Thursday, May 19, 2005

The Great Wine Experiment

...or "Too Much Time On My Hands"

The very nice man at the wine store talked me into spending entirely too much on wine this afternoon. Since I’d spent no money on food this week, I figured I was breaking even.

Among the bottles he talked me into was one called “Las Rocas”. It was $10. The grape it is made from is called Garnacha (which, apparently is just Grenache and would explain why the guy kept pronouncing it that way). Normally, it is used to blend with Tempranillo in Rioja. He told me it would taste unremarkable at first and would require a lot of time to breathe. In fact, it would even be better then next day. I don’t have that kind of time. My buzz will wait for no man (or woman or properly aerated bottle of wine for that matter).

As an experiment, I’ve opened the bottle. I will take a sip (or 2 or 3) from the glass every half hour until 8 o’clock and my phone date with Mr. Scoop. Then all bets are off and I’m finishing this sucker. Let’s see how oxygen affects the wine’s flavor over the next 3 ½ hours.

4:30 – The wine is a deep red-purple. Swirling it around the glass, it has ok legs. Not too syrupy, not too runny. Taking a sniff, I’m not getting much other than alcohol. That could be because I’ve poured a tiny amount into a huge balloon glass. Tasting the wine, I note that the flavor is pretty gentle. If I drank this right now, it’d go down easy but unremarkably. However, it’s a very soft flavor. I’m curious what will happen with more oxygen to open it up.

5:00 – A fruit fly is trying to commit suicide in my wine. I fish him out with some difficulty. He clearly has a death wish and is groggy from the fumes. Once clear, I take a big whiff of the wine again. Getting more grape now. A little raspberry. I wonder if I’m imagining things. Nope. Raspberry. I take a sip. The wine has become more spicy, a bit deeper. I hope that’s not a result of the fly. If I didn’t know better I’d say there’s some other stuff in there waiting to open up. Or maybe I’m a mildly buzzed poser. Maybe I should eat something.

5:30 – My wine appears to be clear of morbidly inclined insects. I’ve had an English muffin and a water cracker. The water cracker appears to have gone stale and tastes oddly of laundry detergent. I rinse my mouth out and take the final swig from this pour of wine. The pepper flavor is still present, but has mellowed slightly. The wine has taken on a more velvety mouth feel and has become rounder in flavor. The nice man at the store said this would be a good cook-out wine. I wonder what this would be like with a burger. I contemplate walking to Wendy’s, but discard that idea when I realize that would mean having to get dressed or at least find pants. Again. If I get desperate I’ll thaw a Boca Burger.

6:00 – The wine seems to have plateaued. It still maintains the attributes it’d developed by 5:30, but does not appear to have opened any further. And if it did, where would it go?

6:05 – Mr. Scoop has reminded me that I was supposed to pick up Coors Light on the way home. Chastened, I resume my search for my pants. And car keys. And breath mints.

6:07 – Operation “Pants Recovery” is a failure. Must buy a bureau. Opt for pajama bottoms, without feet, and sunglasses. I walk to the liquor store on the corner. That guy sells to homeless guys who pay in nickels. He won’t care that I seem to have forgotten that I’ve left the house in a shirt embellished with the remnants of toothpaste drool.

6:30 – Home. 30 Pack of Coors successfully achieved. Watching “30 Minute Meals…With Rachel Ray” with the sound off. Because of this, I notice that she talks entirely out of the left side of her mouth – like a stroke victim. I ponder that she always seems to have her veggies ready prepped and her cans from the pantry conveniently placed at the front of her shelves. The pots and pans have already been placed on the stovetop. All before the 30 minutes have started. I think if I had a show like that I’d give it truth in advertising: “30 Minute Meals…After I Get My Shit Together”. I become so engrossed in my fantasy that I forget that I could be watching Martin Yan, his lightning fast cleaver and his big Botoxed forehead instead. I also forget to have another sip of the wine.

7:00 – Another alcoholic fruit fly is trying to stage his own personal “Leaving Las Vegas” with my wine. I get him to stagger off my glass and into the Great Beyond. I take a healthy swig (to make up for the 6:30 tasting). The wine remains spicy on the foretaste, mellows and rounds out, and finishes with a bit of cherry.

7:30 – Not a lot of change on the flavor front. However, the nose has started to develop the same peppery tones as the flavor. Of course, I’m only one woman and I could be hallucinating.

I desire cheese.

8:00 – Discovery! This wine goes really well with Romano cheese (which was the first one I came across when foraging in my fridge). It really brings into sharp focus the salty, tangy, earthy flavors in the cheese. This wine really should be enjoyed with food. I should probably buy some.

And here our experiment comes to an end. The wine did appear to benefit from up to an hour’s worth of “breathing”. After that the effects of continued aeration seemed negligible, but I was getting buzzed and had no control to compare it to.


Timmy Mac said...

Great. It's 9:22 am, and you've got me wanting to drink wine.

Today won't end well.

Latigo Flint said...

I adore 7pm's fruit fly.

Ari said...

Rachael Ray has always inexplicably annoyed me. Perhaps now I know why. :)

Pareshaan said...

simply stellar. I feel painfully nostalgic about the days when I too would totter off to the friendly nieghbourhood liquor store in Pyjama bottoms and shirt tie-dyed with toothpaste. And the "morbidly-inclined fruitflies" are too funny