. It is "complex" and enjoyable. Let's see what others have to say about it...

I turned to the internet and found the following review from the Wine Library website:
"Classic golden yellow color. Nose of white asian spices, fino sherry, herbs, almonds, and cheese. In the mouth the wine shows flavors of kiwi fruit, pear skin, stones, and wild, white mushrooms. Well structured and long. Charmingly rustic and idiosyncratic. 100% Grechetto." 7.99 (reg. 9.99)
And here was my internal monologue:
"Really? Reeeeally? WHITE!?! asian spices? What are white asian spices? I'm afraid to google, it sounds like a search
query that would result in many things not food related. Next.
Okay, sherry - I get that. It's the sweet liqueur I thought I tasted. Herbs? No wait, herbs is not as far out there as cheese. CHEESE? I don't taste anything even close to cheese? What kind of cheese have you been eating? Next!
Well at least Kiwi fruit is harmless - it's not a particularly overpowering flavor. You can get away with adding Kiwi fruit in the description of many wines. Next.
Pear... got that, but pear skins? I am going to go buy a pear and dissect it in my kitchen, because I definitely don't know the difference between pear skin and pear flesh. Next
Finally, wild white mushrooms. Are we trying to make a Haiku here? I applaud the person that can pinpoint the mushroom taste in a wine tha
t is both wild and white.

So there you have it. I do love a good wine description. But sometimes, more often than not, when I read a wine review I get that scrunched up brow look and I just have a hard time believing that anyone's palate can really pick out all those scents and flavors.
I'm reading a book right now called The Accidental Connoisseur, by Lawrence Osborne. I think his words are influencing me because he is also a pessimistic wine taster. But who knows, maybe one day I will reach wine enlightenment and I too will be able to taste the sweet earthiness of white wild mushrooms.

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