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Posts Tagged ‘Okie’

Photo courtesy Google Images

Photo courtesy Google Images

As some of you know, I live in wine country. El Dorado County is becoming quite famous for it’s area wines. Because I’m a big supporter of buying local, supporting small business (hey, it’s a good argument), and because eighty percent of the area wineries still pour without charging a fee, I do a lot of wine tasting. I’d like to think I’m becoming quite the aficionado, but I think it’s more correct to say, I’m becoming quite the wine-o.

Photo courtesy Google Images

White wine grapes.
Photo courtesy Google Images

Let’s face it, with so many wineries to visit, each one having a different line-up, it’s hard not to become familiar with the product and the associated lingo. Remember when wine drinkers had two choices – Chablis and Burgandy? That’s right, you had your red (Burgandy) or your white (Chablis). In my house, Ernest and Julio Gallo started the whole red/white choice thing. Unless of course, you count the Blue Nun Gewürztraminer or the Boone’s Farm Tickle Pink as red or white.

Then along comes a product known as Vin Rose. Remember this hip new trend? Everyone was wanting the rose. My parents were big on the new rose wine. But then, someone bottled a new-fangled white wine called Chardonnay. Not to be outdone, the red wine makers soon offered Merlot and Zinfandel. Wow, the choices!

Nowadays, it would take you a full month to try every wine available at the wineries in my area. The whites include Viognier, Pinot Grigio,  Sauvignon Blanc, Moscato, Riesling, and Semillon, among others.

Red wine drinkers can still enjoy the Merlots and Zinfancels but are now also offered such wonders as Pinot Noir, Barbara, Primitivo, Syrah, Petite Syrah, Cabernet Franc, Malbec, Sangiovese, Tempranillo, Alicante Bouuschet, Nebbiolo, Gamay and Mourvedre.

Photo courtesy Google Images

Red wine grapes.
Photo courtesy Google Images

Let’s not forget the folks still stuck on the rose bandwagon. Today they can enjoy Grenache, White Zinfandel or some kind of red/white blend. Of course, if you’re my dad, you still order the Vin Rose. Yes, every waitress in town gives him the same quizzical look, and yes, I still clue them in that he wants a “pink,” wine.

In addition to the abundant varitals, there are dozens of blends, each winery famous for a specific one. In my neck of the woods, its blends like “Rocket Dog,” “Rattler Red,” “Foreplay,” “Pammy’s Couve,” and the like.  On top of that, in a lot of places you can taste multiple years of the same varitals and blends. And, in case that’s not enough, there’s also the sparkling wines, the dessert wines and the ports. You can taste from the bottle. You can taste from the barrel. I’m telling you, a person needs weeks to try them all. And, because I’m no quitter, I plan on sampling them. All of them. Like I said, I’m a big supporter of local businesses. And I’ll probably have to do it more than once because, by the time I get done with the first round, the new releases will be out and it’ll be time to do it all over again.

And let’s take a minute to talk about those cute little flavor descriptions they type up for each wine. You know the ones. They tell you what you’re supposed to experience before, during and after you sip. They usually say something like, “a crisp, full-bodied wine with notes of licorice and smoke. Finishes with hints of aged oak and vanilla.” You know what those descriptions NEVER say? They never say the wine will taste like grapes. My description for every single one of those bad boys would be, “it tastes like squashed purple grapes with faint notes of stem and vine.” I mean, I’m no expert, but let’s call a spade a spade here folks. You’re drinking grape juice, it should taste like grapes. Sheesh.

But it’s not just the wines themselves I’m becoming familiar with, it’s the jargon, too. Terms like “full-bodied,” and “oaky” (not to be confused with Okies, who have their own distinct flavor), are easily understood even by novice samplers. Some terms make perfect sense, like “up front,” or “notes of,” but others are just silly. Like, “it has a nice round taste.” Round? Can a person taste a shape? Could it be said that a sandwich has a nice square flavor? That’s like saying, “it smells pink,” or “it feels like yellow.”  I suppose I’ll have to keep tasting until I figure that one out. Like I said, I’m no quitter.

How about you? Are you a wine-0 aficionado? Do you like red or white? Or are you like my dad and still enjoy the once-trendy “pink” wines? If you’re not a wine drinker, do you support local small business? Inquiring minds want to know.

Word of the day:  Plimsoll

Fun face about me: I like to drink milk. (That’s right. I don’t always drink wine.)

Original post by Jansen Schmidt. Photos courtesy Google Images.

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