When simple pleasures are good enough

The place for all things wine, focused on serious wine discussions.

Moderators: Jenise, David M. Bueker, Robin Garr

When simple pleasures are good enough

Postby Hoke » Tue Apr 18, 2006 3:05 pm

A friend who is French in origin invited us over for Easter. She had been yearning to have an old-fashioned family-style French dinner like ones she had enjoyed in her youth.

So with a Roasted Leg of Lamb, Steamed Carrots and Leeks, Sauteed Sliced Potatoes with Onions, and a thick brown gravy of mushrooms and herbs and tasty bits from the roasting pan, we served a humble, simple, yet robust 2001 Cotes du Rhone Villages from the Cave du Rasteau. The Grenache was zesty, the Syrah was dark and plummy, and (if memory serves) the Mourvedre was brooding and funky. And they all worked together well with the sweet roasted lamb.

I know wine geeks are supposed to be engaged in the endless pursuit of the elusive single vineyard domaine producers, but sometimes...sometimes, a simple, straightforward, honest gutsy red wine serves the meal quite nicely. The Cave du Rasteau is a co-op--usually a despised word in wine circles, but not deserved here, for the Cave produces serviceable wines at good prices. And when our friend found the wine in the local discount aisle, she was happy to discover the smells and flavors of her past.

It's not ephemeral, this Cotes du Rhone Villages red; it won't show up in the Wine Advocate, and probably won't fare well in the Spectator. Subsrciption newsletters touting the latest new thing won't be rushing to write this wine up. But it is nonetheless capable of reviving memories and moments. For our friend it was her cherished youth. For us it was the wonderful sunny day in Rasteau, watching people come in and fill up their huge plastic kegs with vin rouge ordinaire from what looked like a gasoline pump, and later having that same wine (perhaps pumped fresh that day by the proprietor) with a simply grilled steak rubbed with herbes de Provence while we sat at looked at the craggy teeth of the Dentelles de Montmirail.

And that's not too shabby for a wine that costs a few measly bucks a bottle.
User avatar
Hoke
Achieving Wine Immortality
 
Posts: 10378
Joined: Sat Apr 15, 2006 2:07 am
Location: Portland, OR

Re: When simple pleasures are good enough

Postby Howie Hart » Tue Apr 18, 2006 3:35 pm

Similar, but only in the context of "discover the smells and flavors of her past" is when I share some home made labrusca with old timers, and they talk about the wines their parents made. It brings back pleasant memories.
User avatar
Howie Hart
The Hart of Buffalo
 
Posts: 5919
Joined: Thu Mar 23, 2006 5:13 pm
Location: Niagara Falls, NY

Re: When simple pleasures are good enough

Postby Florida Jim » Tue Apr 18, 2006 5:48 pm

Hoke wrote:I know wine geeks are supposed to be engaged in the endless pursuit of the elusive single vineyard domaine producers, but sometimes...


I can say, with absolute confidence, that this is not what I am in pursuit of - and I'm about as geeky as they come. 8)
Best, Jim
Jim Cowan
Cowan Cellars
User avatar
Florida Jim
Wine guru
 
Posts: 1427
Joined: Wed Mar 22, 2006 2:27 pm
Location: St. Pete., FL & Sonoma, CA

Re: When simple pleasures are good enough

Postby Paul Winalski » Tue Apr 18, 2006 5:51 pm

And simple Cotes du Rhone Villages of this sort is excellent when served chilled, on a hot summer day.

-Paul W.
User avatar
Paul Winalski
Wok Wielder
 
Posts: 4086
Joined: Wed Mar 22, 2006 10:16 pm
Location: Merrimack, New Hampshire

Re: When simple pleasures are good enough

Postby Paul B. » Tue Apr 18, 2006 6:01 pm

Howie Hart wrote:Similar, but only in the context of "discover the smells and flavors of her past" is when I share some home made labrusca with old timers, and they talk about the wines their parents made. It brings back pleasant memories.

