Wine of the Week: Rosé

Posted by Big Daddy Paul in Blank of the Blank

If you are like me, there are certain truths that are self-evident. Sure, all the crap in the Declaration of Independence is a place to start, but my list goes well beyond that. I believe the only acceptable condiment on a corn dog is mustard. Men should never wear white shoes and sandals are out of the question. People who mistake hemophilia with pedophilia should be barred from working in a children’s hospital. Until recently, I also believed that rosé came in a box and was only properly served on a houseboat.

Boy, was I wrong. The rosé here is strong. Real strong.

Looking and tasting nothing like the rosés I was used to, French Rosé is a basically a way to hug each of your senses. It is served chilled, and enjoying some rosé on a nice warm day is one of my favorite experiences here.

They make rosé in almost every wine region in France, but we have been paying special attention to the Côtes-de-provence region, in Southern France. Rosés vary in color from salmon-urine pink to I-need-to-get-my-liver-checked orange. To me, rosé is best when it loks like watermelon juice that has been left out in the sun for a few hours.

I am reusing this pic from an earlier post, but whatever. The sentiment is perfect.

I am reusing this pic from an earlier post, but whatever. The sentiment is perfect.

For the most part, rosés have a nice balance of dry and sweet. When a rosé hits the mark, (probably 80% of them do) every sip is like ensconcing your tongue in a cold velvet sock (one that’s been dipped in honey!) Oh, sure, you could drink wine like a connoisseur, searching for hints of berry or undertones of leathery hay, but I don’t. I drink rosé and think of friendship and sunshine.

The fact that rosé goes well with any food is not lost on me either. Rosé is the pork of wines, versatile and suitable for any mood. (Didn’t like that metaphor? How’s this one: rosé is the mullet of wines, business in the front and party in the back! You can rock your rosé anywhere you go.) We’ve had rosé with steak and blue cheese salad, salami, popcorn and pastries. You can pair a good rosé with almost anything and it makes that almost anything better. Right now, I can’t think of anything better than enjoying a perfectly balanced rosé at an outdoor restaurant with some friends, eating some duck breast and laughing about life. Luckily, we have some friends coming into town and we plan on doing a lot of that.

Words used to describe rosé: balanced, Bryan Adams’ “Summer of ’69”

Words not used to describe rosé: fussy, one-dimensional, fully clothed.

Cheese of the Week: Langres

Posted by Big Daddy Paul in Blank of the Blank

Langres: An unpasteurized cow cheese made in the northeast part of France, near Champagne.

I totally should have taken a picture of this cheese whole, but I just couldn't help myself!

I totally should have taken a picture of this cheese whole, but I just couldn’t help myself!

Langres is a weird looking cheese. Its veiny, wrinkled exterior is tinted orange, giving it the appearance of an extra on the Golden Girls. (The orange comes from regular washings with annatto extract. How someone decided to wash French cheese with a subtropical orange spice is beyond me. The effort that they put into cheese here!) It has a cylindrical shape, curiously reminiscent of the mountain on Close Encounters, except that its roof is caved in. This caved in roof is called “the fontaine” and creates the perfect excuse to supplement your cheese experience by pouring some brandy in it. I am going on record right now by saying that we need more things in this world that have dented roofs so that you can pour alcohol on top.

The smell of the cheese is slightly funky, enough to wrinkle your nose and wonder, “What’s that smell?” but not too strong that you to answer, “Paul’s feet.” You definitely need to clean up after you’re done eating it, for it lingers in the kitchen long after your done enjoying it.

My first taste of the cheese was a thing of beauty. It’s sticky, creamy consistency at room temperature automatically became my third favorite food texture ever, trailing only perfectly cooked steak and roasted marshmallow. The cheese has a pungent, salty taste that beguiles your senses without over powering them. It had something to it, something I couldn’t put my finger on and never quite did. Langres is a hot date with a strong accent at a crowded bar: you’re not ever 100% sure what they are saying, but you sure as hell like the way they are saying it.

This wine goes well with big, red wines. It may be the perfect cheese to serve to guests. I plan on doing so the next chance I get.

Words used to describe this wine: wrinkled, salty, sticky, orange, (Basically J Lo in 20 years.)

Words not used to describe this wine: Crunchy, sterilized.

A Tale of Two Wines

Posted by Big Daddy Paul in Blank of the Blank

I love drinking wine. It is a national pastime here, and the availability of excellent wine at a reasonable cost is a huge draw. If you go to a restaurant, you will often find that a pretty decent house wine costs much less than a soda. (Plus, wine makes you giggly, while soda rots your teeth and makes you diabetic.) We end most every day with our feet kicked up and a glass of wine in our hands. We are totally spoiled.

