In our small wine shop in eastern North Carolina, I write shelftalkers for our displayed wines. Many times I try to give a few taste and aroma descriptors along with at least one food pairing. It is a great exercise for me as it forces me to describe wines in writing so that I don’t forget them. It also allows customers to browse in our shop without having to ask questions if they don’t feel like it.
Today, during lunch service, a couple was strolling through our wine room, and they asked Frances could they speak with the wine buyer.
Frances retrieved me from the kitchen where I was extremely busy inhaling french fries, and I made my way into the office to answer some questions about wine–my most favorite job in the world.
The couple was looking at the shelftalker describing the Domaine Seguinot-Bordet Chablis 2009, and I had written the following:
“An expression of Chardonnay that can only be described as pure, Chablis is one of my most favorite growing regions. Tart green apple, oyster shells and minerality that doesn’t stop, this wine is perfect with Chicken Scallopine or a fresh Arugula Salad with Lemon Viniagrette.”
The couple had read the shelftalker, and they wanted to ask me a question about the flavors I had described.
The man looked at the bottle, and then he looked at me. He asked, “Do they add green apples and oyster shells to the wine to make it taste that way?”
My most favorite explanation of wine was allowed to be expressed this afternoon as I excitedly responded with the following:
“Grapes are the only fruit in the world with the magical ability to taste and smell like other things once they are made into wine.”
“If you make wine from peaches, it smells like peaches; if you make wine from pineapple, it smells like pineapple; but grapes, vinifera grapes, that is (think Merlot, Riesling, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay….), are the only fruit in the world to have the incredible ability to smell like dark plums, green apple, lime zest, smoke, buttered toast, the list goes on and on and on and on.”
In case anyone reading has ever wondered that question, and I hope you have so you’ll continue to read, grapes are magical. They are crazy magical, and wine produced from grapes take on nuances and flavors you couldn’t imagine in a million years they would be able to have.
The next time you taste a wine, think about all of the many flavors you sniff out in the glass and eventually taste. It’s pretty amazing grapes have that type of complexity, that type of ability, that type of magic.
It is yet another reason to drink the juice, to get a little magic in your veins.
Cheers to the magic of the vino!