So much wine knowledge is easily available online!
This February 2020 article from Vinography, a wine blog, lists nearly all the outstanding 2018 Napa Cabs and their ratings from the Napa Valley Vintners Association’s fundraising event, Premiere Napa Valley: vinography.com/2020/02/napas_epic_harvest_tasting_the. I saved the article until the wines were readily available. There are 200 listings broken down into categories, in .5-point rating increments, i.e., 9.5-10. There are also thumbnail descriptions. Trust me on this. Although the winemakers put special emphasis on the wine to be auctioned at this barrel tasting and the prices are high, primarily due to its being a charity auction, this is a bellwether indication of quality. I would compare it to Les Hospices Civils de Beaune Pinot Noir auction in Burgundy, in terms of best foot forward. I rarely refer folks to barrel tastings. Normally, the wine is raw and its evaluation requires a bit of training to determine whether the often-abrasive components will meld into a properly balanced product over a specific time frame. Based on personal experience with groups, most find barrel samples unappealing. In most instances, better wine is constructed requiring aging, both in barrels and then bottles, prior to consumption. Longtimers will note, I propose that many drink wine before the winemaker intended. Please explore by purchasing two bottles, one current and one with 4 years age from the same producer and winemaker, with very similar profiles, to sample side by side. Frequently, only one try will completely inform the value of aging.
Last week I promised a bit more on vegan wines. For those with no familiarity, let’s start by describing the differences between three vegan products that can “taste just like....” Tofu and tempeh are soy-based ingredients. Tofu has a smooth texture and is made from condensed, pressed soy milk. Tempeh is made from fermented soybeans, frequently formed with ingredients like beans, grains and spices. Both are unlike gluten-based seitan. Those who make their own seitan using flour should try a product named vital wheat gluten instead. Much less kneading and less starch to extract. Please be sure to simmer the dough until it reaches at least at least 160 degrees in its center; raw flour can be unhealthy to consume. Although “say-tan” is not suggested for celiac disease sufferers, it is great for those on high-protein diets. Gluten is a protein. High-protein diets reduce the hunger-driver protein named ghrelin and make one thirsty. See what I did there? Those who use seitan as a staple, please be aware it is insufficient in lysine, so add foods such as apples, beans, dairy, pears, quinoa or soy milk to the menu. Each will absorb flavors. My wine choices are driven by the ingredients used to enhance them. Those curious about food and health can search Diet and Fitness Today. There are drop-downs that list hundreds of foods and their nutritional/vitamin values. While researching, I also learned from research into resveratrol, found in red wine, that a possible cure for cold sores and herpes is in the works. One of its components, stil-5, works in the lab against these viruses. The mechanism is similar to that employed by the C-19 protein signaling injections. Two Dr. John excuses to drink red wine in one column, oh my.
Following are some parings for common vegan dishes. Some were Bidenized, then modified by McD from thewinesisters.com. Tofurkey, Quorn (soy free) or Gardein meatless, vegetarian Turk Y Roast via Amazon or Walmart likes a light Pinot Noir or Beaujolais. Lasagna goes well with Chianti Classico; spicy Asian prefers an NZ Sauvignon Blanc, Austrian Gruner Veltliner, Spanish Verdejo, or Vinho Verde from Portugal. Veggie burgers with Gamay are great. Plant-based burgers, without all that animal fat and protein, don’t need the tannins found in other reds. Chili or tacos ask for big Zins because we are matching the bean, chili pepper, onion, spice profile. Most curries, vegan or meat, and Gewurztraminers (yeah, I know) are perfect together. Pasta primaveri (avoid tomatoes and bitter greens) are enhanced by Pinot Grigio, Vermentino and Soave. Those vegans who tolerate cheese should find a high-acidity Riesling. The acidity rids the palate of the fatty aspects of the cheese. Best to all for a wonderful Thanksgiving.