Tasting Wine

I have this sensation that two things are going to describe the next few months of my life: 1) Tai chi. 2) Merlot bottles.

Being a tai bo enthusiast, I am not crazy about tai chi. The difference is the rhythm. Still, I decided to go for it since doing some exercise is better than doing no exercise at all, especially during winter. Because a couple of friends from the tae bo group are also attending, it must be fun too.

As for the wine, I am not getting drunk so soon. Riding a horse is more viable than getting drunk. Since I discovered that Merlot is the only wine I can have two glasses without experiencing a bad migraine, all sort of Merlot bottles started to drop in and it’s becoming kind of interesting tasting different takes of the same type of wine. When you start to enjoy the correct way of tasting, you know that you will never get drunk again.

I am not a connaisseur. I am not even sure of what to look in a wine, since the only thing I could get until now has been bad migraines. It is evident that individual taste is the main aspect and that’s my approach here:

First bottle:
Right alcohol content, right body, extra velvetiness and a pleasant warm impact. It was served with a prawn dish we call “açorda de camarão”. I think a good red wine goes pretty well with any comfort food, including soup.

Second bottle:
Our second Merlot bottle came from Chile. A pleasant wine, without the personality of the previous we tasted. Similar taste effect and alcohol content, less body and velvet in it. It was served during a Sunday lunch of “feijoada à brasileira”.

Third bottle:
The third bottle came from South Africa. It underlined a very inspired seafood rice my chef Tieta prepared. (Since we reformed her kitchen, she has been cooking with renovated energy and we are enjoying the fruits of it. If by chance you are tired of the cooking methods of someone, try the makeover trick and you will be surprised!) This Merlot was completely different: very high alcoholic strength, not to the point of spoiling the wine itself but it surely ruined the attractive aspects of a good Merlot. When I had a glass hours later, I could taste it much better and confirm why the ideal is to open some wines way before being served, allowing them to breathe. It is a very rich wine, with lots of information besides the first alcoholic impression.

Fourth bottle:
I kind of knew that I would convert this house to Merlot! A different blend opened last Sunday at lunch was pushed aside for “some stew”. It tasted like vinegar after all the Merlot we had. We opened a second Merlot from Chile. It was an edition of bottle number 3, from South Africa. As the alcoholic strength was the only note, we reserved the bottle for dinner. Beneath the alcohol there was little to tell: too fluid, no body and no velvet. Just drinkable. Is this what we can expect from a wine? I am afraid we are captive of the first Merlot bottle we opened, a winner coming from the largest co-operative wine cellar in the world (KWV) at the Paarl wine route, in South Africa.

Merlot wine is usually described as an easy-to-drink, medium-bodied red. Good! When the matter is drinking, I don’t want difficulties. I am not good at rating wines. I can simply say: one was really pleasant, the other lacked personality and the two last ones were a bit tricky for a novice like me. Maybe because Merlot is “easy”, none of the four gave a migraine. As we still have a few bottles to taste, this winter promises to be full of surprises!

Our Merlot experience ended with the following conclusions:
1) To fully enjoy a wine one has to go through a learning process. 2) Merlots are just like any other wine: some are good, some are bad. 3) The usual perception is that the quality of a wine depends above all on the quality of crops. I admit that the crop/year aspect is important, but during these two weeks we discovered that the producer is the fundamental element for selecting a wine. We tasted three different years of the same producer and the standard was the same. A friend who happened to be present during all this process was amazed with the difference between a good wine and average or bad wines. 4) I guess 2011 is still going to be our Merlot year. We found a good cellar (quality has a price a little above the average) and we stick to it, unless we decide to be adventurous (again) or to trust in some expert’s opinion.


4 thoughts on “Tasting Wine

  1. very thoughtful.

    informative as well.


    How are you?

    Check out our short story slam today,

    We love creativity, your contribution is invaulable to us.

    Happy Saturday.


    1. Thanks! I’ll check it and eventually write, if I feel tempted and have time to succumb to that temptation. I truly appreciate the suggestion, but this is a sort of diary too. Maybe I’m just waiting the right opportunity to create another space for literary writing… And wine is just a phase. I am trying to learn more. After my initial enthusiasm, I already concluded that some Merlots are really bad, like Merlot number 5, for instance. This Saturday we had to open a second bottle (Merlot 2 from Chile) because we had visits and a heavy Portuguese meat bouillon dish asking for a better wine. Over the weekend we were also invited to taste Mozambican food in a park where sometimes I enjoy taking pictures of local artisans at work. I’m just having a little of “winter fun”!

    1. We are celebrating the arrival of a very kind winter, when you must be enjoying spring, a season for white and sparkling wines. Cheers! 🙂

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