I remembered this post idea I had awhile back after going to Rudy’s twice in a week. Rudy’s is the local cooking/wine shop and first we went the wine tasting “First Friday” even last friday and then cooking class this week. The class was taught by a fairly well known chef name John Ash. He knew Julia Childs (if you haven’t seen Julie and Julia yet go to netflix and move it to the top, best movie I’ve seen in awhile), had a show on the early Food Network, has award winning cook books, and a top restaurant in California and somehow teaching a class in Twin Falls to 30 Idahoins. We had a wonderful time and Rudy’s is a great place, good wine selection especially given our local, see more here:

So anyway, being immersed in foodie/wine culture twice in a week made me remember the hazards of being a discriminating palate. Anyone that knows my mother knows that I was raised in a food/wine culture. A comment I made at the age of six or so was “My mother doesn’t cook she makes recipes”. Which at the time was basically an insult to my mother’s complicated cooking, but now as an adult the fact that the list of foods I don’t like is limited to like 2 things (which I can’t think of right now) speaks to the diversity of exposure in my youth. My mother can tell you about the time I ordered the $30 Pheasant (again probably age eight) meal at a restaurant because it said “half off any entree under age 12”. The margin on fresh caught pheasant is presumably fairly tight and the restaurant could not honor the previously stated arrangement for the pheasant. And no they had not every run into that problem before.

I also have a very good sense of smell. This delicate nose of mine can be quite a problem in my profession as we are frequently dealing with the smell of rotten butt abscesses or various other discharges of the nether regions which are unpleasant to the olfactory system of any person. With wine however it makes me quite astute as picking up subtleties that others perhaps don’t appreciate. I admit that my wife is somewhat better at brainstorming what she smells and we make a very good pair to taste wine. It’s the thing I miss the most about pre-pregnancy is drinking wine with my wife. The result of this wine enjoyment has been that I have built up a fairly impressive collection of expensive wine and I’ve tasted or drank some amazing wine as a result of this passion.

So I have a refined palate, broad food enjoyment potential and oenophelia. This however comes with it’s draw backs. The main drawback and the one that I’ll finish this small discussion is a degree of snootiness that borders on the wasteful or absurd. I originally thought of posting something about this when I found myself getting ready to throw away a piece of fruit at work. I don’t now remember the type of fruit, but the details were essentially this: the fruit was not spoiled, it did not taste bad, it was not bruised, it had no mold, is just simply was not very good. So I was going to throw it away.

I’m a little horrified at myself even now. I caught myself and finished eating the fruit as I should have in the first place. But the simple fact was that for a brief second I knew I had had better fruit before and I was not interested in finishing that piece of fruit despite being hungry and globally needing more fruit in the diet. This is my concern. It’s easy to do this with wine also. Have a few sips of less than delicious wine at a party and think “I’m not drinking freaking Merlot” (Sideways reference…if you haven’t seen that go and put that at #2 on Netflix), despite the fact that you are having fun at the party and the wine does not have poison in it.

It’s the rich stockbroker forgetting that they came from poverty and not associating with “common folk” anymore. Similar idea. In fact it was after that fruit incident that I decided I would use my wife’s pregnancy as an opportunity to revisit cheap wine (I went through a stretch where the average price of wine I was drinking was around $30!) and do what I did when I first really got into wine.

My wine turning point for me was an expensive bottle of wine ($60) I bought at the Co-op in Boise, which my mother still talks about to this day. I decided to splurge for my own birthday and on 5/26/2006 we drank a bottle of 2001 Elderton Shiraz, which had received like 96-98 points from one of the wine magazines. This wine was amazing, the quote of the night was “this is the best shiraz I have every had” –Susan Kern. I liked wine before that, but not like this. It totally changed my view on what was possible with taste. We had an amazing meal and it was after that that I really, really started getting into wine. I started buying about one good bottle per month to save away (which I’m still basically doing) and drinking a lot of cheaper wines to learn about the various tastes, sites, smells, etc. Overtime as I had more money available I stopped drinking as much of the cheap stuff. After the fruit incident and after my wife became pregnant however I have been going back to the $7.50-10 price range to re-hone my palate and prepare myself for enjoying wine again.

So it’s important to remember what not so good wine and not so good fruit tastes like so when the really amazing stuff comes along we appreciate it even more. I think this has broader applications in life, but I’ll leave it to you to decide on that since this post has already gotten pretty long…

Published in: on May 14, 2010 at 1:22 am  Leave a Comment  

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