“Oh she may be weary, young girls they do get weary…” Drinking the same big, bold, red wines…
Big, bold red wines, oh how I love them! Cab, Bordeaux, Petite Syrah, Zinfandel, Brunello di Montancino… week after week, these are my “go-to” vintages. I totally know what to expect from each of these wine types and can purchase bottles with confidence, knowing the grape varietal in the bottle rarely disappoints me.
For my husband’s 50th birthday party, I hired a sommelier to entertain and educate our small group, asking him to pair wines with each dinner course. We’ll call him “Bill”. Actually his name is Bill - no need for anonymity here! I explained to Bill what our wine preferences are, presented the menu and listed my suggestions for each course. He threw out every one my choices of the big, bold reds and expertly paired the food with varietals that would actually enhance the meal. “Have an open mind”, he said. “Get out of your comfort zone.”
I explained that most of our friends also like big, bold reds and that I was concerned that people would be disappointed with the rosé and white selections that were to dominate the evening. That was what I told Bill. In reality, I knew that everyone would enjoy the meal and the carefully paired wines. I was worried about ME not being satisfied with an evening full of “inferior” wines!
Just to prove that I am capable of giving up control (those of you who know me can stop laughing now…), I set out, list in hand, running from wine store to wine store, spending a small fortune on wine I was sure I wouldn’t really enjoy and wondering if it would be in bad taste to open a bottle of my beloved big, bold reds and hide it under the table during dinner… Sensibility prevailed.
We started with a delicate, dry rosé from the south of France, made from Grenache and Syrah, principally. It had floral and mineral notes, was very pretty in the glass and was appreciated by everyone… even me.
Next up was an Italian white Soave made from a grape I’ve never heard of (Garganega). Party guests raved about this wine with its balanced acidity, peach and mineral notes. It was a very elegant wine indeed, but by this time of the evening, I found myself longing for a little something different, a little something… red.
The next course did offer us a choice of red or white… the only problem was the red selection was a (drum roll please…) Pinot Noir. UGH. Did I mention I like big, bold reds? Pinot Noir is generally neither of those things.
Course number 4 brought with it a St. Emilion Grand Cru – at last! Full on big, bold flavor from Merlot and Cabernet Franc. I felt like banging on the table screaming “Yes, YES!” like Meg Ryan did in When Harry Met Sally. THIS is what I had been waiting for the entire evening.
I can honestly admit that I did enjoy stretching my palette and trying new wines. (I am so fortunate to have the chance to do this very thing every trip to Napa when planning NVJG!) The evening and the company were perfect and the wine selections really did enhance the food (which is the point of paring the two together, right?). But in the end, I have to be honest… I will never grow weary of my big, bold reds.