Howie, I can sure relate to that. And I'll just add briefly that for me, simple pleasures often take the form of well made, properly dry Ontario Baco or Foch table wines, e.g. Colio's bottlings, which are always inexpensive and reliable.
Hybrid Wines Online:
http://hybridwines.blogspot.ca
User avatar
Paul B.
Hybrid Guru
 
Posts: 2024
Joined: Thu Mar 23, 2006 12:38 am
Location: Ontario, Canada

Re: When simple pleasures are good enough

Postby Bob Ross » Tue Apr 18, 2006 9:18 pm

"It's not ephemeral, this Cotes du Rhone Villages red; it won't show up in the Wine Advocate, and probably won't fare well in the Spectator. Subsrciption newsletters touting the latest new thing won't be rushing to write this wine up. But it is nonetheless capable of reviving memories and moments. For our friend it was her cherished youth. For us it was the wonderful sunny day in Rasteau, watching people come in and fill up their huge plastic kegs with vin rouge ordinaire from what looked like a gasoline pump, and later having that same wine (perhaps pumped fresh that day by the proprietor) with a simply grilled steak rubbed with herbes de Provence while we sat at looked at the craggy teeth of the Dentelles de Montmirail."

Hoke, that is beautiful. You brought back a meal that Janet and I shared with a similar view and experiences, only in Gigondas. Thank you very much.

Regards, Bob
User avatar
Bob Ross
Wine guru
 
Posts: 5862
Joined: Sun Mar 26, 2006 11:39 pm
Location: Franklin Lakes, NJ

Re: When simple pleasures are good enough

Postby Thomas » Tue Apr 18, 2006 11:58 pm

Hoke wrote: I know wine geeks are supposed to be engaged in the endless pursuit of the elusive single vineyard domaine...


The reason I never refer to myself as a wine geek.

Your post about this wine, however, illustrates why I am passionate about wine. Nice post.
Thomas
Senior Flamethrower
 
Posts: 3574
Joined: Wed Mar 22, 2006 5:23 pm

Re: When simple pleasures are good enough

Postby Robin Garr » Wed Apr 19, 2006 8:49 am

Thomas wrote:
Hoke wrote: I know wine geeks are supposed to be engaged in the endless pursuit of the elusive single vineyard domaine...


The reason I never refer to myself as a wine geek.


But ... but ... [ splutter ] ... that's not an accurate description of a wine geek at all! That's a ... points-sheep! Wine geeks ARE passionate about wine. Their geekery stems from their deep and intelligent personal absorption in the topic, not a shallow, slavish imitation of a wine guru. Harrumph!
User avatar
Robin Garr
Forum Janitor
 
Posts: 17032
Joined: Fri Feb 17, 2006 2:44 pm
Location: Louisville, KY

Re: When simple pleasures are good enough

Postby Hoke » Wed Apr 19, 2006 3:03 pm

Well, there are different tribal groupings in the winegeek jungle.

I have seen the Pointillists on occasion, lugging their leather bound books of every copy of their Chief Priest and Voice of God, with their eerie rhythmic bleats, walking in lockstep through the aisles of wine.

I have seen the Bargain Bin Divers tribe (Californiatia filigensis) lurking around the close out baskets and dashing in and out of the Canned Foods Outlets.

I have seen the Chortling Chucks, loading the pallets of TBC in their Mercedes and BMW stationwagons in the Trader Joe's parking lots.

I have seen the Wine Metrosexuals (Winus spectatoriensis), fashionably attired in their Rolex watches and their Hermes scarves, fashionably touring the right restaurants and the right boutique wineries, fashionably drinking in the right wines, and fashionably travelling to the right regions.

I have seen the the gnomish tribe of tiny, hunched little people, waiting breathlessly by their mailboxes for the preferred sacrificial offerings of Holy Collectibles, people who apparently do not drink but only acquire, apparently for the sake of acquisition. They are a pale and emaciated breed, and do not come out in public very often, I understand, and thus are rarely glimpsed.

