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WineSpeed | Cristom

Weekly insights from veteran wine writer Karen MacNeil.

Photo by Trevor Tinker/Getty

CRISTOM | “Louise Vineyard” Pinot Noir 2015

(Eola-Amity Hills, Willamette Valley, Oregon) $55

The aromas of Christmas-to-come were already floating in the room—the piney incense of the Christmas tree, the rich fruitiness of plums, the deep roast of chestnuts, the edgy spiciness of nutmeg.Wait. They weren’t in the room. They were just in the glass, and like all great wines, this one was capable of taking me a riff of imagination. I hadn’t even tasted the wine yet, but I was intoxicated. As for flavor, imagine dancing slowly with someone who dances better than you. My advice: Don’t think. Just keep following. (14% abv).

94 points KM

Available at Hi-Time Wine Cellars

With the holidays approaching, we thought we would test your food and wine pairing knowledge. Which of these foods does not have a risky relationship with wine?

A. Eggs

B.  Cruciferous Vegetables

C. Garlic

D. Bacon

Scroll down for the answer!

Who Was The “Blue” Nun?

The first Liebfraumilch (literally, milk of Our Blessed Lady) wines were produced around 1296 from vineyards surrounding the Liebfrauenkirche (Church of Our Blessed Lady) outside the German city of Worms. Liebfraumilch is a slightly sweetish, inexpensive wine made from a blend of mostly Müller-Thurgau, riesling and silvaner. For decades, the largest-selling German wine in the English-speaking world, Sichel Liebfraumilch, pictured stern, matronly German nuns in brown habits against a blue sky. (Nuns symbolized the close association of the church with wine). Consumers began referring to the “nuns and blue label wine.” In the next Sichel label renditions, there were fewer and thinner nuns; then the nuns smiled. By 1958 the nuns were clothed in blue habits. Today, the label of Blue Nun shows a single coquettish blonde with blue eyes wearing a pastel blue habit, holding a basket of grapes, and smiling in a way that would make the Mona Lisa envious. 

“If we sip the wine, we find dreams coming upon us out of the imminent night.”

—D.H. Lawrence, English novelist (1885-1930)

Butler

Curiously, the word butler is thought to have derived from the term bottler. From the time of the Middle Ages through the mid-18th century, the English upper classes bought wine in barrels and then transferred it into bottles that sometimes carried a family seal, crest, or other private marking. In a significantly large and wealthy household, it was one of the food service tasks of the head servant to monitor the wine cellar, filling glass bottles as needed for the dining room. Thus, the “bottler” from the Old French bouteillier (bottle bearer) became in time, the butler.

What is a Sexy Wine?

Last week, WineSpeed reader Terry R. from Lincoln, California, wrote in with a question I’d never been asked before. Terry said, “I’ve seen you and other writers use the term ‘sexy wine.’ What exactly is a sexy wine?” I have to admit, I had to think about my answer. But I also wanted to know how others would answer the question, too, so I posed it on social media and offered to Continue Reading…

Edible Delirium

Okay, something is seriously wacky with the cheese people. First, pink prosecco cheese. Now this: Finlandia cheese company has created an edible cheese wine glass and edible cheese beer glass. At first, I thought, “OK, I’ll get one as a gag gift (really a gag gift) for WineSpeed’s publisher since he likes cheese.” But then I found out each eat-me glass cost $5,000. And then I discovered you could only buy the glass on Facebook (beat that op-ed Amazon) and only on one day—last Wednesday. I swear if eat-me glass went viral, I’m in the wrong business. Your complimentary subscription BrieSpeed will arrive next week. 

D. Bacon saves the day again. Bacon is great with wine. In fact, adding bacon to a dish can act as a “bridge” to many wines, including chardonnays that have been made and aged in new oak. Eggs contain sulfur, and release sulfur compounds when cooked, often contributing an off-flavor to wines. Ditto for broccoli, cauliflower, kale and cabbage (cruciferous vegetables) all of which also release sulfur compounds when cooked. And garlic (especially raw garlic) is so pungent and its flavor so persistent on the palate, that accompanying wines often taste hollow by comparison.  

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