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It’s Your Choice

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The best wine in the world is the wine you like best. By reading the last statement you have just been liberated from any of the antiquated ideas about wine that you may have had. We are in the 21st century and if you have not noticed, it is a brand new world. The rules, regulations, habits, and snobbish traditions about wine and food pairing of the past are hereby declared null and void.

Let’s start by knocking out that “written in stone” commandment that red wine must be served at room temperature. The rooms in question were in Europe and centuries old. Think about it, no central heating, no artificial lighting, and no air conditioning, nothing but four walls, a fireplace, a couple of windows. and a door. Today, our homes have lots of light and a broad range of temperatures; so what the heck do they mean by room temperature? Have I made my point? Now that you have been liberated from the constrictions of the past, where do we go from here? Wine was developed as a safe beverage to accompany food in ancient times. In the past, water was a dangerous beverage to drink because of the diseases it often harbored, so it was wine or beer that became the mealtime beverages of preference.

The last statement certainly makes the legal requirement of the warning label on the back of a bottle of wine concerning the effects of wine on pregnant women seem a bit foolish. Wine was imbibed by one and all in past centuries, even pregnant women and children; there are not too many malformed individuals whose problem was caused by drinking wine in Europe today. In the immortal words of W.C. Fields, a film actor of the early days of movies noted for consuming copious amounts of alcohol, “I don’t drink water … fish urinate in it.” Now we come to what wine goes with what food. It is not an edict that came down from Mount Sinai with the Ten Commandments, “thou shall serve red wines with red meat, white wine with everything else.” I do not believe that sushi, sashimi, Cashew Chicken,

Big Mac’s and their ilk were very well known in the Europe of old, so there are no fixed rules about what to serve with them. The next time you go out to a better restaurant and the server asks you if you would want wine with your dinner, answer with “Moscato” or “blush Zinfandel” and watch his/her face distort. But, if that is your choice, who has any right to tell you that it is or is not the “proper” wine to go with the fare you have ordered. Look at it this way: who is going to drink the wine, you or them, and who is paying for it? Also, look at your plate … a meat, a vegetable, and a starch. By my count, there are two non-meat products to the one piece of meat.

Doing the math, that means that white wine wins two to one. Next time you order a steak, it’s OK to order a Chardonnay, Viognier, or Pinot Grigio, if that is what you like; it’s your choice. We are living in what will probably be among the greatest centuries of all time. We have cell phones, computers, and soon, maybe vacation trips to the Moon or Mars, so there is no reason to be living in the past, and there is also no wine police to punish you for your choice of a wine. We got where we are today by building on the past and not following it and by investigation, experimentation, and innovation. If you do not believe that, rent any one of the movies of the ’40s or ’50s and you will see how far we have come in our daily lives. We end this with the statement we began with … The best wine in the world is the wine you like best.

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