Monday, February 18, 2008

Strange Sightings: The Dog at the Movies and the Bubbles in My Red Wine

We (humans) love predictability. Psychologists explain this preference in terms of schemata and stereotypes. We create mental short cuts and categories for ourselves so that we can act and respond quickly and efficiently...for our survival. When I go to the grocery store I expect to see the lettuce and the cucumbers to be in the same area. I expect this aisle to be labeled "produce." When I go out to dinner I expect that a waiter will come and offer water before taking my order. When I go to class I assume that there will be a place for me to sit and I expect that I will take notes.
When something occurs that disrupts our pre-conceived notions, what happens? We try to make sense of what we have encountered. We try to make it fit into our "categories." But if it doesn't, we can either disregard it, or learn to accept it.
Recently I went to the movies. Everything was very familiar. The theater was dim and screen was playing the pre-preview trivia. People were trying to find the best seats that were neither directly next to nor directly behind any of other patrons. Others had blocked off their territory with coats and bags. Yep, everything was very normal... very much in line with my movie theater schema. Then, all of a sudden I noticed the silhouette of a set of pointy ears. There, two rows ahead of me, was a little dog dressed in a fur lined parka, sitting contently on its owners lap. A DOG in the THEATER? I've lived in New York long enough to know that dogs are essentially the most fashionable accessory and have been accepted in more and more locations around the city. But the movie theater? This I had not seen. The dog must have been smuggled under a coat, or carried inside a bag. At first I was appalled, but then after I calmed down, I realized that this could be a preview of what's to come. What's next? Dog treats at the concession stand?
There are very good things about creating categories, making generalizations and using a schema to navigate the world. But when things surprise us, or even shock us, it is our ability to re-frame and be adaptable to change that ultimately helps us succeed and not just survive.
So now that I've told you my opinion on the matter, you should go out and buy yourself a bottle of Lambrusco. What does Lambrusco have to do with dogs in movie theaters? Well, you will most likely have a very disarming experience, like the one I had with the dog. You may have had many glasses of Champagne, Cava or Prosecco over the years, but have you had sparkling red wine?
I recently brought home a bottle of Lambrusco. I had had it a couple of times before, and both times it was so foreign that I didn't know what to make of it. At first I thought it was too much like grape juice - it wasn't as serious as a red wine "should" be. But on my most recent exploration, I decided that Lambrusco can be a great addition to your wine "cellar." It still has crisp refreshing qualities that you find in white sparkling wines, but it has a totally different profile. It's juicy, it has the slightest bit of tannins and great acidity. I tried it with Proscuitto and it was excellent. I tried it with peanuts (alla PB&J) and again it was good. I tried it with a quesadilla and it was still quite satisfying.
The moral of the story: try something new - bring home a bottle of Lambrusco... and if you have a little dog that needs constant love and attention, perhaps you should pick up a DVD while you are out as well.

Tasting Notes:
Medici Ermete
Reggiano Assolo 2006 is from Emilia-Romagna, Italy. Lambrusco is the name of a grape as well as a wine, made primarily from the grape. There are 5 DOC's that produce Lambrusco. It does not have to be sparkling and is also made as a rose or white. But the best rated ones these days are "frizzante." This Lambrusco has a beautiful purple froth, and a deep red-purple color. It is dry, but does impart a slight sweet note. I immediately thought about Welch's grape juice... but it's better, more complex isn't cloying. $11.99

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

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