About Me
I'm a Melbourne boy, hailing from St Kilda with one ex, one current wife and four kids. Love the outdoors and making new discoveries. I cook a lot at home (cheers from wife) and do some preserving, mostly jams, pickles and fruit liqueurs. This is the diary of a cooking journey.

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Tuesday, October 24, 2006
The Wine Drought
I was chatting with a mate the other day and he asked what I'd been drinking lately. The weather had turned decidedly hot in the space of a few days, which meant I'd switched from red wine to white, so I mentioned the name of a pleasant little riesling that didn't cost a lot of dollars and then asked what he was drinking. He said that he opened a red wine on the day it reached 33 c (91 f) and that he didn't enjoy it at all, eventually drinking a beer instead.

I don't know about you, but in the hotter weather, red wine doesn't seem enjoyable at all to me. In the tropics, for those who have to have red wine, they have developed a ploy of dropping an ice cube or two in the glass and of course the same effect can be had by chilling the bottle for a few hours, there is even the option of a wine spritzer. But why would you bother? White wines are perfect for the warmer months of the year and are excellent chilled, unlike reds which suffer a loss of flavour. Unless of course, you don't like white wine - like my mate.

One time he called me on the phone to ask a question about a well regarded chardonnay that he'd opened and was having trouble coming to terms with. The wine in question had been cellared by him for a few years and should have been drinking at or near its peak, but my friend didn't like it. Thinking it may be corked, I asked him to put the cork back in and bring it to me the next time he was over my way, which he did. When I tasted it, I went into raptures, it was a wonderful example of chardonnay, absolutely perfect in every way.

But to my mate, it wasn't red.

A while ago, David Lebovitz wrote this about white chocolate. Upon reading, I immediately felt a bit prejudiced, for I have never been too fond of white chocolate, but David went on to say the only difference between white and dark chocolate is that white contains none of the cacao mass. Apart from this one thing, white and dark chocolate are essentially the same thing. It is nearly exactly the same with wine. All wine starts out clear or white, what happens next determines the colour of the finished wine. When the juice is pressed from the grapes, regardless of the grapes skin colour, it is clear juice. What happens next for red wine is that the crushed, red grape skins are added back to this clear juice, colouring it and adding a little bit of tannin.

So what do we make of people that can only enjoy red wine? Don't worry about the tannins, for some white wines have a lot of tannins as well. What these people are saying is that they like coloured wine, for that is pretty much all the skins add. There's no extra flavour added, which has been demonstrated at tastings where the tasters are blindfolded and have been unable to pick between red and white wines, amazing as that seems.

What it means for my friend, unable to like white wines and not really enjoying reds in the warmer months, is the start of the wine drought.
  posted at 10:55 am

At 12:41 pm, Anonymous Ellie said...

Like yourself, I'm more inclined to drink reds in the cooler seasons and white when it's warmer, however I've got a friend who dislikes whites and continues to drink reds throughout the summer. I don't know if an actual difference exists, but I find whites much lighter and crisper and more refreshing than reds, which I find to be a warming experience.

Is that really the only difference between white and dark chocolate? I can't get the link to David's blog to work, but white seems much sweeter and oiler to me than dark does...

At 9:37 am, Blogger Ange said...

I'm with you on the wine & I feel sorry for those people who cant experience the full range, white, red, even pink - bring it all on - each has its time & place for the perfect drinkign moment. Oh & by the way I also adore chocolate of any color, shape or flavour too - I hate to limit myself in any one thing

At 5:24 pm, Blogger neil said...

Hi ellie, I certainly agree with you about the difference between the wines and liking both can't wait for the different seasons.

Hi ange, I want to feel sorry for those that don't enjoy a good white wine, then I think it's just more for me!


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