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Friday, 27 February 2009

Wine & Food

Fly on the Wall

By Don Merlot

With this economy, our food and wine budgets are slashed, and this will affect our home budget, as well as our entertainment budget.

Watching the Internet, it is clear that United States Americans are breaking the obesity barrier and becoming candidates for diabetes faster than anyone at any time. A nation afflicted by gout and diabetes -– goodbye scallops, beer, crème Brule.... The discipline is recognizing that nevermore or never again can I go down that path.

But wait! If I am not there yet, and I cut back and show some discipline, what do I eat?

· Start off with fruit. Fresh fruit as much as possible every morning.

· Whole wheat breads, cereals and grains.

· Lean meats.

· Green vegetables steamed or stir fried.

· Light on the carbohydrates and stay away from cream sauces.

· Cheeses moderation.

· If you are counting calories, stay around 1200 for three meals. Once you pass that 2000 you're gaining weight, especially if you drink at night after supper.

· Exercise.

· Drink moderately, no more than two glasses of wine.

Learning the Hard Way
I was catching a plane from Chicago to Tampa for the Super Bowl, and, at the gate, a fan had just finished his meal and was taking my flight. He turned ill -– he was getting a heart attack. Those who knew the symptoms jumped right in to save him, but he did not survive. Seeing the scene created a memory which reminds me every morning: Do your exercise, eat healthy, and drink no more than two glasses of wine. I talk to myself every morning when I go to the lav mirror. Do you talk to yourself in the mirror when you way up in the morning? You should, Cheer yourself on.

Shot Went Around the World
Recently I was flying home from Sao Paulo, I saw Bottle Shock a new release movie of the 1976 era when California soared into the wine world and displaced Bordeaux and Burgundy as 'King of the Wine World.' In a blind tasting conducted in France, wines from California beat the best Bordeaux and Burgundies. It is a hysterical comedy and a historical novel of sorts. It is hilarious, and if you have not seen it, do so.. It's a true story, by the way.

The movie reminded me that sometimes the little victories change history -- and not wars, earthquakes and tsunamis. The wine world center went from France to the University of California at Davis. The New World equaled and surpassed the Old World; junior beat senior.

· In the wine trade, it was when Chateau Montolona, a chardonnay, and Stage's Leap, a Cabernet Sauvignon, won in a blind tasting in Paris by French judges. No fixe here.

The movie is hilarious. Today, 30 years later, we pay 50 bucks in a white linen table cloth restaurant for a Californian, Australian, New Zealand, Chilean, Argentine, or South African bottle that sells for 10 bucks at retail.

Makes you wonder why a restaurant wants to relay on its profits from wine instead of their creative chefs. Who can afford that pace? With the downturn, restaurants will have to sell off their cellars a glass at a time.

But the bubble has been popped. Like the housing industry and investment stocks, the recent arrivals from overseas wine cellars are over priced. Even if the price is lowered, who is going to buy?

Everyone has their own likes and dislikes, in other words, their own taste. Trust your taste. Know it.

Friends in France tell me that demand has dropped off because of the glut of great $10 (retail) wines. Look for sales of you favorite wine. As summer approaches, jump over to rosé, which compliments lighter foods. Heavy wines with heavy foods; light wines with lighter foods.

If you are a white zinfandel aficionado, you are all set. The French Rhone Valley and the Loire Valley are great renowned for their rosé's. Spain has top rosé's made from grenacha varietals

Wine Quotation
'Gentlemen, in the little moment that remains to us between the crisis and the catastrophe, we may as well drink a glass of Champagne.' –- Paul Claudel, 1931.

Santé a tout. 'Jamais en vain, toujours en vin.' -- Burgundy Society.

(Don Merlot is the pen name of Ron Alonzo, a writer based in Florida. He is Junto's senior wine and food contributor).