When I smell wine, I hear Latin. I do not, however, make grass angels.

March 15, 2009

Maybe it was because the package of paper umbrellas was gathering dust in the pantry. Or because the bottle of pineapple juice in the fridge was within mere months of its best-by date. Or perhaps the half-empty rum bottle really did need to be finished off so it could be recycled for the sake of our greenie souls.

Upon reflection, however, the most likely reason we found ourselves at Park Estate Winery for the second time this year was because Diane Park had informed us in January that when her current supply of coconut cream liqueur was sold and gone, it would not be replaced.

According to Viking Woman’s logic, that news somehow equated to pina coladas that would never be consumed. And, apparently, that would never do.

Returning to Park Estate Winery (2087 Pakowhai Road, Napier, New Zealand; park-estate.co.nz) also allowed us to show JB a bit more of the countryside. And by countryside, I mean the inside of the winery’s cellar door.

It also allowed Viking Woman to re-sample the 2008 Sauvignon Blanc. In January, she’d agreed with Diane’s assessment  that it needed to age a bit longer, if only to reduce the acidic finish. On this March weekend, Viking Woman was pleased to pronounce that the Sauv Blanc was coming along quite nicely, thank you very much.

Also tasted on this early fall afternoon, with Viking Woman’s comments:

2006 Riesling: “Very fruity.” “Very nice.”

2007 Gamay Noir: “Quite a spicy finish.”

2007 Chardonnay (25 percent oaked): “Very soft. Melon-y on the nose, with a vanilla finish.”

2006 Merlot Cabernet: “Very earthy, but soft.”

Boysenberry fruit wine: “It’s very nice. A very soft finish.”

As the lone non-drinker in the crowd, I could only nod and take notes and photos. I have no concept of taste when it comes to wine, but I do rather enjoy sticking my nose into a glass. I appear to have an astute sniffer, having already proved adept at telling the difference between Pepsi and Coke strictly by their aroma and, more impressively, doing the same with various Starbucks blends.

Smell-wise, I prefer reds. They conjure images of fruit drooping from trees in the hot, still summer air, backed by a hint of freshly-turned earth. Whites, on the other hand, all remind me of the sacramental wine I served up as a Catholic altar boy in the ’60s — sounding out the Latin mass phonetically and praying to Baby Jesus not to fall asleep in front of the entire congregation.

We thanked Diane Park for her insights and comments, purchased the coconut cream liqueur (only eight left now!) and drove home. Once there, I downloaded the images from my camera and pondered the alchemy involved in turning a simple grape into a liquid whose taste and smell can invoke so many different impressions.

And the ladies?

They mixed up pina coladas, drank themselves silly, and made grass angels on the back lawn.



One Response to “When I smell wine, I hear Latin. I do not, however, make grass angels.”

  1. Megan said

    there needs to be some fun in this crazy boring time.

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