Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Wine Speak

I have written a great deal on wine. And I have never used a word of “wine language” – except once, when winemakers had gone mad on cold fermentation, when I described the general taste of it as being rather like pear drops.
            So now, looking at the descriptions on back labels, gives me great pleasure and much laughter.
            I have only been collecting these comparisons for a month or two and have recorded enough, using only those that I have actually read on the bottles that we have consumed.
            Making wine taste like various fruits predominate. For instance, these include: ripe berry (very popular), strawberries, prunes, cherries, peach, melon, pear, yellow and crisp apple, gooseberries, blueberries, ripe blackcurrants, juicy plum, bulging with ripe black plum, succulent black cherries - but not one, not a single mention of grape.
Other flavours include smoky mocha, chocolate in various forms, liquorice, oak scented, boxwood, rose flower, sweet and silky tannins, subtle spice, violet character, round mouth, brooding, approachable, eucalyptus gum, and two that I love: deft lemon acidity and spicy minerality.
            Should anyone ask you to describe a white wine on offer, you might try one of the last two, and watch for the reaction.
            If I ever do read that a wine tastes of grape, I will jump for joy.

Thursday, August 07, 2014

Margreet as Cook

I once wrote in a cookery book that my wife, Margreet, was “not used to cooking”.
            It was true. Having spent her career in the Dutch Foreign Service, there had always been someone to cook for her.
            Then she retired, started to cook, and loved it. Now we cook one week on and one week off.
            She would still like to measure things, but often uses my recipes that mainly decline it.
            She gets better by the week, and is now showing imagination.
            Here are two of her excellent ideas:

When using cooked cold green beans that had grown in foreign parts and almost tasteless, she coated them with a vinaigrette and finely chopped-up anchovies. They became delicious.

Rather in the same vein, she cleverly used up rather nice-looking but not very tasty little sweet corns. Having been boiled, she fried them in butter with garlic. This brought out all their flavour.