The Gleeful Gourmand: Would Madame Care For a Glass of Crushed Rock to go With That?

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Would Madame Care For a Glass of Crushed Rock to go With That?

One of my husband’s favorite magazines to pick up on his way through airports is the Robb Report. It’s the kind of high-end luxury magazine that advertises private jets and yachts. It’s fun for a laugh to flip through and marvel at some of the homes, or in my husband’s case (and the real reason he buys it) to drool over the newest sports cars on the market.

Every year they put out a Host’s Guide for the holiday season that’s primarily made up of wine and liquor recommendations. It was flipping through this particular magazine a couple of weeks ago that we both just had to stop, laugh, and gape at what seems to be wine descriptions run completely amuck. We enjoy wine as much as the next person (Buck is really the one who’s read the sommelier books, and knows his stuff), but neither of us are snobs about it – we don’t even really let the wine “breathe”, unless by “breathe” it means the time it takes it to be uncorked and poured into a glass.

Last year, we saw several mentions in the descriptions of wine of having hints of tar and leather. That in and of itself was pretty funny, and well, just weird. Tar? Leather? Okay, to each his own, I guess. But then this year we stumbled across this description, and it seems that the weird has definitely been ratcheted up:

“Kapcsándy 2007 Estate Cuvée Red Napa Valley: The 2007 vintage captures the essence of the vineyard with its notes of crushed rock, damp cigar tobacco, graphite, and crème de cassis. ($135)”
Holiday Wine 101. Robb Report. 2010: 9.

Really? Crushed rock? Damp cigar tobacco?? All I could think of was some drunk guy flicking his finished cigar into a half-emptied glass of wine. I’m sorry, that doesn’t sound appealing in the slightest. And you want me to pay $135 for it? To drink gravel, wet tobacco and a rock slab? We thought it might be a fluke but from there on out the weird continued. More mentions of asphalt, granite, limestone, slate, and wild game. The descriptions are baffling. Are these wines being made by toddlers or pregnant women suffering from pica? Because honestly, those are the only people I know of who would know exactly what crushed rock tastes like.

Here’s one I can get behind, though the price is jaw-dropping: “Chateau d’Yquem 2007 Sauternes: With the potential to age up to a century, the 2007 vintage has glorious flavors of hazelnut and crème brulée enhanced by a wisp of nutmeg. Drinking this Sauternes can only be compared to sipping pure sunlight. ($600)” Holiday Wine 101. Robb Report. 2010: 18.

Now I’m really curious to know: Is this really what wine lovers want today? Am I missing something? I’m dying to have it explained to me. If you know, leave it in the comments!

P.S. – The next post will be a selection of Buck’s favorite wines right now, and what to eat with it. He didn't know I was going to recruit him to do that. He does now!


Kirsten Oliphant said...

I like wine as well, but am the antithesis of a wine snob: I am the person who buys that $3 wine at the grocery store. Of course, if the budget were different, I'd buy better, but sometimes the $3 wine ain't too bad. Sometimes. Sometimes it IS.

I have a hard time distinguishing the different things they say are in the taste and scent of wine (and have been to wine tastings where they've tried to help me with this), and often feel like it's just one of those arenas where people act like they know what they're talking about, make it up, and no one wants to argue. Kind of like books or movies that are so difficult to "get" that people have to say they like them. Kind of like whatever Lady Gaga wears.

Then again, if someone has the means and money to convince me, I'd happy set off on a journey to improve my wine taste...any benefactors out there??

Oh, but def keep me away from the damp tobacco wine. Yuck.

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