In the simple act of pouring a glass of wine, you join the most powerful King, the lowest slave, from the beginning of recorded time
in a continuously flowing river of life. The first grapevines were planted around 5000 B.C.,
and wine has variously been food, medicine, an instrument of debauchery, a simple tasty beverage and religious symbol.
Like all living breathing substances, wine has a birth, youth, glorious maturity, and eventual decline and death.
Some wines are meant to be drunk young, while others will hit their peak of maturity at 20 and even 30 years in the bottle.
In cultures like France, Italy and Greece, wine with meals is part of daily life.
The rest of us enter the realm of wine in less dignified ways: stolen nips of Daddy’s Port,
sparkling wine coolers with high school friends, or getting plastered on fortified Mad Dog 20/20
is the backseat many of us lost our wine virginity to.
The selection of wine has become dizzying in variety, from all over the world, and growing at an amazing pace.
A new winery starts every 90 minutes in Australia!
To help you navigate through the myriad choices available, I am borrowing a concept found in the KISS Guide to Wine,
by Robert Joseph and Margaret Rand, an excellent primer book on wine that categorizes basic “types” of wine with comparisons to movie stars.
Category #1: “Young Bill Murray, aka Ghostbuster” wines
…light, fruity fresh wines, red or white, no tannins,
little or no oak aging, meant to be drunk young, not taken too seriously, wines you would serve at picnics and barbeques,
with cheese and wine, the one-night stands of wine. Wines in this category include Beaujolais, White or Blush Zinfandel,
some Chardonnays, sparkling wines, and Chablis, to name a few.
Category #2: Nicole Kidman/Tom Cruise wines
….balanced, full-flavored and smooth, but still lighter in flavor
and density than the last two categories. Sophisticated wines in this group include Pinot Noir,
light Italian Merlots, Chianti, Sauvignon Blanc, Burgundy, Pinot Grio, Riesling, Gewurztraminer and the lighter red Zinfandels.
Category #3: Antonio Banderas wines
….bigger, meatier, and more intense, these wines can stand up to red meats and spicy foods,
and leave you with a sinful longing for more. Antonio wines include the spicy reds, muscular,
beautiful seductive softness in the center, vibrant flavor and tannins that trail
unforgettably down your throat. For this experience, try Barolos, Grenache, Pinotage,
Petite Sirah, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and French Cabernet Sauvignon.
Category #4: Arnold Schwarzenegger wines (aka Pamela Anderson wines)
…the biggest wines of all,
when you’re feeling in the mood for something very muscular, heavy, dense, and structured.
These wines are assertive, not subtle, and can stand up to anything, including wild game,
strong cheeses, and spice. These wines have tannins sufficient to store for decades, and include ,
Tempranillo, Numanthia, Priorat, Grenache, California Cabernet Sauvignons and some of the Australian Shiraz.
Generally, the hotter the climate, the bigger the flavor of wine.
Who would have known our simple passion for wine would lead us to new friends, new travels, and a new way of looking at the world.
Serge Birbrair Jan. 15st 2005