Adventures of a Midwest Transplant

On Attending Wine School in March: Bordeaux

2014-03-23 21.38.08

Last month, I started talking about the series of articles in the New York Times they are calling Wine School. I was pretty excited about participating, and so far it’s been amazing.

Last month was Bordeaux. This month is Beaujolais, which is currently en route to my house for much more than I wanted to pay in shipping. I’m hoping next month’s wine is found locally. Cross your fingers for me.

Before I even get to April’s wine, I have to talk about what an experience March was.

Bordeaux is tannin-ful wine. A quick trip to Wikipedia will tell you about tannins. The short version is drinking something with tannins in it feels like your mouth is dry.

Then they pour sand into your dry mouth.

Then swallowing feels difficult.

Then they add more sand.

Then they let your tongue bake in the sun until it feel like a raisin. Not a juicy raisin though.

Then they add more sand.

At least that’s how I felt with my very first sip of the wine.

But Eric Asimov is a genius and thought to warn lesser-than wine drinkers such as myself to prepare for that reaction.

So I let it happen, and leaned into the feeling. After the sandy moment passed, I felt thirsty, so I took another sip. And another, and another.

At this point, I felt like a character in The Phantom Tollbooth, you know, the one eating subtraction soup, so I stopped drinking and started eating.

I prepared pretty much the exact meal I wanted to prepare to go with this wine. Delicious and mouth-watering red meat really is the perfect accompaniment to this wine.

I used a recipe, also found in the New York Times, for a great skirt steak recipe. I’ve used it again since that first night, and the steak is always flavored perfectly.

Image via nytimes.com

Easy and I had a delicious dinner that night, but honestly, I only liked the wine, I didn’t love it.

When I got home from work the next night, I poured myself another glass.

Things had improved. I went from feeling only dry and nothing else to feeling good.

The wine was now fruity, though I couldn’t tell you which fruit I tasted. It was still dry, but now enjoyably so. I suddenly wanted a hunk of cheese to enjoy with it.

I’m not sure how much wine you should pour into one glass while drinking at home, but we never get more than 4 glasses of wine out of a bottle. That meant with dinner the first night, and my glass the second night, there was one left.

I decided to leave it for the third day.

It was even better the third day. The tannins I was cursing on day one were now good friends. They encouraged me to eat mouth-watering foods that were rich and full of flavor.

And when I finally finished the bottle, it was with regret. I missed it already. There was no way I was buying another bottle of this same wine, the cost was prohibitive for me.

So instead, I dreamed about the wine like a summer-only boyfriend from camp. Wondering if he’d think of me like I would think of him once we were forcibly parted.

I went the next day to my Midtown Manhattan wine guy and had him select another Bordeaux for me to try. I had to try to move on. I was hoping recommended Bordeaux wines were as interchangeable as summer flings

Luckily, the second Bordeaux was also good. Actually it was great. And it confirmed for me that I’m now a Bordeaux drinker, like officially.

So now I’m a Bordeaux drinker. I think it is my favorite red wine for now.

But April is almost over, and I will have to see if this month’s Beaujolais can take the place of Bordeaux. It’s low in tannins though, so the frenemy-turned-best-friend wine ingredient that I have come to love won’t get to play a role in this month’s food drama. I guess we’ll see what happens.

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4 responses

  1. Oh my gosh, this is so something I would love to do! Years ago, I used to be the wine buyer for a few restaurants and bars in San Diego. It was the best job ever – mostly because I totally got wooed by vineyards all the time! Free bottles left and right – loved it!

    April 26, 2014 at 03:40

    • Oh wow. I had no idea you used to do that job. It sounds amazing. I wish I could pour all of your wine knowledge into my head because being wooed by vineyards is my new fantasy.

      April 26, 2014 at 09:04

  2. Huh, I love red wine but I don’t think I’ve tried Bordeax. I think that will be my next wine purchase.

    April 27, 2014 at 11:40

    • Wow! I know you get a lot of wine, and I’m now even more pleased with this wine school thing because it gave you a new wine to try. Let me know how you like it.

      April 27, 2014 at 13:42