Wine and the open trail
A correspondent raised this question last week, asking for tips on taking along a suitable wine to enjoy with the cutthroat trout that he planned to catch on a fishing trip. I advised a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, and added:
Taking your wine in a backpack shouldn't be difficult. Get a clean plastic bottle of the type used for mineral water, choosing one that does not contain more than 750 ml, so the wine will fill it up without leaving an air pocket. Wash and dry it well, then carefully pour the wine from the glass bottle into the plastic bottle. Reclose it tightly with the original screw cap, and you're on your way.
Once you reach your campsite, if you're not packing ice, a cold stream should be plenty cool enough to bring your wine to a delightful serving temperature; you don't want to serve a good wine ice-cold anyway! It's wise to tie the bottle to a rock, stick or tree with a piece of twine, so you don't later notice it bobbing downstream.
I wouldn't risk a really expensive or delicate wine with this treatment, and I wouldn't recommend keeping the wine in a plastic bottle for more than a few days. But a young, modest wine should do nicely on a weekend trip.
Now, once you've reached your campsite, how can you serve the wine? It would be silly to take breakable glassware on a camping trip, but a tin cup is a poor way to show off good wine; and drinking directly out of the bottle would be ridiculous, as quality wine needs a bowl-shaped glass to show off its aroma.
Fortunately, a sturdy but surprisingly functional plastic wine glass is widely available, made of a sturdy, clear and relatively odor-free plastic called Lexan. This glass unscrews at the base, permitting the stem end to be popped into the bowl to make a small, easily packed unit no larger than a coffee cup. One source for this glass is Campmor, http://www.campmor.com, where a search for "wine glass" will bring up "Lexan Wine Glass, item number 73300, $4.99." (This is not an advertisement, but I report as a satisfied customer: My glass arrived in good condition only three days after I ordered it online.)
Finally, the following should go without saying: If you decide to enjoy wine while hiking or camping, be wise. Don't overindulge, and be particularly careful if you are planning challenging activity like mountain climbing or wilderness hiking. Remember also that high-altitude activities can exaggerate the impact of any alcoholic beverage. Finally, don't forget to pick up your litter. Dispose of your empties properly or bring them back home.
What's your experience with taking wine on the trail? If you have any suggestions or advice, send me a note by E-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. I regret that the growing circulation of the "Wine Advisor" makes it difficult for me to reply individually to every note, but I'll answer as many as I can; and please be assured that all your input helps me do a better job of writing about wine.
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A crisp and fruity Spanish treat
Clear straw color, with a crackling carbonation that froths up in the glass, then falls back to a quiet ring of foam around the edge. Fresh peach and almond aromas lead into a full, peachy flavor with a crisp citric snap and slight prickly sense of carbonation on the tongue. A truly refreshing white wine for a hot summer's day. U.S. importer: Cutting Edge Selections, Cincinnati. (June 25, 2000)
FOOD MATCH: Worked very well with grilled pork loin with a light bell-pepper and ancho sauce.
Favorite white wine for warm weather?
The Wine Doctor
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Vol. 2, No. 23, June 26, 2000