At this moment, Gabriella and I are traveling in Oporto, Portugal. Some may be jealous, muttering under their breath that we have a “rough life”, as we bound from one location to the next; but truth be told, it’s harder work than you think. Just to give context, we just returned from seven days touring La Rioja last week, only to work through our three day break before we head out to Oporto tomorrow. We’ll be there for five days, arriving back this Sunday night before we get up bright and early Monday morning and head to Alimentaria (a food and wine fair) for another four days. So basically, we’re saying that we will have spent three straight weeks on our feet, tasting wine, analyzing wine and talking about wine. In truth, we love it, but in reality, relaxing with a bottle of wine can seem exhausting to us at times. So when Joel stated that the theme of WBW #43 would be Comfort Wines and to “choose a wine, any wine, that you love to unwind to and tell us about not only the wine but what makes the experience special and relaxing for you!”, it took me some time to think of what I wanted to write.
In the end, I decided not to pick a wine, or even two wines, but to suggest that the greatest comfort wines I hold dear to my heart are the ones that are simple, straightforward and don’t demand a lot of my palate or mind. I love wines that are just good. This may seem too obvious, but let me explain. I don’t know how many times I’ve tasted wines with a winemaker, or fellow geek, where the statement “this is a serious wine” came up. What this means is that the wine requires time to open, aging to mature or contains flavors so complex that you can end up at the bottom of the bottle still trying to figure out what it was you just consumed. Wines like this require thought, appreciation, dialog, debate and time. My comfort wine doesn’t.
My comfort wine is a bottle that I open five minutes before dinner, drink from any size/shape of glass and is consumed while curled up with Gabriella, while watching a movie, a sunset or a grill sizzle in front of us. My comfort wine is red, white, sparkles, is fortified, and sometimes, even sweet. My comfort wine usually costs under ten of whatever currency the country uses I am currently residing in: $10, 10euros, 10pounds…
Another unique aspect of my comfort wine is its ability to go with food. My comfort wine matches almost every dish its served with, and if it doesn’t, it still tastes good. Note too that even in poor matches it also does not ruin my appreciation of the food we’re consuming.
I keep my comfort wine(s) around in the case of a sudden need for comfort is needed. Sometimes a bottle sits in my fridge and sometimes just on the desk in front of me. Sometimes it’s half full, and sometimes it’s been open a wee bit too long. My comfort wine still tastes pretty good.
I guess what I really want to say is that wine is comfort for me. It has the power to calm a rough day, illicit fiery debate and spice up a simple dinner with my lovely wife. I love complex and “serious wines”, many of which are favorites and regular guests at our dinner table, but they are not my comfort wines. They are my dialog wines!
For me it’s all about the need not to think or analyze, unless I want to. My comfort wine is a state of mind.