Friday, March 13, 2009



Good food and wine produce a synergy
ideal especially for dinner ge-
niality, for I have got a hunch
the synergy is not ideal for lunch,
unless you take at least some forty winks
following the food and vinous drinks.

Good wine should make you think of what to eat,
and be regarded as a special treat,
like food that goes with it, like your best friends
but unlike them it never condescends,
implying it’s superior to you—
it asks for drinking, not a point of view.

Synergy is what good wine’s about,
not just with food, but those with whom you lout
around, enjoying them while you are able
to demonstrate your wit around the table,
before you take your favorite one to bed,
discussing maybe Chateau Maidenhead,

or else a Chateau that’s associated
with a widow. Divorcees aren’t rated
on labels of the bottles I have drunk,
but if there is one, I would not debunk
the wine. The synergy a divorcee
creates with wine is greater than with tea.
Eric Asimov writes about the Pinot Noirs that Sonoma County is producing “Finessed and Light: California Pinot NoirsWith a Manifesto,” NYT, March 11, 2009):
AS the rain slanted down onto the vineyard around Copain Wine Cellars, just outside this town in northern Sonoma County, Wells Guthrie, the proprietor, poured a glass of one of his 2006 pinot noirs. The wine was fresh and light with aromas of flowers and red fruit. Even in the gray dimness of his tasting room I could see my fingers on the other side of the glass through the pale ruby wine. It was vibrant and refreshing, nothing like the dark, plush, opulent wines that have made California pinot noir so popular. Mr. Guthrie used to make wines more along those heavier lines, but not anymore. After the vinous equivalent of a conversion experience, with his 2006 vintage he renounced the fruit-bomb style in favor of wines that emphasize freshness and delicacy. “It got to the point where I didn’t want the wine to be fatter than the food,” he said. “Wine should make you think of what you want to eat.” From Mendocino and Sonoma through the Santa Cruz Mountains and Arroyo Grande south to the rolling hills of Santa Barbara County, a rebellion is brewing. The dominant style of California pinot noir remains round, ripe and extravagant, with sweet flavors of dark fruit and alcohol levels approaching and sometimes surpassing 15 percent. But on a recent trip through these leading pinot noir areas I was thrilled to find a small but growing number of producers pulling in the opposite direction. Instead of power, they strive for finesse. Instead of a rich, mouth-coating impression of sweetness, they seek a dry vitality meant to whet the appetite rather than squelch it. Instead of weight, they prize lightness and an almost transparent intensity. Some of these producers are fairly new to the pinot noir game, like Anthill Farms in Healdsburg, a partnership of three young men who share a taste for balanced, elegant wines, or Peay Vineyards on the northern Sonoma Coast, which makes spicy yet polished pinot noirs, or Rhys Vineyards in the Santa Cruz Mountains, which after just five vintages is already producing brilliantly distinctive wines…
“I wish somebody could explain to me how picking grapes when they’re precisely in balance and making a wine in balance became unfashionable,” Mr. Clendenen said as we stood in the middle of his utilitarian winery, in the middle of the Bien Nacido Vineyard in the Santa Maria Valley. On a big industrial stove Mr. Clendenen was preparing lunch, as he often does, for the winery staff and the occasional visitor. When it’s ready, work at Au Bon Climat stops as everybody sits at a long, indoor picnic table to eat and drink a glass or two of wine, a reminder to all of the place and intent for their beverage. “The ultimate use for wine is pairing with food,” said Rick Longoria, who makes intense yet balanced pinot noirs in Santa Barbara County. “There is no greater experience than the beautiful synergy between wine and food that elevates both.”

© 2009 Gershon Hepner 3/11/09

1 comment:

  1. What a cute ending to the poem you've written. Some topics are so extensive (like varieties of wine) that you can't go wrong