Tuesday, September 7, 2004

Wine: the Good, Bad and Indifferent


The Muscat grape, the oldest variety in the world, is ususual in that its particular flavour is in its wine no matter where it's planted. Meaning, it doesn't reflect its terroir. Apparently, this is a very odd thing.

In Italy, especially in Piedmont, it's used to make spumante, in Spain sherry, in Greece Metaxa brandy, in Peru their national brandy, Pisco, and in Chile and Australia it's blended with other whites.

We tried a bottle of 2002 Bel Colle Moscato d'Asti, which is slightly fancier version of Asti Spumonte: slightly less sweet, costing slightly more ($12 to $15), and slightly less sparkling. But I was pleased with it: it went down quite easily and left a happy taste in my mouth.


What should come in the mail this month but Wine X, a new magazine intended to make wine a fixture in Generation X's DINK-driven, luxe lifestyles. That would be me!

It's an ok rag, too full of ads and glossy pictures (but aren't they all?), but it has the Surreal Gourmet as a regular contributor and tries to make wine hip and accessible instead of stodgy and elitist, which is a worthy cause.


It's official: Foodgoat has a physical incompatiblity with red wine. He's never particularly cared for red wine, but now we think it isn't so a much a distaste as it is a syndrome.

Specifically, Foodgoat has Red Wine Headache Syndrome.

Symptoms: Splitting migraines within 15 minutes (and lasting well into the next day) of drinking as little as half a cup of red wine.

It's an actual malady, though a rare one. No one's really sure what it's caused by: nitrites, histimines, and tannins are all suspects but true culprit hasn't been positively identified. For some people it's only red wines from Europe; others, only those from California. A prophylactic of Advil just before drinking helps some; not so for others.

In any case, Foodgoat has sworn off red wine for good. Fortunately, I prefer sweet whites anyway, and Foodgoat can drink beer to excess without any ill effects (except the usual, manageable ones), so never fear, the tippling won't stop!


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