Sunday, November 23, 2008

Wine palette

I am not a wine snob. Never have been. I don't know much about them, though I keep trying to find out more. The best I can say is that I do like wine, but I like it cheap.

Sadly, probably my first experience with wine was Boone's Farm Strawberry Hill in college. College students don't have a lot of money, and, as everyone knows, their use of drinking is not focused on the purely social or the palette pleasing characteristics.

I also lived in England for a bit, and, besides tea, I got a chance to sample wines with dinner. I still didn't know a whole lot and would drink whatever was set on the table. I think I learned I don't like dry whites that well.

I have probably been drinking wine with the intention of having it enhance a meal for about 11 or 12 years now. During our honeymoon, we had a Spanish cider that was fantastic and Mr. Wild and I, both novices to the wine industry, were interested in finding our wine palettes.

When Mr. Wild and I were in grad school, I think we started to try to appreciate wine for its intended craftsmanship. Unfortunately, we still were looking for cheap. This was in the days before $2 buck Chuck, but there were alternatives, and we also didn't drink wine as often as we do now. Wine with Kraft mac and cheese just doesn't quite work either. (Though I think I have some friends who could pair mac and cheese with something)

When we moved to the Chicago area, we did make an attempt at broadening our palettes. At the very least, we have discovered that we both like German makes of wine. I find it a bit amusing because Mr. Wild has some German in his family tree. I think our favorite is a spaetlese or a spaetlese riesling.

We thought we were being big wig wine lovers when we had a wine tasting in our home. They were good wines and it really did expose us to a lot of different ones. We found we liked a German Dornfelder, the only red my husband has ever liked. But we cannot remember the winery who made it, and have not found another bottled Dornfelder that we liked. Another really good one was a Gewurztraminer. It was spicy and goes well with spicy Indian food we enjoy eating. The wines ordered from the wine tasting were a bit on the pricey side, and we never ordered again. This was the point where we both knew that he liked German wines, almost exclusively.

We had friends in the area that I would say have a much more sophisticated palette than us. They are slightly older, so I would say maybe more practiced. At their house I got to appreciate their reds--shiraz and merlot--and we tried more Australian wines as well. I've come to like the blends by Rosemount Estates. We liked the traminer reisling that was made by this company, the first time we tried it was in visiting England, but soon found it was also imported to the States. I liked some of the red blends.

We do actually like Australian wines as well, mostly because we can get them cheap. My most recent favorite is Alice White's Lexia. I seriously picked it out because of the Alice. But come to find the wine is made of the Muscat grape, which was also what made up the only sparkling wine we've really liked, Muscato D'Asti. As my husband says, the Coca Cola generation has had our palette ruined and we prefer sweet wines.

My palette might be a bit wider. I am willing to try reds, especially if my friends are drinking them. I suddenly found I liked cabernet sauvignons during my Jane Austen night. But, I won't buy any for myself, because I know Mr. Wild won't drink it with me.

I think what I've learned about wines is that I drink what I like and to keep trying new things. Red wine with dark chocolate can be tasty. So, I am still looking, but I could never do wine reviews. All the looking up of these links for today's post though has taught me more about the wines we do like, and I can kind of see why. Still, I prefer wines that are under $10 and I don't care to spend any more than that, even if there's something that is so incredibly fantastic.

Unless maybe for a special occasion.

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