Grocery Store vs. Small Producers
Challenge Part 1- Gewurztraminer and Thai Food
So, I have decided to put my grocery store wines and my small producer wines to the test. While simultaneously, increasing my blind tastings and food pairing abilities and breakdowns. People have been talking a lot about the cost of wines, quality of wines and pairing of food and wine… So I have decided to put it all to the test in the best way I know how- blind tastings with different dishes. Also, I live on a budget, so the concept of store bought cheaper wines against the more pricey small producers sounded like a great idea to me.
So, today I began with my dinner. Spicy thai shrimp salad paired with two different Gewurztraminer from the Alsace region; one from the local Franprix and the other from the small producer Gerard Metz (if you remember I have already talked about his Pinot Gris an earlier post).
My husband opened and poured the wines for me blindly so I could assess and give my initial reaction without any interaction with the food. Now, I have mentioned before that sweet wines are not my favorite, so in retrospect this might not have been the best wine to start with, but still I will take everything as a learning experience. Here is what I found…
Wine Number One:
Sight– Bright, transparent yellow
Nose– Sweet of apricots, wild flowers, and honey
Taste– Initially it had a drier mouth-feel with less sugar. As it warmed up more, the residual sugar became heavier and less agreeable, sugar exploded in the front of my palate and stayed on my cheeks by the end of the meal.
Finish– Again at the beginning when it was colder there was a freshness to it I found agreeable and thought would go really well with the food, but by the end the sugar settled and it was harder to drink, almost chewy.
Food Pairing– The thai salad I make has varying degrees of spicy. Mine tends to be mild rather than hot and I think because of that this wine had too much sugar, too much contradiction with the thai, almost overtook the meal.
Result– Vin d’Alsace Michel Frantz Gewurztraminer, found at Franprix grocery store for 8€ and the only reason I chose it was because it was the only Gewurztraminer for under 10€ with an award on it… seriously.
Wine Number Two:
Sight– Brighter yellow, gold and clear
Nose– At the beginning the nose was very closed compared to the first, also colder than the first; then more pear, honeydew melon and floral notes arose.
Taste– Initially not my favorite, the sugar was far more pronounced than anything else, but as the wine opened and warmed up a bit it became better rounded in my mouth and fresher, definitely lighter on my palate. The opposite of what I expected.
Finish– I don’t know how to put the finish of this wine into words… it was a ‘cooler’ finish than the first. I mean really, that is all I can say about it. If anyone knows what that would be please let me know! It lingered, but didn’t rest on my cheeks in a way I’m used too…
Food Pairing– By far the better choice, the lighter palate and less residual sugar contradicted the thai, but didn’t overpower and defeat the thai.
Result– Vin d’Alsace Domaine Gerard Metz Vielles Vignes Gewurztraminer, small producer, for 9€ a bottle (normally more, but we bought 6 bottles)… I really enjoy this producers wines.
So what did I learn?
Personally, I learned that I can blind taste and describe wines in French and English, but have trouble just doing one language… seriously, my tasting book is all a mix of the two languages. I also missed when choosing which wine was which. It hurts the pride a LOT, and moreso to share it on a blog… but how else will I learn…? Hopefully tomorrow I will get it right.
Professionally, I learned that while I do not prefer sweet wines for my personal palate, they do have a place when paired with ethnic, slightly spicy foods. The more spice you have to a dish I believe a sweeter wine is better suited and a mild sweetness for a mildly spicy dish. Also, in tasting the temperature does play a factor in how the wines express themselves.
Pour quoi pas? Tomorrow is Taco Tuesday at my house- I still have wine left from both these bottles. I think challenge part 2 will be gewürztraminer and tacos… Hey- I am still trying to breakdown this food and wine pairing every once in a while… Should be interesting! at least I hope…