Eat and sip?
Today's topic may be one of the most unusual that we've ever taken on, even with this column's long history of addressing the wacky wine questions that most wine commentators consider too silly or irreverent to touch. Specifically: When you enjoy wine with a meal, do you enjoy wine and food in the same mouthful, or sequentially?
Johnson wrote, "A bite, a sip, the food and the wine together in my mouth; it blends their flavors almost as though the wine had gone into the pot."
This made sense to me ... but it puzzled reader Kevin Y. in Singapore, who wrote: "Johnson said he puts food and wine together in the mouth. Really? As a child I was taught not to drink and eat in the same mouthful for otherwise I'll choke. But do people really drink wine that way? Do you?"
Hmm. Good question. I know my mother taught me not to eat with my mouth open, which is good advice if only to keep the food from falling out. But eat and drink in the same mouthful? I wasn't sure.
The queries kept mounting. My British buddy Peter May, the Pinotage guru and Unusual Wine Labels collector, posted a similar query on our wine forum: "I never do this. I sip - or gulp - my wine between food. I clear my mouth of food before I take wine and vice versa" Later on, he added, "I have never done it, and find the thought off putting."
Fair enough. I took up for Johnson, of course, suggesting that Hugh is a man of excellent manners and surely does the right thing. Perhaps he really meant that he takes turns - a taste of food, swallow, a sip of wine, sit back and enjoy the symphony of flavors bursting on his palate.
The whole thing made me curious, though, so I thought it would be fun to poll the wine-loving world. Using the simple poll system featured on our WineLovers Community rather than our usual WineLovers Voting Booth, you're invited to cast your vote under "Today's Poll: Eat and Sip," selecting one from the five simple choices "Simultaneously," "Alternately," "Sequentially," "Don't drink wine with food" or "Other (discuss)."
Please take a moment to check in ... the voting procedure is quick and simple, and the more votes we can round up, the more interesting - if not exactly scientifically valid ... the results will be.
If "Today's Poll: Eat and Sip" doesn't appear as a hotlink in your E-mail, you can find the poll toward the lower-right corner of the WineLovers Community front page,
If you prefer to comment privately, feel free to send me E-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. I'll respond personally to the extent that time and volume permit.
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Wednesday, March 8, 2006