The Rise and Fall of a Wine Dinner

Maybe my expectations are to high.

I have been privileged to sit and experience the marriage of wine and food at the highest level.  Yes, moments like this have left me speechless.  Seems funny to say that.  This doesn’t need to happen in the fanciest of restaurants, or at a winery.  This can happen in my kitchen with a baked mac and cheese and some Barbaresco.  I want the pairing to sweep me off my feet, and whisper secrets in my ear.  Every time I sit, stand, or linger to drink and eat, I want the wine fairies to lift me to this high once again.

What happens when the food sucks?

Truly sucks.  When you are the speaker, and have lost control with what comes out of the kitchen, this challenge may smack you in the face.  Thank goodness you have a wine safety net.  Good wine can act as smoke and mirrors.  I never want wine to mask the flavors of the  food, but it may win the race.  Last night I leaned on the stories of Beringer Winery’s legacy; the longest continuously run winery in Napa Valley, half of the soil contents found in the world are found in Napa Valley, micro climates, accolades (Beringer is the only winery to win the coveted #1 Wine of the Year from Wine Spectator with both a red and a white wine), and just good juice.  When we got to the third course, and the Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir, I convinced the audience we were sitting in a vineyard, and that this goopy soup didn’t really exist. (soup in July?)

And then the audience died. (not actually – creative writing…)

When I turn off the wine drama channel in my brain, the people left standing are those that take me for the slightly introverted person I am.  And then I can’t shut up.  Why, oh why, would you do anything fun with anyone else that you don’t want to talk to – or even look at.  Comfortable silence is beautiful, but lazy silence is stupid.  Lay in bed and watch Netflix if that is your game.  Now I am forced to tell all the wine jokes, and act like a clown to raise a spirit.  That actually turns my belly.  I understand that a wine dinner is entertainment, but I don’t want to have to stir your soul for you.  Come with a desire to explore – even for a moment. I will make the wine stuff painless.  It’s just wine; I’m sure your life involves much more complicated tasks.

And if all of this still makes an evening a horrid mess, stop drinking all together.  Please know responsible consumption is the best consumption.

Now for this fabulous Pinot Noir (Beringer Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir):

Ah Pinot Noir.  So hard for me.  My dinner guest last night loves the stuff.  He can be a harsh critic.  It took him a few sips, but the wine won him over.  Why a few sips?  This is California in every breath of the word.  Red cherry and bruised strawberry flavors.  Spicy oak on the finish, structured, and slightly dense for a Pinot Noir.  I will soon be writing about Burgundy (still Pinot Noir), and I will outline the difference.  And what a difference there can be.  I like lushness, especially when I am entertaining people I am not friendly with.  Puts me and my guests at ease.  This wine comforts the palette; allows you to taste a full expressive fruit without being overdone or obnoxious.

Beringer dinner, blog

 

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