Monday, February 9, 2009
Ellsworth Maine's Wine Tasting Extravaganza
John Edwards Market in downtown Ellsworth holds a wine tasting the first Friday of every month during the winter, providing not only a delicious selection of wines to keep us warm but an impressive display of brie, shrimp, chicken satay, fried porcini wantons, and vegetarian sushi (this is only what I remember of the evening of course). The tasting is located beneath the store itself, in an expansive room filled with works by local artists. I arrived at five, making sure to beat the incredibly long lines, which did in fact wrap around the room at one point.
My first pour was a very nice 2007 Domaine St. Peyre Picoul de Pinet, poured by a very nice wine distributor named Jack (unfortunately I lost the last name, which really is a shame because he was really a great guy and when he heard about my Italian plans demanded my name and email so that he could get in touch with a winemaker or two who he knew in the Puglia region so that I might learn a thing or two from them while sweating away as a volunteer) who explained that the tasting was focuses around terroir. Terroir is a French concept without English translation, and it is what Karen MacNeil called connectedness: the ability of a wine to taste like the area in which it was grown. I asked Jack how one tasted terroir without knowing the unique components of the soils from the many winegrowing regions in the world. He gave a fair answer to a question that simply could have been answered: You need experience. He listed the various mineral qualities that wines can have, such as minerality, earthiness, and barnyardiness.
The night involved ten wines - four whites, five reds, and one cava - and I found my favorites were not necessarily the most expensive (always nice). The above mentioned Domaine St. Peyre was $10, a great southern Rhone 2005 Chateau de Calce Cotes du Roussillon was $11, a earthy Silcian 2007 Fondo Antico I Versi Rosso was $11, and an impressively old world 2005 Spann Vineyards Merlot that used grapes from Napa Vally and Sonoma Vally was on the high end side, $22, but had serious aging potential.
Well, thank you Mr. Edwards, you have made another chilly and dull Friday in Maine into anything but ordinary.
My flight boards in 20 minutes, and then I'm off to the Mexico's Puerto Escondido, known for its world-class surfing, and Oaxaca Cit...