September 21, 2006

 Navigation

   Home Page

 News & Features

   News

 Columns & Opinions

   Publisher's Note

   Boomers

   Pinings

   Longshots

   Techie

 Pop Culture

   Film

   TV

   Books
   Video Games
   CD Reviews

 Living

   Food

   Wine

   Beer
   Grazing Guide

 Music

   Articles

   Music Roundup

   Live Music/DJs

   MP3 & Podcasts

   Bandmates

 Arts

   Theater

   Art

 Find A Hippo

   Manchester

   Nashua

 Classifieds

   View Classified Ads

   Place a Classified Ad

 Advertising

   Advertising

   Rates

 Contact Us

   Hippo Staff

   How to Reach The Hippo

 Past Issues

   Browse by Cover


Got milk?

Toast to a turkey
On foliage, loss and a good bottle
By Tim Protzman tprotzman@sbcglobal.net

Living in the country has many advantages.

Turkey rush hour isn’t one of them.

Every day at about 8:20 a.m. while I’m heading toward work a flock of wild turkeys runs in front of my car. They trot across the road barely looking at the fast-moving cars, causing drivers to brake, stop and sometimes honk. It wouldn’t be so bad except that the same thing happens in reverse at quarter to 6 every evening. Where do these turkeys go? Do they have turkey jobs they’re commuting to? Or do they just go someplace during the day and come back at night?

At least they’re jet black and I can see them against the changing foliage. And how come I don’t see them in the winter?

Each evening as I brake for the birds I marvel at their form and beauty and, guiltily, I wonder at what they’d taste like if I accidentally ran over one. It’s almost happened once. A big tom just ran out and stood there. I stopped in time but in those slow motion moments before I came to a halt, I had one disjointed thought. Zinfandel. That’s what I’d serve for the memorial service if turkey and car did collide. It’s easy to drink, has a higher alcohol content suitable for mourning and would complement the gaminess of the wild fowl.

It’s a wine fan’s curse to constantly pair.

One of the more shameful thoughts I had about wine has to do with that darkest day, Sept. 11, 2001. I admit that amongst the horror and sadness, pain, loss, tragedy, heroism, fear, grief, healing and rebirth I thought about the wine at Windows on the World — the restaurant at the top of tower one of the World Trade Center. I know that wine and a lost wine cellar seems so trivial it borders on the obscene when compared to the human cost of the attack.

But, a good friend gave me another perspective. A few weeks after her mother died of cancer, she felt a profound sadness for her mother’s lost recipes. Recipes she’d never taste again. After that I felt less guilty about my thinking. It wasn’t irreverent; it was just a single thought, a tiny brush stroke on the colossal canvas that is 9/11. And with the passing of the 5th anniversary, I feel my mourning period coming to a close.

This time of year helps too. The beautiful foliage in its time of change paints my travels in vibrant colors. Every day there are new hues on the trees. I was doing a travel piece on prep schools when I came across one ancient New Hampshire school that holds a Foliage Day, every year. This is according to one of their alumni. On a sunny day, midweek or even a Friday, when the leaves are in full bloom, the administration proclaims Foliage Day; giving the students the day off with the express purpose of getting out and enjoying nature’s changing colors. Who says college prep schools are all about overachieving?

We tried two wines this week and supposedly they’re related. The first wine we sampled was the flagship of Italian pinot grigios, Santa Margherita. This wine seems to cost the same price everywhere and I think it’s due to its tremendous popularity. I haven’t found it for less than $21.99. Pinot grigio comes from the top of Italy’s boot, on the back side, above the heel, and just below the knee. It’s a little cooler there and the pinot grigio or pinot gris grape (they’re the same thing) grows well in a cooler climate. Experts think this pinot grigio is a mutant clone (sounds scary) of the regal pinot noir grape.

In fact, pinot grigio used to be darker, almost like rosé, until the people at Santa Margherita started to remove the darker skins right after the crush and that resulted in a light-bodied white wine. Most pinot grigios come from Veneto, Friuli Venezia Giulia and Trentino Alto Adige. The sub region where Santa Margherita is grown is called the Valdadige and it’s part of Trentino Alto Adige.

We liked the Santa Margherita because it displayed lemon notes and sunny flavors with a hint of peach and watercress. It wasn’t the best white wine we’ve tasted, but it was honest and authentic. It paired particularly well with gourmet hotdogs and homemade chili. Not every wine requires a seven-course meal with it. As an alternative to pinot grigio look for a pinot gris from Oregon’s Willamette Valley. They’re lush, rich and have a sweet tooth that the Italians don’t.

