An open invitation to fellow bloggers and readers to a virtual food and wine pairing & tasting on December 29th.

Posted on: December 16th, 2011by John 10 Comments

Last Thursday, I spent a delightful evening with Jo-Ann Ross talking about wine, creativity and design. To me, these three topics are intertwined on many levels and in ways that I can not clearly explain. You see, there are certain wines, and I can not predict when it will happen, where the smell and/or taste of the wine transport me someplace else. (See earlier post here.) It’s hard for me to put into words – those smells and tastes – but some times, emotional impressions and images flash across my mind. Or a thought/question is triggered that takes me someplace I otherwise never would have gone and I will end up sitting in front of my computer exploring the thought/question.

On an impulse, I suggested that we do something Sally and I did with a friend about this time last year – a progressive tasting to see how a wine changes as levels of complexity are added to the food we are pairing it with. I grabbed a bottle of Roederer Brut Premier champagne that was chilling in the fridge along with smoked salmon, capers, a sweet onion and a package of stone ground wheat thins.

 

What we did was progressively add ingredients to the crackers between sips of champagne. The sequence goes like this. Sip of champagne, cracker, sip of champagne, cracker and salmon, sip of champagne, cracker, salon and capers, sip of champagne and finally cracker, salmon, capers and sweet onion, sip of champagne. After each sip of champagne, I described my visual impressions. What was so amazing is how dramatically those impressions changed as we went through the progression.

Here’s a sampling of what I “tasted”… Remember, a picture is worth a thousand words…

Champagne: The wine was bright, fresh and slightly acidic. It made me want something slightly salty.  There was the smell of brioche on the nose. It felt like summer. A sunny bistro with cobblestone streets, a horse and buggy ride around Central Park and oysters on the half shell came to mind…

 

 

Image Source Unknown

 

Cracker and champagne: The earthier aspects of the wine came to the fore, soft and subtle.  I felt I was sitting at the edge of a of salt marsh in the early morning or in a light filled  Gustavian interior.

Image Source Unknown

 

Image from Classical Swedish Architecture and Interiors by Johan Cederlund

Image from Classical Swedish Architecture and Interiors by Johan Cederlund

 

Cracker, salmon and champagne: WOW!!! Suddenly I was sitting on a porch listening to Aaron Copeland’s Appalachian Spring – replete with sweeping vistas, the Great Plains and purple mountains majesty.

Creating a New Old House, by Russell Versaci

 

 Photo by Michael Forster, Her Majesty

 

Photo by Michael Forster, October in the Tall Grass

 

Image Source Unknown

 

Cracker, salmon, capers and champagne: With the additon of capers to the mix, I immediately thought of New York City – sleek, slick, a modern racy interior. But then again, maybe the sophistication of Soho loft?

 

Mindel & Associates, October 2010 AD

 

Mindel & Associates, October 2010 AD

 

Laura Zarubin – Designer,  Elle Decoration UK Edition, November 2009

 

Cracker, salmon, capers, onion and champagne: Who would have thought onion would be the binder that brought it all together! (Much like in design where a subtle tweek will snap a whole room into focus.) Suddenly it was as though a concerto was playing, with all sections in perfect balance, Fanny Mendolson perhaps? I was transported back to France - to a country villa, a Dutch master painting with oysters and lemons popped in to my head…

Town & Country, issue unknown

 

Town & Country, issue unknown

 

William Claesz Heda

 Such pleasure and wonderful conversation all from a few simple ingredients! Classic!

And now I have a proposition for all of you. I’d like to extend an open invitation to my fellow bloggers and readers to try this exercise and post your impressions on Thursday, December 29th. (Maybe do it with some of your Holiday guests.) It’s fun, festive and stretches your mind and senses. I’d love to see/hear what you tasted and “saw”.  Let your imagination run free! Sally and I will try something else and share our flights of fancy, too. I bet they will be totally different.

Merry, Merry!

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10 Responses

  1. John and Sally, I love to cook and wine just goes hand and hand with serving a good meal. Wine enhances the taste of the food. Last year a became allergic to wine. It keeps me up all night. I cant tell you how much I miss a glass of wine with a great tasting meal.

  2. John says:

    That is truly a bummer!!! Even the biodynamic wines, without sulfites??? I can’t drink coffee any more. So now I poke my nose over the pot of coffee Sally brews each morning and take a few deep sniffs…

    John

  3. sounds like a fun time and the tasting and sipping was enjoyed by all..
    best,
    maureen

    • John says:

      The tasting and sipping was definately enjoyed by all. Even more fun were the “visuals” that were the accompaniment. Hope you can join us on the 29th.

      Cheers,
      John

  4. designchic says:

    What a wonderful way to enjoy champagne and good friends…love all of your gorgeous visuals! So hope I can get it together enough to be a part of the soiree on the 29th – happy weekend!

    • John says:

      Sally and I hope you can make it, too. We tried a bottle made by a small producer the other night. Did the same routine. Completely different. I ended up sitting at the computer researching the court and wines of Louis XVI and Madame du Barry. Fascinating stuff!!! And incredible architecture!!!

      Cheers,
      John

  5. You have a very vivid imagination…seems to go only get better with a little sip of wine. What fun!

  6. Splendid idea! We’re in.

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