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I read all these threads about these fabulous dinners people have at home, with photogenic, obviously labor-intensive food, and legendary bottles.   I can't speak for anybody else on this board, bu

If I'm not enjoying wine when I'm seventy, then my nieces and nephews are going to be stuck with a shitload of wine they won't know what to do with.   Or my next wife, who by then should be almost

Whaddya mean? That's more than half the meals I serve. Tossed with great care, I might add.

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Does anyone understand why I'm nervous about a long decant? I've seen old wines which were delicious curl up and die in the glass after half an hour's exposure. I don't want to hurry that process.

I mean its received wisdom that old nebbiolo benefits from a long decant. With the amount of over thinking that goes on on wine fora its remarkable the degree to which you don't see this particular piece of advice challenged.

 

Go ahead - try it. We're just telling you what the rules are. Fine to break them of course.

 

Its different grapes, different regimes, etc, etc, - lots of variables to consider.

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I can't see how grapes or anything else would affect off-gassing of volatiles at consistent pressure and temperature; obviously, the more potentially volatile components the wine has retained the less likely it would be to fade fast. Ah but, true, maybe that's where the grape comes in.

 

Anyway, I'll try a mix of the options and taste over a period, and report back. This may all be moot if it's just expensive vinegar.

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In order to start building my anticipation of an upcoming trip to Oaxaca to a fever pitch, I made a very modified/simplified version of mole negro with a duck leg, over some grits (subbing for tortillas), entirely non-Mexican Brussels sprouts on the side.

 

This provided the occasion for an experiment with the wine pairing. Normally I would abjure wine with something this spicy. Certainly I would not have a big alcoholic red. But I read something where the head of Rick Bayless's wine program said that she thought that big alcoholic reds pair well with spicy dishes. The big fruit stands up to the flavors, she said -- and alcohol, she claimed, acts as a solvent that counteracts capsium in your mouth.

 

She finished by saying that the strong flavors of spicy Mexican food tame overly big and oaky wines that she wouldn't otherwise like. This sounds perilously close to saying that the food makes you unable to taste how much you don't like the wine, but whatever.

 

Even though past experience -- including in Mexico -- contradicted this theory, I decided to give it a try. I certainly had a perfect wine for the attempt.

 

2004 Turley Rancho Escondido Zinfandel

 

Not only were the grapes used in this wine grown in Mexico, but Zinfandel is universally recognized as being an excellent pairing for chocolate. And Turley wines are the epitome of big and alcoholic.

 

It almost worked. The extremely strong flavors of the food made the wine seem more of a flavor accent than the huge mouthfilling behemoth it would usually be. As for the alcohol "dissolving" the capsium, I don't think so. But it wasn't horrible or unpleasant as a pairing. It just wasn't particularly good.

 

There, I did it so you don't have to.

 

And if you're ever eating in one of Rick Bayless's restaurants and they tell you to disregard conventional wisdom and try a big red, tell them to forget it.

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Normally I would abjure wine with something this spicy. Certainly I would not have a big alcoholic red. But I read something where the head of Rick Bayless's wine program said that she thought that big alcoholic reds pair well with spicy dishes. The big fruit stands up to the flavors, she said -- and alcohol, she claimed, acts as a solvent that counteracts capsium in your mouth.

 

She finished by saying that the strong flavors of spicy Mexican food tame overly big and oaky wines that she wouldn't otherwise like. This sounds perilously close to saying that the food makes you unable to taste how much you don't like the wine, but whatever.

 

 

 

As we say in Oaxaca, this is fucking idiotic.

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In order to start building my anticipation of an upcoming trip to Oaxaca...

I am very jealous.

 

Independently of you and your trips, I am making mole negro this week for a large fiesta, more or less along these lines.

 

Though I have the authentic chilhuacles negros and chilcostles, not your homogenized, bogus anchos and guajillos.

 

I will serve on grilled quail for the adoring multitudes. There will be a variety of wines, none with huge alcohol and wood.

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I can't see how grapes or anything else would affect off-gassing of volatiles at consistent pressure and temperature; obviously, the more potentially volatile components the wine has retained the less likely it would be to fade fast. Ah but, true, maybe that's where the grape comes in.

 

Anyway, I'll try a mix of the options and taste over a period, and report back. This may all be moot if it's just expensive vinegar.

I don't pretend to understand what goes on with old nebbiolo, but outgassing ain't it.

 

Mute, dead wines blossom after a few hours of air.

 

I am too chickenshit to go beyond 5 or 6 hours, but I have never had old Barolo die on me, and I have had many blossom.

 

I wish I had more theory to offer you, but all I have is brute empiricism.

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I can't see how grapes or anything else would affect off-gassing of volatiles at consistent pressure and temperature; obviously, the more potentially volatile components the wine has retained the less likely it would be to fade fast. Ah but, true, maybe that's where the grape comes in.

 

Anyway, I'll try a mix of the options and taste over a period, and report back. This may all be moot if it's just expensive vinegar.

I don't pretend to understand what goes on with old nebbiolo, but outgassing ain't it.

 

Mute, dead wines blossom after a few hours of air.

 

I am too chickenshit to go beyond 5 or 6 hours, but I have never had old Barolo die on me, and I have had many blossom.

 

I wish I had more theory to offer you, but all I have is brute empiricism.

 

 

I'm grateful for it, and I have no experience with Barolos this old. As I say, I am just going by old Riojas. But we'll find out with this bottle, as I said. I'll decant some and hold it back, and drink some up front just in case.

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In order to start building my anticipation of an upcoming trip to Oaxaca...

I am very jealous.

 

Independently of you and your trips, I am making mole negro this week for a large fiesta, more or less along these lines.

 

Though I have the authentic chilhuacles negros and chilcostles, not your homogenized, bogus anchos and guajillos.

 

I will serve on grilled quail for the adoring multitudes. There will be a variety of wines, none with huge alcohol and wood.

 

You wouldn't spit on the mainly La Boite spice mixes (with some powdered Oaxacan stuff sold at the local Greenmarket) that I used to flavor this.

 

But I have to say that, for food cooked in my kitchen, it was sensationally good. (Nothing compared to what I'll eat in Oaxaca, of course.)

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