Liberty, Equality, Fraternity, and Liquid Sunshine

Happy Bastille Day! A good day to drink good wine, eat good food, and celebrate freedom in all its forms. What is Bastille Day? It is a national holiday in France commemorating the storming of the prison known as the Bastille on July 14, 1789. The French citizens were fed up their government, their king, and their queen; Marie Antoinette had haughtily told her citizens who could not afford to buy flour for making bread to eat cake instead. Say Whaaat??!! Off with her head!!!!!! (Next time you make a cake, be thankful you have eggs–and flour. People died for those luxuries.)

The French citizens decided to take matters into their own hands, and quite literally, too. Women and men, about 1,000 strong, assaulted the Bastille. And so began the French Revolution. Vive la France!

I am not French, not even a little bit. C’est triste. But I am American, and the French did help us win the American Revolution (which, apart from the lavish lifestyle of King Louis XVI and Marie Antionette, was a reason why their finances were in such dire straits by 1789…je suis désolé). Remember Yorktown, VA. The French and the Americans are kindred spirits, as remembered by our Lady Liberty, who has stood in New York Harbor since 1886. I know my own ancestors peered at that statue as they disembarked on Ellis Island from Italy and Ireland, over a century ago. They hoped against hope that this country would be their salvation. I am a third generation citizen on my father’s mother’s side. I’d say they did pretty well for themselves.

The French and the Americans are kindred spirits, as remembered by our Lady Liberty, who has stood in New York Harbor since 1886, and was placed there by French sculptor Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi. I know that my own ancestors peered at that statue as they disembarked on Ellis Island from Italy and possibly Irelandé, over a century ago. They hoped against hope that this country would be their salvation. I am a third generation citizen on my father’s mother’s side. I’d say they did pretty well for themselves, all alternatives considered.

So raise a toast to our French compatriots! Santé! Merci un million!

So how do you toast the French? With wine of course! Wine is a generally accepted beverage in France, non? Wine is a tremendous gift to us from the crafters of vines and vintages. The ancient Italian stargazer, physicist, and astronomer, Galileo Galilei, once said, “Wine is sunlight held together by water”. Wow. How incredibly poetic. And so true.

Good wines are like good music. Good wine will make you go WOW! This is amazing! And What Victor Hugo once said about music can also be attributed to wine, “Music expresses that which cannot be said, and on which it is impossible to be silent”. In Latin, in vino veritas. Wine does not lie. It only speaks truth. And if you drink enough of it, you will speak truth, too!

I am going to say something risky, and take this with a grain of salt, because I am only just learning about tasting wines. Forget all those posh (British word) wine tasters who can smell bouquets of this and that, and floral notes and vanilla (oak is always a dead giveaway for me), and all the rest. Your sense of taste is mostly olfactory and memory–what something reminds you of when you smell it. If a wine’s flavor reminds you of a food you’ve eaten or a berry you’ve tasted, or the smell of rubber (strange, but some wines do smell like rubber, apparently), then that is your memory working to figure out what in your past to which you can relate this flavor.

So if a wine’s flavor reminds you of a certain memory or food flavor, don’t discount it because a sommelier says that flavor profile doesn’t exist. Your palate is your palate; your memories are your memories, and only your palate can taste and smell what you have experienced.

At present, I am drinking a Portuguese wine (pardonne-moi, mes amies), by Seaside Cellars.

20170714_184907

If you like white wines that are light and crispy (this means a higher acid content), this is an excellent wine for you.

This wine does remind me of being by the ocean, whether the label is playing subliminally to my subconscious or not. It reminds me of what you would picture as a tropical vacation–white sandy beaches, crystal blue Mediterranean or Caribbean waters, palm trees swaying to the playing of a xylophone and bongos. The wine has a lot of citrus flavor to it–I would say more lemon and lime flavors. It kind of makes me want to grab some salt, tequila, and limes. Margaritas, anyone?

As I said earlier, I am still learning how to taste wine like a pro. But, here is one tool that is helping me fulfill that dream: 20170714_222731

Laugh all you want, it actually helps. Also, going around sniffing items helps too. Here is one tip–albeit a weird one–that I got from watching the documentary Somm (https://www.amazon.com/Somm-Brian-McClintic/dp/B01M27DQH2/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1500086352&sr=8-1&keywords=somm): Go around smelling and tasting EVERYTHING! Even the weird things. If you want to know what a wet rock tastes like, embrace your inner three-year-old and lick a wet rock! Like I said, weird–but oddly helpful.

That is all I have for you today. I hope you are all enjoying your summer! A bientôt! Until next time!

 

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