About Time for Burgundy

I’ve tried merlot and malbec; chardonnay and cabernet sauvignon. I thought the time had come to dip into a French wine, especially since I want to know at least one French staple when my French-speaking children take me to Quebec or Paris one day. Yes, they will make fun of me for my poor French, but they won’t be able to laugh when I order exactly the right food for the burgundy at our table.
Right now I’m trying Franciscan Wineries Burgundy from California. Okay, that’s cheating. French wine comes from France. Still, at $7 per/bottle I wanted a cheap introduction to yet another red wine since red is not my favorite. I can’t say I’m pleased and have surely gotten what I paid for.
Not that this wine is all bad. The aroma is very fruit, rich with plum and cherry. The ruby colored-liquid catches the light prettily so that leaving the wine will not seem so tragic. I’m even marinaded steak with it so not entirely a waste.
On the other hand, what I smelled did not make its way to my tongue. Maybe the fruit is somewhere in the drink itself or I need to leave the bottle open for, oh, I don’t know, 24 hours or something. I can’t imagine finding a place in my wine cellar for $7 burgundy and seeing if this variety does better over time. What I mainly tasted in this off-dry wine was granite. At least, I think that’s the flavor. I’m not accustomed to sucking on granite. I know some women do when they’re pregnant, and I suppose anything can happen, but I  just ate lots of lemon-flavored things and tried not to throw up on my husband.
By the way, if I ever do order burgundy in France it will be paired with something made from asparagus: flan, souffle, whatever. Asparagus seems to work with burgundy and sound special enough to make me look like less of an idiot, even if everything else I say sounds like I’m trying to speak pig latin with a mouth full of lemon-flavored granite.

Chablis: A Familiar Name

There was a bottle lined-up with the other Californian offerings at the store, and I thought I had heard of it somewhere before. Chablis. The name resonated way back to my pre-wine consciousness. Why was that name so familiar? I don’t recall every tasting any. Then I read-up on the wineI was planning to drink, discovering that ‘chablis’ has long been synonymous with ‘white wine’. I must have heard reference made to chablis in movies, on television, and at my parents’ parties. Now often associated with cheap wine, its value has deteriorated over the years. Actually, my choice was very cheap which was why I bought it.
According to Jordan Mackay this is unfortunate and ironic since Chablis comes from the Burgundy region of France. That is, one of the most famous wine regions in the world, known for producing high-quality products, bottles suitable for the wine cellar. Moreover, chablis is actually chardonnay. The only differences are that chablis is bottled without oak, and usually misses the tropical qualities of a chardonnay which would likely be produced in a hotter climate. Without oak, vanilla, toast, and spice or also supposedly gone. Instead, chablis relies on the flavors of the grape itself: green apple, lemon and pear. Sounds alright to me. I don’t mind the sound of mineral undertones either, but the grainy texture I’m expected to experience does nothing to excite me.
Then again, the bottle in front of me is from California, which is where we get so much of that tropical, fruity, oaky chardonnay. Perhaps it isn’t best to have any expectations. I’ll just drink and enjoy.

Back Room Wines


Napa Valley boasts such a wide variety of wineries and events that I can almost hear wine-lovers singing ‘eenie, meenie, minie, mo’. My eyes alighted on events at Back Room Wines at once, especially the ones coming up in February at Back Room Wines.
February 4th from 5-8 they will be hosting ‘Blind Bottle Night’. In other words, go into your wine cellar, find a bottle of wine,cover it with a bag so that only you know what kind of wine you brought. Everyone else will be in the same boat. The only thing they ask is that you choose a varietal or a well-known blend (ie, no generic ‘white’ or ‘red’.) This kind of night sounds like a wine tasting evening with friends, and suggests a mixture of fun and wine education. Yes, the two can go together (forget your nightmares about high school).
Back Room Wines will host another event on the 5th from 5-8, this time entitled ‘Under Twelve Buck Bottle Tasting’. For $10 you will taste eight wines from around the world, white and red, which sell for under $12 per bottle (as the title says). The idea is to teach that good wine can be inexpensive. Anyone going to California via British Columbia? I need a lift and my wine rack has too many gaps in it.
Back Room Wines is on First and Main Streets in Downtown Napa, and can be contacted at 877-322-2576 (707) Toll Free, or 707-226-2190. Have fun, send me a postcard, tell me how it went. I can enjoy vicariously.