Friday, January 31, 2014

Point/Counterpoint: Which Wine Goes Best with this Meal.....

The House Red Really Brings the Best Out of this Mediocre Filet Mignon.  

by Lance Blackstone
Importer Exporter
Nashville, TN

Probably the most important thing I've learned as a connoisseur of fine wines from around the world is that a sophisticated palate can be both a boon and a hindrance to the enjoyment of a meal. On one hand, I've tasted flavors that the hoi polloi likely don't even know exist and certainly aren't contained in a bottle of Boone's Farm or Mad Dog 20/20. On the other hand, in addition to the glorious peaks, supertasters such as myself are also sometimes faced with the valleys of gustatory experience.

 Take this particular meal, for instance, as an example of both the zenith and the nadir of dining. If not for the exemplary house red wine, this muddled attempt at a filet mignon with accompanying mushroom risotto would be altogether inedible. But, as is often the case with an impeccable pairing, wine plays up the strengths of the food while downplaying its weaknesses. And this was an impeccable pairing.

The identity of this particular house wine is a mystery, but that is not unusual. Though often thought of as a basic and inexpensive choice, many gourmet establishments take pride in working with respected producers in order to arrange private blends bottled exclusively for them. I assume that the latter is true in this case, and here is why.

I only truly need one word to describe this wine: miraculous. But in wine aficionado parlance, this was a bright yet chewy red with exquisite balance and a long, complex finish. There is definitely some grip here, but it isn't harsh. Both hearty and delicate at the same time, a rare quality only typically seen in the highest quality wines, and rounded but not to the point of being overly robust. There is a predominance of plum and elderberries, a strong middle suit of fresh linen and pine straw, and an impressive finish of particle board and crushed fall leaves. Definitely an experience I won't soon forget!

Enjoying the Grape Juice and Urine Are We?

by Craig Smith
Nashville, TN

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