May 1, 200911:10 AM
All there is to sip and savor in New Orleans – Sponsored by SmokeFree NOLA
Time in a Bottle
La Crema Vineyards
We are proud to begin our journey with myneworleans.com, and happy for the opportunity to share with you the news and the pleasures of enjoying wine and spirits.
That’s what we will be doing here every week, sharing with you fine beverages and the stories of their history, their creators and the moments of happiness they can provide.
I have been writing about wines and spirits for many years, and been fortunate to taste some mighty fine juice. I bring to my experiences a curiosity about the beverages. I want to know why they were made, from where, and who was involved. I research the land that gives birth to the liquid and why something from this plot of land tastes completely different from a plot a mere few feet away.
And I like to know about the history of the place. Why did people develop one crop, and technique, over another? What is the cuisine of the area since most wines, and many spirits, are better with food?
Some of you out there have a passion for technology. Others automobiles. Others enjoy travel and recreation. With others focused on fitness. All good pursuits. To varying extents, I share your interests. Okay, so I’m not so much on fitness, but I can pretend.
But here, we will be about sybaritic pleasures of the palate delivered by fermented grapes or distilled grain. All products of Mother Earth, touched by man, appealing to a high level of sensory appreciation, and adding joy to our lives.
Wine in particular is of great interest to me because with wine, we learn about a particular place in a particular time.
Many wine lovers choose to pursue their passion with in-depth knowledge of vinification techniques and a maddening search for the precise moment to open their prize. I can relate, although I am not quite that manic about it.
Instead, I like to enjoy wine at a more visceral level, not so focused on techniques like micro-oxygenization or malolactic fermentation, but rather sipping and allowing the wine to coat every corner of my palate with its character, and focusing on what is going on in the bouquet. I like to picture the area in which the wine is made, and think about the people involved in its annual journey from a budding flower to the liquid in an oak barrel. Nature meeting nature.
To me, wine is a time-thing and a place-thing. We all know that wine is a dated product, featuring on its label the year of its birth. So what was the weather like? What were the wine-growers doing along the way? What was I doing? What noted events in my life were taking place as the wine was being born?
Right now on the retailer’s shelves are wines from 2005. Do I have to remind anyone reading this what we were doing in New Orleans as this wine was born?
Since wine is a living thing, where is it going? Is it going to get better, meaning we drank it a bit too young? Or is it on its way to being an excellent salad dressing?
According to history, wine has been around for about 6,000 years. Fruit wants to ferment, which in essence means it wants to spoil. And the secret to fine wine-making is making good fruit go bad, well.
Spirits work at about the same visceral level for me. I like the diversity of flavors within the spirit category, and I like the additional diversity of flavors that can be created when the spirit is combined with other ingredients in a perfect cocktail. I also enjoy the seemingly endless combinations of additives that spirits welcome to the glass, reminding me of music. Music is based on only a few notes, but the combination and progression of the arrangement of those notes is without end to create new music.
There has been over the past few years a renaissance of spirits appreciation, spurred by creative young people who understand the value of quality ingredients, always used at their freshest state.
So that’s the deal. I hope you will come along each week here on myneworleans.com to share with all of your fellow readers these fascinating topics. I always will welcome your comments, and I am honored to try and answer your questions. I will attempt to entertain you with stories about wines and spirits. Some will be better than others, but be curious and open to all.
I hope that you will look forward to our journey together.