Thursday, October 01, 2009

Party Tricks

I attended a wine tasting event at the Museum of Fine Arts last week. I decided I should wait to blog about it until I'd forgotten much of the experience and had to make most of it up. I did, fortunately, take some notes along the way and figured I'd share some of what I learned with you. I also took some fliers, swizzle sticks, and complimentary (?) blocks of artisan cheeses, but these proved more difficult to share.

I make it a point never to eat cheese alone because that might constitute a problem, so my good friend came along to the tasting. In truth, we learned a great deal about nothing and I'm not even sure the sommelier had been to a wine tasting before. None of the following information was actually communicated to me because the MFA is an institution of arts and they don't even have a single book of matches behind the bar, so I had to Google any of the knowledge contained in this post. As a result, I am now qualified to review any kind of wine imaginable, including wines that have not been invented yet.

In fact, the most memorable part of the entire production was the older gentleman who may have been the right-hand man of the sommelier. Primarily he stood there drinking all the wine and heckling us whenever we got up to try a different wine, informing us that the wine in hand would make us more God-like, or, taken in too much quantity, destroy our reputations, or both.

How to Appreciate Wine (Instructions)
Remember, a good wine will appreciate you, too, and won't take advantage of you or constantly point out your flaws.

1. Looking at the wine:
Quite often, your wine will come in a glass.

2. Smelling your wine: Some of the common smells associated with wines include types of berries, fruits, flowers, trees, nuts, and industrial U.S. cities. I happen to have a very keen sense of smell, probably from all the candy I ate growing up, and I was able to be a lot more specific in my descriptions than you will be able to be. Don't let this discourage you. You can still enjoy wine!

3. Remove your nose from the glass.

4. Describing its flavor: Your first impression of the wine's flavor is called a “forepalate," followed by the "midpalate" and not surprisingly the "endpalate." According to a source I did not verify, "You may be surprised at how differently the wine tastes going down from when it first came across on the palate, so focus."

Here is a transcription of the notes I took during the wine tasting:

Wine:2008 Lois GrĂ¼ner Veltliner
Aroma: New Car
Forepalate: French Onion soup with gruyere cheese
Midpalate: OFF! insect repellent
Endpalate: bagels and lox
Pairs well with: agoraphobia, steak tips

Wine: Mark West Pinot Noir, probably made this very afternoon
Forepalate: Lawry's Seasoned Salt
Midpalate: I think there is something wrong with this grape juice
Endpalate: Tang
Pairs well with: self-loathing, steak tips

Wine: 2006 Columbia Valley Cabernet Merlot
Forepalate: Forgot to focus
Midpalate: Attractive male entered bar, still forgot to focus
Endpalate: [indecipherable scribbling]

5. Finally, locate your car keys. They are already in your hand. That's right.

You may insist that I've left out a good deal of information about wine tasting, and I have to respectfully disagree with you; I only left things out I didn't really feel like talking about.

In closing, I was also given the opportunity that night to try foie gras for the first time, which looked an awful lot like Spam and tasted like 250 mL of wine because that is exactly what I had to drink to get the horrible taste out of my mouth, as well as the image of a duck having a large metal tube shoved into its throat just so I could experience the undeniable pleasure of wanting to rip one's tongue out of their mouth. You have to wonder, instead of forcibly over-feeding ducks to produce foie gras, why don't they just erode their self-image with scathing criticism until they binge eat without the help of a feeding tube? It works on most females over sixteen and you would probably have more luck getting it past PETA.

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