Wednesday, March 26, 2008

From Fois Gras to Frozen Dinners

I love wine shops. For the most part I love the idea of finding a hidden gem on some high shelf that no one has remembered to sticker with a new "upgraded" price tag. Or I love stumbling upon a bargain wine (aka the "wine of the month") brought in by suppliers, wanting to get rid of their overstock of old vintages, that actually prove to be a decent quaff. But I also love wine shops for their clever, mouthwatering descriptions that entice us into thinking that if we buy that bottle of wine, aromas of braised beef short ribs, standing rib roasts or wild mushroom risottos will soon be wafting through our kitchens. Yes, those lush adjective-laden wine descriptions and deliriously decedent wine pairing have me drooling every time. Could anything be better than a hearty, spicy Cote-du-Rhone and a seared steak? A powerful Argentinian Malbec with grilled lamb chops! Or how about a spritzy Albarino with a saffron seafood risotto... oh wait, I'm allergic to crustaceans and I watched my "madre" make paella when I studied abroad in Spain. Truly authentic paella requires a special large pan and an open flame, neither of which can be arranged in my small kitchenette.
So maybe I spend more time reading about these magnificent pairings than I do actually concocting them. The truth is, my Cote-du-Rhones and Albarino's usually accompany a far more practical menu. Albarino's citrus and green apple acidity and light body go quite well with Trader Joe's chicken gyoza. The Cote-du-Rhone makes a fine match with my anything-from-the-fridge quesadilla. And I've found that most Italian whites pair nicely with my 5 minutes and to the table salads. As for that big powerful Malbec, I save it for my ultimate quick fix meal - a Santa Fe Rice and Beans Lean Cuisine. Yep, I eat frozen dinners (but only when they are on sale and only when I am just too tired to imagine anything other than a quick stop at my microwave before hitting the couch).
So, should wine shops pair down their pairings? Should they formulate descriptions to match what we actually eat 6 out of 7 days a week? Or should they press on with their 24.99/lb suggestions? Well my feeling is that it's kind of like window shopping. If I can't have the caviar and Champagne, the Fois Gras and Y'Quem, then at least I can imagine it!

Tasting Notes:
2006 Castineira , Rias Baixas. This Spanish white wine is becoming increasingly trendy, while still being a good value. It's a great wine to have on hand because it can be sipped on its own or paired with a variety of "regular" food - from salads, fish, chicken, Chinese takeout and maybe even an everything quesadilla. This one was particularly lemony. Albarino in general has good acidity and great floral components. $7.99

19 comments:

carrie said...

i would love to know what wine would be paired nicely with my broccoli and cheddar lean pocket!

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