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How To Be A Snob: Drinking Alcohol - The Watchtower of Destruction: The Ferrett's Journal
February 26th, 2008
09:49 am


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How To Be A Snob: Drinking Alcohol

(144 shouts of denial | Tell me I'm full of it)

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Date:February 26th, 2008 04:26 pm (UTC)
I have a friend (don't we all?) who is fairly heavily into blind tastings of wine. She is pretty good at this: she can identify grape variety, region, and year probably about 75% of the time.

Of course, the downside to that is that you end up spending all your time tasting wines that you don't actually like that much. Me, I'm the sort of snob who thinks in big pictures: we're having smoked haddock, perhaps, in a creamy sauce. That's a fairly rich dish, as fish goes, but you still want a white wine. Something fairly dry, so the acidity cuts through the cream and smoke, but with a fair depth of flavour. Probably best to go with a chalky soil sauvignon blanc: a Sancerre might be ideal.

The process is similar for whiskies. In this case, there's less need to match them to something else, and you can just go by mood. I prefer Ardbeg's Very Young, but unfortunately it was a limited release, and the remaining bottles are going for around £200 (that's $400-ish). No more for me. Stylewise: very smoky, very peaty. More like drinking a bonfire than a glass of smoke.
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Date:February 26th, 2008 04:46 pm (UTC)
Why would you want a white with smoked haddock!? I'd be thinking of something like a strong Tuscan red, something with some noticable tannin.

Or a dark beer. I bet a good porter might go with that.
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Date:February 26th, 2008 05:12 pm (UTC)
Again, it's different strokes here. The recipe I use most often is a fish pie, so you poach the fish first and then top it with mashed potatoes. The result is that the smoke is not overwhelming, and it's quite a subtle dish.

I agree that with a full-on smoked flavour (for example smoked mackerel, grilled or barbecued) you'd want something more forceful. With that, I'd want a good hoppy beer.

As for why I don't drink much Italian wine: there's a lot of nasty ones out there, in my experience, and I haven't invested enough time to know which ones I do like and what flavours they have.
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Date:February 26th, 2008 11:21 pm (UTC)
Italy is known for their table wines, not their fine wines, and there's absolutely no money to be made in importing table wines. If you go to Italy, every corner store will have table wines, which they get by the jugful, for 1 euro a glass, and they'll be really, really good. But there's no way that it's worth anyone's while to bottle and ship jug wines, even really tasty jug wines. (I mean, they pizza places have got, like, twenty-gallon wine jugs with a pump attached to them. They just get these huge jugs from local farmers.)

Tuscany, though, is beginning to be known for their red wines, called "super-Tuscans." They taste like the bad Italian wines you're used to, except good. That's the only way I can explain it.

They have LOTS of tannin, lots of body, huge amounts of flavor. And that's what the bad Italian red wines have, too, but the bad ones are nasty. I mean, they taste like you're sucking on an over-boiled tea bag.

You DO need to decant and aerate the super-Tuscans, to reduce some of that over-tannin-y stuff, but, once you do, you get something actually pretty good. It's not something you'd drink on its own, usually, but pair it with something like a finnan haddie, which is what I think of when you say "smoked haddock in a creamy sauce", and you've got something good.

I don't know if you've ever had a full-bore finnan haddie, but it's SO overpowering that I can usually only have a few bites. And super-Tuscans, on their own, are so overpowering that I can usually only have a few sips.

The weird thing is that they're overpowering in opposite directions, so, if you pair 'em, you can have both and enjoy both.
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