Thursday, December 23, 2010

To Each His Own (and if the each is me, we're talking lower acidity and alcohol)

The other night I enjoyed a lovely dinner with a couple of my friends who I affectionately think of as the "Queens of the 'Boken." We went to one of our favorite Hoboken restaurants, Bin 14. I've written about dinners and wine flights there before. I really like the food, but I've found the wine list a bit hit and miss. Last night, it became clear to me why I don't love their wine list.

Over the course of dinner, we ordered two bottles of wine: Quinta Nova "Pomares" 2008, a Portuguese wine made from the Touriga Nacional grape, and Ala Nero 2009, an Italian wine made from Nero D'Avola. I've had both grape varietals before and I'm a particular fan of Touriga Nacional (which many feel is truly the national grape of Portugal), but this one had a "little too much heat on it," or as a non-wine snob would say, "I tasted way too much alcohol." In fact, that was the first sensation on my tongue. When I looked at the alcohol content, 13.5%, it was high, but typical for what you'd see from a hotter climate like Portugal. To me, it was "unbalanced," meaning that one of the key elements; in this case alcohol, over powered the acid, tannins and sugars of the wine. The Nero D'Avola was a little better balanced, but was a bit too acidic (Italian wines are supposed to be acidic, but it felt like my tongue was growing hair).

The sommelier and/or owner seems to have a penchant for wines that pack an alcoholoic and/or acidic bite to them. Though I joke about being a snob, I truly believe that "to each his own." If the sommelier likes these wines and as long as I'm aware, I can better navigate the wine list.

The point is that it's o.k. to disagree with someone else's palate. My friend, Tom, and I almost came to blows over a Sauvignon Blanc earlier tonight (o.k., more like a fake butter knife duel, but still, it got heated). That doesn't mean you or the other person is wrong or has a faulty palate. Wine is as subjective as most other foods. My palate seems to have a narrow point of view when it comes to alcohol and acid, but you may find you love them. This doesn't mean you should stop reading my blog, of course. It just means that you should avoid what love and drink what I don't.

On Christmas Eve I'm going to be trying some Italian wines with my friend, Anne, and her family. So until that sniff, sip and quaff,


Alli M.

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