The second wine we tasted was a 2002 Mendelson Pinot Noir for $37.99. Tasting this wine was like finding out your ex-girlfriend left her job in the fashion industry to become an oil wildcatter. Flannel, work boots and all. The French have described Burgundies, which are often pinot noir’s highest form of expression, as a little on the feminine side, as opposed to the more masculine Bordeaux. The wine was big, fruity and loud. It had all the femininity of Ethel Merman in Annie Get Your Gun!

We didn’t hate it, we just thought it was cross-dressing as a zinfandel. The plum notes were interesting. There was cassis and gentle spices. We just thought it should have been more like a pinot noir. But that’s the interesting part about wine. You take these little round grapes and tweak them any way you want for some surprising results. Enjoyed it, but wouldn’t buy it again. I just think when you pay nearly $40 bucks for a bottle of pinot, it should resemble most of the other pinots on the shelf.

Tell Tim your wine stories. You can reach him at tprotzman@sbcglobal.net.


Comments? Thoughts? Discuss this article and more at hippoflea.com


09/07/2006 Wine for life
09/07/2006 What are Malpeques, Alex?
08/31/2006 Hanging out wines
08/24/2006 Falling into new wine season
08/17/2006 Where has that wine been?
08/10/2006 Bringing out the dead
08/03/2006 The birth of a wine fop
07/27/2006 Slow process of maturation
07/20/2006 The pain of adolescent wines
07/13/2006 Nice day for a white wedding
07/06/2006 Scoring goals with booze
06/29/2006 Beer, it's what's for dinner
06/22/2006 A drink fit for a czar
06/15/2006 A summer of beer and fried clams
06/08/2006 Keep your cool, fool
06/01/2006 The social lubricant
05/25/2006 Water, water everywhere
05/18/2006 Big fat greek wine tasting
05/11/2006 Drinking to the end
05/04/2006 Schooled in the art of wine
04/27/2006 Make a wish
04/20/2006 Immigrant wines
04/13/2006 A pain in the glass
04/06/2006 Got milk?
03/30/2006 Throw a dart and there's wine
03/23/2006 A life of good wine
03/16/2006 Honoring the dead soldiers
03/09/2006 What once was old i new again
03/02/2006 The taste of sibling rivalry
02/23/2006 Wine travels, doesn’t sing
From grape, to barrel to red-tape jungle

02/16/2006 Love and vine
02/09/2006 A dog-drink-dog world
02/02/2006 The winos' mecca
01/26/2006 Date-nite drinks
01/19/2006 Touring eastern wine country
01/12/2006 Wine, Cheese and Granny Smith
01/05/2006 Resolve to try new wines
10 Wines To Get Lucky With

Adventures in and past the Euro-Cave
A Do-It-Yourself Wine Tasting
A Red For Everything
A Red Wth Your Leftovers?
A Tasty Way To Put Wine To The Test
A Year Of Wine
An Around-The-World Holiday
A wine for every holiday

Basking In The Mondavi Light
Behind One Door Is Great Wine
Beware The Hot Bottle
Brandy and the nude beach
Champagne, The Other White Wine
Cheers And Whines Of The Vine
Days of wine and jelly beans
Deep in the heart of Texas
Drinking for your health
Drinking like a newspaperman

Drinking Whites After Labor Day
Finding A Great Medium-Weight Drink (I)
Finding A Great Medium Weight Drink (II)
Gifts for blood, love or money
Gin
Grill and sip, sip and sip. Finding the perfect wine for barbecue
Hey baby, stay cool
How The Corleones Saved Wine

In Praise Of An American Wine
In search of the girl next door
Keeping it in the family
Keeping up appearances
Looking back at the heyday of cheap wine
Mondovino
My Big Fat Greek Wine Tasting
The Best Drinks On A Budget
The Highly Drinkable (Mostly) Merlot
The Long, Strange Journey Of Wine
Old French grape in the New World
Olé! to a week in wine
Opening the Parker book

Our French friends — really
Our Northern Neighbor
Poker faces and wine

Presenting A New England Vodka
Presenting The Wines Of Spring
Rewarding Your Support Staff
Schooled In The Art Of Wine
Shopping for Wine Bargains

Sitting By The Fire And Dreaming Of Wine
Slipping A Little Sideways
Spending the holidays in NYC
Spirit World Tales
Springtime calls for wine and ice cream
Sudden ugly mood swings
The new face of fine wines
The wines of fall
Thinking ahead to the holidays
Time To Stay Frosty
Tipples for turkey day
TV worth drinking
What it means to miss N.O.
What To Drink When You Eat Wild
What's Your Wine Sign
White’s OK after Labor Day
Wine Between The Season
Wine for the NASCAR set
Wine is in at the Inn
Wine’ll make you crazy
Wine Works With Red Sauce

Just because it’s healthy doesn’t make it a bad mixer