I have seen the Cultists, who only wish to drink and talk about (mostly talk about) what they have had in their tiny enclaves, primarily based on what other people can't have, for as soon as othe people have it, it ceases being interesting.

And that's only a few of the tribes....
User avatar
Hoke
Achieving Wine Immortality
 
Posts: 10378
Joined: Sat Apr 15, 2006 2:07 am
Location: Portland, OR

Re: When simple pleasures are good enough

Postby Dale Williams » Wed Apr 19, 2006 3:47 pm

I have seen the Pointillists on occasion, lugging their leather bound books of every copy of their Chief Priest and Voice of God, with their eerie rhythmic bleats, walking in lockstep through the aisles of wine.

Oh sure, these guys with their latest copies of Florida Jim Jottings looking for This Weeks Dandies are a bit scary at first, but really they're harmless. And Jim does have good taste.

I have seen the Wine Metrosexuals

I believe I remember hearing about this, Kane is a leader?

I have seen the the gnomish tribe of tiny, hunched little people, waiting breathlessly by their mailboxes for the preferred sacrificial offerings of Holy Collectibles, people who apparently do not drink but only acquire, apparently for the sake of acquisition.

Yes, many more bottles of CRB Cot are bought than are seemingly consumed, sad.

I have seen the Cultists, who only wish to drink and talk about (mostly talk about) what they have had in their tiny enclaves, primarily based on what other people can't have, for as soon as othe people have it, it ceases being interesting.

Are you referring to the cult of CRB Gamay, ESJ single vineyard Syrah, or Brun blanc?

You left out the Wine Evangelists, struggling to show the world how RRV PN can really be Burgundian (not that it would try to be!!!), that Riesling is more noble than Chardonnay, that real Bordeaux is Bordeaux Superieur not anything Rolland touches, that it's Mouvedre not Brett, that Norton is (North) America's Grape™ , that Sauvignon Blanc sucks, etc. etc. etc.

And you left out my tribe, the Wine Searchers. Lonely Ethan Edwards types constantly on the lookout - but instead of nieces we're looking for the next great deal - whether it's a Bueker-recommended QbA, a Jay Miller endorsed Chambolle, or an Alan U. Chablis. Not really so different from the pointillists, but we like to pretend we are.

In reality most geeks fit in a couple of different slots. And even those we might want to classify or dismiss often tend to be well-meaning, good-humored, generous, and open-minded when we meet in person. Not all, of course.

Good to see you back.
Dale
User avatar
Dale Williams
Compassionate Connoisseur
 
Posts: 7857
Joined: Tue Mar 21, 2006 5:32 pm
Location: Dobbs Ferry, NY (NYC metro)

Re: When simple pleasures are good enough

Postby Hoke » Wed Apr 19, 2006 4:25 pm

Dale, those are all recognized and recognizable tribes. Surely some people hanging out here can come up with even more tribes???? :)
User avatar
Hoke
Achieving Wine Immortality
 
Posts: 10378
Joined: Sat Apr 15, 2006 2:07 am
Location: Portland, OR

Re: When simple pleasures are good enough

Postby Howie Hart » Wed Apr 19, 2006 4:36 pm

Hoke wrote: Surely some people hanging out here can come up with even more tribes???? :)

Vinus domesticus - those of us who purchase store-bought wine only to see if its as good as their home made (or vice versa). I think there are a few more than just me.

BTW - its good to hear from you again Hoke!
User avatar
Howie Hart
The Hart of Buffalo
 
Posts: 5919
Joined: Thu Mar 23, 2006 5:13 pm
Location: Niagara Falls, NY

Re: When simple pleasures are good enough

Postby Hoke » Wed Apr 19, 2006 4:44 pm

Vinus domesticus is a valid tribe, Howie.

