Saturday, May 21, 2011
'Wine That Gladdens the Heart'
Few things give us greater empirical evidence of God's love for us than the fruit of the vine, that is good wine 'that gladdens the heart', as the Psalmist describes it. For many millennia, wine has borne witness to God's blessing and abundant affection for His beloved creation. Indeed, part of being created imago Dei is the ability to delight 'in the resident goodness of creation', itself having been redeemed through our Lord's Incarnation. A bit more practical is Fr. Capon's quip:
The light aperitif 'en famille', and the half bottle or bottle split between husband and wife over cold meat loaf and brawling children are not solemn alcoholic dosages. They are cheerful minor lubrications of the frequently sandy gears of life.
And our Saviour obviously thought rather kindly of viticulture: His first miracle was the turning of simple, everyday water into the most luscious, grandiose wine ever to part the lips of mankind. The miracle itself is not only textually rich, but was also a foreshadowing of both the institution of the Eucharist on earth and the celestial banquet, where the wine of the heavenly super is nothing less than the glory and splendour of the Lamb Himself. Let us never forget: 'blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb'! (Rev. 19:9).
Therefore, I mustn't forget to share with you the world's shortest primer concerning how to buy wine, which, when put to use, is sure to bless your joie de vivre.
Write this down: when you choose a wine, you only need one thing. You only need your very own taste, your own opinion. That's right - you don't need a degree, a new vocabulary or even one of those fancy glasses, though all will help. Nope, you only need your own little opinion. God gave you a nose and a tongue of your own; use it.
The only way I would encourage you is simply to ask you to be open to trying new varietals. If you're keen on Bordeaux claret, try something similar from the New World. If California Chardonnay is your deal, do try a white Burgundy. If you think only white wine goes with fish and red with meat, thing again. If you're content to have only one glass of wine with your meal, you're clearly not trusting your own senses and you're certainly depriving yourself of the goodness that exists in God's creative touch.
I would, of course, be remiss not to quickly address the risks associated with drunkenness. Like most all of God's gifts, wine can be abused. From petty drunkenness, Good Lord deliver us! Fill us, then, only with good wine and the grace to know our fill!
Finally, I'd like to share with you a few wines we've been drinking of late. I hope you find them as lovely as we have.
Wines of the Moment
2005 Chateau L'Ecuyer, Bordeaux, Pomeral, France
(Ideal with meat dishes, especially those with sauces of any kind)
2005 Valley of the Moon, Cuveee de la Luna, Meritage, Sonoma, California
(Perfect with slow-cooked or simply grilled meats; veal begs for this wine)
2003 Chateau 2003 Château de Cruzeau, France, Bordeaux, Graves, Pessac-Léognan
(Calling all macho men: your steak is begging for this)
2009 Livio Felluga Collio Pinot Grigio, Italy, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Collio
(Ideal with salmon, halibut, and a host of fish)
2009 Selbach-Oster Riesling, Kabinett, Germany
(Because of the acidity, this is fine with anything - seriously, anything from caviar to hot dogs)
2008 Chateau Regoune, Sauvignon Blanc, Bordeaux, France
(This is perfect with shrimp, crab and a host of shellfish)