Friday, October 22, 2010

The Winenlightening

I like to think I have a fairly rounded palate.  I love trying new things both in the kitchen and when I’m at a restaurant.  That said, I have some very pronounced dislikes.  Cilantro and those mushy beans they serve at Mexican restaurants make me gag (No seriously.  My world comes to an end if I forget to tell them to leave the beans off the plate).  In my little universe, carrots are only edible when cooked down and used as a base for stew.  And I have never met a plate of lamb that I liked.  If that means I’ll get my food blogging credentials removed, so be it.

Additionally, I do not have a well-rounded wine palate.  I drink red.  That’s it.  Give me a Bordeaux, Tempranillo, Pinot Noir, Syrah or Zin.  Just don’t put anything in front of me that happily espouses its citrus notes.  To me, white wine is solely used for cooking.  Mostly risotto.  I’m not apologizing.

But one day I ran across someone waxing poetic about the joys of a really good, buttery Chardonnay.  Buttery.  Like popcorn.  I like popcorn.  Especially with butter.  Hell, you can even leave out the popcorn.  And so I thought, it is time to expand my horizons.  I will actually pick up a bottle of white wine that I intend to consume with a meal.

I hit a wine shop on the way home with two criteria in mind:  The wine had to be described as ‘buttery’, and it had to be under $20.  I mean, I can find a decent red wine for that much.  Why would I pay more for WHITE??

So setting aside my usual method of shopping for wine (by wine label design), I browsed the selection until I came across one that fit my very practical, if not scientific, specifications.  I took it home and started chilling it.

Dinner that night was a butternut squash risotto with pan fried sage leaves and a basic chicken piccata (sorry, no pix - I struggle with a short attention span).  I used my newly acquired wine in the risotto and stirred it to perfection (making risotto to me is roughly the equivalent of meditation) and then eagerly took my first bite, followed by a sip of the Chardonnay and waited for these completely harmonious flavors to wash over me.  I closed my eyes, leaned back in my chair and…  Eh.  It was… fine.  Fine in the way that a perfectly sensible pair of shoes is fine.  They work, but they don’t exactly stir your passions like those horribly impractical but oh-so-fabulous pair of strappy platforms do.

And so the Chardonnay has been relegated to the fridge, waiting for another batch of risotto.

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