Here are two noteworthy wines of late:

Wine #1: Domaine Noel Girard. This wine is from the area, “Pouilly Fuisse,” which translates roughly as “Fussy Chicken.” It is grown in the Burgundy Region, close to the center of France. It is made exclusively from Chardonnay grapes.

I love this wine. Normally, white wines want to take me down I path I have no interest in. I really don’t like overly dry wines, overly sweet wines or wines that taste like lawn clippings or rose petals. After drinking most white wines, I feel as if my mouth has been ravaged by a bee, which really isn’t a good quality for something you put in your mouth. I recognize that my comfort zone for white wines is pretty small.

           Heck Ya!

Heck Ya!

This wine, however, is like your stoner friend in college. It is chill, easy going and just wants to imagine a better world to live in. It doesn’t wear a hat, but I am sure that if it did, it would be rastafarian. This wine is simple, not trying to be too anything. It’s flatness is a virtue, promising nothing remotely close to a series of bee stings. If you really want to search, you can find some pear and tiny hints of butter, like the feint odor of bong water you could detect on your college pal. It is crisp, but not too crisp, like a Cheetoh that has been found after sitting for several hours lost in your couch cushions. I love this wine and will go to it often once the weather is nicer.

Words I would use to describe this wine: Sunshine, Citrus-Cleanliness, Springtime, Smiling Hippy.

Words I would not use to describe this wine: Grassy, Gassy or Floral. Racist.

Wine 2: Le Blah-Blah-Blah. I think the winery knew this wine was a stinker. The name on the bottle is tiny and the cursive is ornate to the point of illegibility. At least I think so. I just drank a good deal of that white wine, so I can’t see so good now. Whatever the winery is, it was grown in Saumur-Champigny, which is smack dab in the middle of the Loire Valley. It is made up predominantly of Cabernet Franc, and Francly, I think this wine is terrible.

Hell No!

Hell No!

This wine smells like an old person sitting upon a large pile to flowers, all well past their prime. Mind you, this isn’t a casual, passing whiff, either; this is grabbing their stale blue hairpiece and really getting your nose down into it, taking every sad experience they’ve ever had into your nasal canal. Then, you taste: tasting gives the sensation that you have released the head of your geriatric rotten flower lounger and commenced licking the folds in his/her neck, constantly discovering new flavors you wished never existed. Do I detect Lycra from the 70’s? Is that a perfume you bought on vacation, only to find out it was old goat water? What kind of mint is that? Vapor rub? I can’t seem to taste this wine without every muscle in my face recoiling in horror. It’s bad. I can’t even finish the glass.

Words I would use to describe this wine: moth balls, beef jerky soaked in rose water, angry hornets in your mouth.

Words I would NOT use to describe this wine: pleasant, drinkable, worth a dollar.

Cheese Of The Week: Mont D’Or

Posted by Big Daddy Paul in Blank of the Blank

I am starting a new feature around here. It’s called the [blank] of the [blank]. There are certain things I’d like to share about stuff we do/eat/drink here and they may not fit into a whole blog post. So, I’ll write a little mini post about whatever it is and provide some background details as well as my experience. It’s like a review only more useless. So, without further ado, here is my first:

Cheese Of The Week!

Like fondue, in a spruced up pot!

So bubbly, so good.

This cheese is called Mont D’or and is only available during the winter months. It is made in the mountains near the border of France and Switzerland, from raw cow’s milk. Why raw cow, you ask? Have you ever had milk from a cooked cow? Totally gross. This cheese looks cool when you buy it. It comes in a spruce-lined thin wood container. Why spruce, you ask? One of the first cheese-makers thought the package a bit plain and ordered his staff to, ahem, spruce it up a bit. (HAHAHAHA, making cheese jokes is going to be easier than I thought!) The cheese has an orange rind and is runny enough to eat it with a spoon at room temperature. This may seem tempting to do, but please don’t. You’d be missing out on a true French cheese pleasure.

Following a recipe I found here, I sliced some garlic and jammed it down in the cheese, topped it off with some white wine and baked in the oven for half an hour. The result was ridiculous, and I recently enjoyed some with a crusty baguette with my parents. It was like fondue, and I fondon’t want to forget about it any time soon. It makes you think of that time you got back from a hard day of skiing and returned to your mountain cabin, stripped naked in front of the fire and made love on a bear skin rug, even if none of those things has ever happened to me you.

Words I would use to describe this cheese (as prepared):

Ooey. Gooey. Unctious. Deep. Hay-ee. Slightly Funky. Amazing.

Words I wouldn’t use to describe this cheese:

Hard. Mediterranean. Smells-Like-Lady-Business (Admittedly, though, there was actually some debate in our house as to whether or not this was true. I thought not, whilest others weren’t so convinced. Buyer beware.)

You may have a hard time finding this cheese outside France, owing to its un-pasteurized-ness, but if you do ever find it, grab some, get home and enjoy an experience that will actually make you glad it is winter.