The Next Great Wine Experiment
4:30 – Mr. Scoop has offered to make dinner tonight. Mr. Scoop feels confident in his ability to make 3 food items: cheesy scrambled eggs, Boboli pizza with pesto, and fondue. Tonight we will be partaking of the fondue.
The fondue has a beer base. Cheese (2 parts Swiss to 1 part Cheddar) is tossed with flour and added to the simmering beer by the handful and stirred until a thick and gooey cheese sauce results. This is then seasoned with a dash of Dave’s Insanity Sauce for 51,000 Scoville units of mouth searing goodness and flavor. Mr. Scoop got the recipe from his parents when he moved out of the house. They gave it to him because they wanted to make sure he’d eat and figured he’d make this because it had beer in it. Mr. Scoop is very proud of his fondue. I am quite fond of it as well.
Of course, no plan is without its flaws – Mr. Scoop started drinking 2 hours ago. I may have exposed him to a few too many programs about food and wine today. To distract him from his plan to “find and destroy that rat bastard Charlie Trotter” because “he killed my father”, I pointed him toward the kitchen and persuaded him to start grating the cheese. When he started to use the fine grating side to “remove incriminating fingerprints before the Feds get here”, I knew I’d have to cut up the bread myself.
5:00 - To enjoy with the fondue this evening, I’ve purchased a Shiraz-Viognier blend called The Black Chook. The label on the back of the bottle tells me that chook is Australian for chicken. It has surprised me so far by being a screw top wine. I know there is an “Anti-Cork” movement out there, but I still wasn’t expecting it. But now, the war against cork has come to my doorstep. What kind of wine will it bring with it (for $18)?
Well, pouring it into the glass I see that it’s a dark berry color. Swirling it reveals that this wine has legs that’d rival Tyra Banks. Damn. The wine smells pretty unassuming so far: grapey and a little like dirt (but not in a bad way – I think the professionals would use a fancy term here like “fresh earth”. Dirt is frigging dirt, my friends.). The initial taste is a bit spicy, but fruity. We’ll see how it opens up over time. As well as take on the Dave’s Insanity cheese extravaganza.
5:15 – Mr. Scoop sets forth to hurl handfuls of floured cheese into 10 ounces of simmering Sam Adams. I wait with baited breath. I take another sip (or three) of the wine. It continues to have spicy notes, but a more pronounced berry flavor is emerging. It’s also a bit on the tannic side (think of the sort of astringent quality you find a medium brew of black tea). I’m really curious how this is going to react to the fondue. Meanwhile, Mr. Scoop takes tugs from the leftover Sam Adams while he stirs the bubbling cheese goo. He has decided that a good backdrop to our fondue is a documentary on Peter Jennings. Mr. Scoop was a journalism major in college. I believe the program to be payback for 4 hours of public television cooking shows.
5:20 – “Fetch me the liquid dynamite!” cried Mr. Scoop. With all of the cheese melted into the mix, he stirred a healthy dash of Dave’s Insanity Sauce into the fondue with the precision and intensity to the task at hand normally found in people who dismantle bombs for a living. He tasted the spoon and declared the result to be “perfect”. With that we ravenously began to attack the pot armed with pointy forks and cubes of bread. I made sure to refill my wine glass prior to the distraction of gluttony. We each take bites of fondue covered bread and a sip of my wine. Mr. Scoop remarks that the wine and fondue “does not suck”. Indeed, it did not.
5:45 – The fondue is devoured. The wine went incredibly well with it. It was not overpowered by the Dave’s. In fact, it highlighted the spice in the sauce without making it overly fiery. The cheese helped to mellow the tannins in the wine giving it a very creamy, velvety mouth feel (which only encouraged me to drink more of it). All in all, the two complimented each other wonderfully.
So, left with the bottle to finish, I will retire to the living room to convince Mr. Scoop that we should watch some fine TV programming that does not involve Peter Jennings, but might instead involve blowing stuff up. I think that he’ll be amenable to the idea, particularly if it involves blowing up Charlie Trotter.