But we should also mention the tribe of vinus labruscas monomaniacalliensus. Not numerous, but it has a very loud and piercing call, and very distinct tribal scarifications. :D

And how about the Steroids, where no octane is too high, and no gob is left behind (sometimes known as the PinotSyrahs, also sometimes known as Turleyites or Loringians or Garrulous Garretsonians).
User avatar
Hoke
Achieving Wine Immortality
 
Posts: 10378
Joined: Sat Apr 15, 2006 2:07 am
Location: Portland, OR

Re: When simple pleasures are good enough

Postby Jenise » Wed Apr 19, 2006 4:46 pm

Great post. You make an excellent case for the notion (which I like) that every wine has it's place. You do not put on a tuxedo to go horseback riding, and it's not that the tuxedo is too good it's that it's in many ways not good enough at the job humbler attire can do better. And so it is with wines and, for that matter, food.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
Jenise
FLDG Dishwasher
 
Posts: 26198
Joined: Tue Mar 21, 2006 3:45 pm
Location: The Pacific Northest Westest

Re: When simple pleasures are good enough

Postby Hoke » Wed Apr 19, 2006 4:51 pm

Jenise wrote:Great post. You make an excellent case for the notion (which I like) that every wine has it's place. You do not put on a tuxedo to go horseback riding, and it's not that the tuxedo is too good it's that it's in many ways not good enough at the job humbler attire can do better. And so it is with wines and, for that matter, food.


As in, you shouldn't take Two Buck Chuck to the French Laundry, and shouldn't take Haut Brion 1990 to the beach party at Cabo?
User avatar
Hoke
Achieving Wine Immortality
 
Posts: 10378
Joined: Sat Apr 15, 2006 2:07 am
Location: Portland, OR

Re: When simple pleasures are good enough

Postby Paul B. » Wed Apr 19, 2006 4:54 pm

Jenise wrote:... it's in many ways not good enough at the job humbler attire can do better. And so it is with wines ...

Wonderfully said, Jenise. I also believe that it is so with grapes! People often try to plant the "noblest" of grapes in our continental climate here in Ontario, yet there are much humbler grape varieties for which our climate poses far fewer challenges. I've always been opposed to the monolithic belief that posits universality of a grape's nobility. Just taking Nebbiolo as an example: it really only makes that noble wine in Piemonte - everywhere else, it just doesn't want to do it.
Hybrid Wines Online:
http://hybridwines.blogspot.ca
User avatar
Paul B.
Hybrid Guru
 
Posts: 2024
Joined: Thu Mar 23, 2006 12:38 am
Location: Ontario, Canada

Re: When simple pleasures are good enough

Postby Jenise » Wed Apr 19, 2006 5:03 pm

Haut Brion to the beach party at Cabo


Most definitely, though I have a certified nutcase for a friend (I'm sure you know who I mean) who thinks so. She's another tribe that deserves being added to your list, and I'll do that if I can only think of how to condense it. :)
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
Jenise
FLDG Dishwasher
 
Posts: 26198
Joined: Tue Mar 21, 2006 3:45 pm
Location: The Pacific Northest Westest

Re: When simple pleasures are good enough

Postby Thomas » Wed Apr 19, 2006 6:55 pm

Robin Garr wrote:
Thomas wrote:
Hoke wrote: I know wine geeks are supposed to be engaged in the endless pursuit of the elusive single vineyard domaine...


The reason I never refer to myself as a wine geek.


But ... but ... [ splutter ] ... that's not an accurate description of a wine geek at all! That's a ... points-sheep! Wine geeks ARE passionate about wine. Their geekery stems from their deep and intelligent personal absorption in the topic, not a shallow, slavish imitation of a wine guru. Harrumph!


To me being a geek about anything means being obsessive.

I am passionate about wine the way I am passionate about cooking and eating good food, listening to the kind of music I love, reading great writing, and gardening.

