Saturday, August 15, 2009
Beer or Wine ?
I'm a California wine drinker from way back; I've never been much of a beer drinker. Even on hot days in the summer, I prefer a cold glass of white wine to a beer. You might recall from a previous post, I occasionally put a sprig of lavender in my wine. In my younger days I started drinking Annie Green Springs and Boone's Farm, which were somewhat affordable on a college budget. I think I probably brought one of those to a Janis Joplin concert. Back then cheap wine and M&M's was the perfect snack for the evening. Wine and chocolate, what a combo. Do they still have Annie Green Springs and Boone's Farm wines today?
Later I graduated to box wines. Those too were inexpensive. I remember bringing box wine on camping trips to the Sierra mountains. Having wine in a non breakable container was very convenient. I'd do a little trout fishing and cook my trout over an open fire and drink a little box wine. I remember camping at Lake Davis and catching some large Kokanee. We'd rent an aluminum boat with a 12 hp motor and head to our favorite fishing spot (no, I'm not telling) where we were sure to catch something.
My favorite way to cook fresh trout is to clean the fish but leave the head on. Leaving the head on helps to keep the fish together while it cooks. After I clean the fish, I put some lemon slices in the body cavity. Next I wrap the whole fish with slices of hickory smoked bacon inserting toothpicks on an angle to keep the bacon from falling off. Then I place the fish on a grate over a camp fire which has burned down and has a bed of coals. The fish is slow cooked over the fire. When the bacon drips down sometimes the flames lick up into the air. It helps to have a spray bottle of water to squelch the flames. The idea is not to let the bacon burn. When the bacon is crisp, the fish is done. There's nothing better than fresh trout cooked over an open camp fire, but you can also use this method to cook fish on your grill at home.
Later I discovered the sweeter white zinfandel wines and started drinking those. Now don't get me wrong I didn't drink all these wines all at one time. All this drinking spanned many years, albeit decades. So I've had plenty of time to try lots of different wines. When I lived in Northern California, a perfect date was to go to the Napa Valley wine country. In fact, on my first date with Gary we went to a winery and then out to dinner to an Italian restaurant, probably Bosko's Trattoria. This started my introduction to some of the finer wines of California. I started drinking white wines like sauvignon blanc, chardonnay, riesling, and gewurztraminer. Later I graduated to red wines of merlot, petit sirah, pinot noir, zinfandel and cabernet sauvignon. If you don't know what type of wine you like, visiting the wine country is a good way to taste different wines to see which you prefer.
Drinking wines from different wineries is like eating a meal at a different restaurant or eating a meal made by a different cook. Even the same food from a different restaurant or made by a different cook will taste different. It's the same for wine. The same variety of wine made by a different winery or grown in a different region will have a different flavor, a different taste. It seems one can never grow tired of drinking wine, because there is always a new one to try.
Several years ago I discovered the pleasure of wine from other countries, like Australia, Chile, France, Italy, New Zealand, South Africa and Spain. Once your palette knows a California wine, you can definitely tell the difference when you drink a wine from another country. There is something different about the flavor. In recent times, I've started drinking wine on a budget. Two Buck Chuck from Trader Joes and Foxbrook from Save Mart grocery. Occasionally World Market has good deals on wine too. Surprisingly some of the not-so-expensive wines are bottled by big name wineries under different labels.
This leads me to the reason I started writing this post in the first place. I feel like I should apologize for not having anything new to report about my ceramics. I've had a lot of weeding and watering to do and then I've had to keep this place spotless for folks coming to look. I hate having my house for sale; I don't seem to have much time recently for my clay. Spider webs grow over night, dust bunnies multiply, paint needs touch up, walkways need sweeping, and on and on. I can't wait for the cooler weather or to sell this place, whichever comes first.
This evening Gary turned in early; he's tired from mowing and weed eating. I didn't want to open a bottle of wine for myself, so I thought I'd try a beer. I looked in the refrigerator to see what Gary had in there and saw some bottles on the lower shelf. I figured if I didn't like it I could always pour it down the drain. I know you beer drinkers are crying (in your beer) over that statement.
Anyway, the beer I pulled out of the refrigerator was a Michelob Ultra Lime Cactus. Being the beer drinkers that they are, my potter and blogger friends Gary Rith and Jim Gottuso and Tracey Broome, and probably a few more beer aficionados I'm forgetting, are probably saying "Linda thinks Michelob is a beer?" Well, the first swig wasn't so bad, it had a lime flavored taste rather than a strong beer flavor. The next drink I took was pretty good and there was a nice frothy white head on top. It was cold and light and I liked it. OK, don't get your hopes up, I'm not that easily converted. But every once in a while I guess a beer isn't that bad.