In other words, wine is one of the pleasures in my daily life; not a hobby, not a quest for nirvana, and certainly not competition--just like Hoke's post pointed out about that wine he had.
Last edited by Thomas on Thu Apr 20, 2006 11:37 am, edited 1 time in total.
Thomas
Senior Flamethrower
 
Posts: 3574
Joined: Wed Mar 22, 2006 5:23 pm

Re: When simple pleasures are good enough

Postby Bob Ross » Wed Apr 19, 2006 7:12 pm

The Hedonist Tribe -- almost all wine lovers are part of this one, to differing degrees, perhaps.

Regards, Bob
User avatar
Bob Ross
Wine guru
 
Posts: 5862
Joined: Sun Mar 26, 2006 11:39 pm
Location: Franklin Lakes, NJ

Re: When simple pleasures are good enough

Postby Paulo in Philly » Thu Apr 20, 2006 2:09 pm

As always, your postings speak of truth, and for that I thank you.

My wine-geekdom has nothing to do with competition, status, or perfection, but is fueled by pleasure and the creation of harmony, which suspends a moment in my life when I realize that life is good, and as a result gives me more meaning and connection to what really matters. It makes me stop the rat race of "doing the right thing, making enough money, looking good, being the best, and simply be in the moment and embrace happiness. Truly this is what matters to me in life. In simplicity there is truth - a lot of it. When my time comes to leave this world I know it will be a little easier to let go because in that moment of reflection I will have had so many great memories of wines that in their simplicity took me to a much higher place. I happen to have had the wine you mentioned and loved it's direct earthiness, warmth, AND price!
User avatar
Paulo in Philly
Wine guru
 
Posts: 940
Joined: Tue Mar 21, 2006 6:26 pm
Location: Philadelphia, PA

Re: When simple pleasures are good enough

Postby Paul B. » Thu Apr 20, 2006 2:12 pm

Paulo Faustini wrote:It makes me stop the rat race of "doing the right thing, making enough money, looking good, being the best, and simply be in the moment and embrace happiness. Truly this is what matters to me in life. In simplicity there is truth - a lot of it.

Wonderfully said, Paulo. I completely agree with you.
Hybrid Wines Online:
http://hybridwines.blogspot.ca
User avatar
Paul B.
Hybrid Guru
 
Posts: 2024
Joined: Thu Mar 23, 2006 12:38 am
Location: Ontario, Canada

Re: When simple pleasures are good enough

Postby Hoke » Thu Apr 20, 2006 2:17 pm

Paulo Faustini wrote:As always, your postings speak of truth, and for that I thank you.

My wine-geekdom has nothing to do with competition, status, or perfection, but is fueled by pleasure and the creation of harmony, which suspends a moment in my life when I realize that life is good, and as a result gives me more meaning and connection to what really matters. It makes me stop the rat race of "doing the right thing, making enough money, looking good, being the best, and simply be in the moment and embrace happiness. Truly this is what matters to me in life. In simplicity there is truth - a lot of it. When my time comes to leave this world I know it will be a little easier to let go because in that moment of reflection I will have had so many great memories of wines that in their simplicity took me to a much higher place. I happen to have had the wine you mentioned and loved it's direct earthiness, warmth, AND price!


Paulo, can I join your tribe? :)
User avatar
Hoke
Achieving Wine Immortality
 
Posts: 10378
Joined: Sat Apr 15, 2006 2:07 am
Location: Portland, OR

Re: When simple pleasures are good enough

Postby Thomas » Thu Apr 20, 2006 2:25 pm

Yeah, Paulo said what I meant--and I'm supposed to be the writer ;)
Thomas
Senior Flamethrower
 
Posts: 3574
Joined: Wed Mar 22, 2006 5:23 pm

Next

Return to The Wine Forum

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Google Adsense [Bot], Majestic-12 [Bot], Patrick Martin, Robin Garr, Tim York and 14 guests