By Murray Schulman
I feel honored and excited at this moment. I have been invited to contribute a new wine column to this publication. This will be in addition to “The Chef’s Perspective” that you seem to enjoy each month. I am titling this column “Here’s to Sharing Wine” because that’s exactly what we will be doing. My hope is to draw each of you into the world of wine the way that I experience the depth of immersion.
Wine makes me feel happy. I want to share that feeling with each of you. In this column, we will talk about the people who nurture the land, the vines and the grapes. We will visit exotic regions around the world and I will surprise you with locations right around the corner. I will share stories in which wine plays a major role. Yes, wine fills a role in everyday life. Any event, celebration, ceremony, social setting and even quiet relaxing moments can and often do involve wine.
At times we will discuss wine pairings. Other times we may delve into the handling of wines. Maybe I will share insider hints on wine events, new releases and special buys. I will talk about some of my personal favorite wines and wineries. I am always happy to offer my opinion of the vineyards and wineries that I visit on a regular basis. To be honest, I am not a wine scholar. But, I am a full-blown enthusiast with a passion and love for all things wine. My enthusiasm is contagious and I am planning to have you catch a good case of what I have.
There is nothing better than selecting the perfect wine for the moment. I gently pull the bottle from my racks and reverently peruse the labels. I take time to visualize the region of origin and think about the hands that created the wine. I feel the bottle to assure that the temperature is correct and I take a peek through the bottle just because I want that first glimpse before I set it free. Now the wine opener comes into play. I have several to suit my various moods. I cut the cork wrap and peel it back just so to reveal the cork. The cork is intact and with confidence and dexterity, I apply the screw tip to the cork and with smooth motion sink the screw to the stop. Then with firm yet gentle pressure, the cork is drawn from the bottle top. The wine is free. The nose wafts from the bottle top. The cork is tested, not for aroma (a cork smells like cork). I check for uniform moisture.
At this point there are several options, which we can explore at another time. I often use an aerator if I don’t want to wait to taste my wine. But now is the special part. The wine flows into my glass. Just looking at the beautiful color of the wine is thrilling. From brilliant whites to the deepest Burgundies, the natural colors of wine never fail to astound me. I sink my nose deeply into the glass and inhale the aromas emanating from the wine. Friends, I am blessed with a substantial nose and those aromas flow up and around in abundance. Already, the nuances of the wine are revealed to me. I take a healthy sip and allow the wine to flow over my palate reaching every flavor zone. Each wine has a unique complexity. Discovering each nuance is an act of pleasure in and of itself. As I allow the wine to slip down my throat, I relish the finish and reflect on how the wine makes me feel. Now I turn to my room full of family and friends or maybe to just my wife. I smile as I describe what they should anticipate from that wine.
Wow!!! That seems so involved and technical. But the reality is that this all happens rather quickly. In the final analysis, it is all about being together sharing great food and a delicious wine. As a final thought I can tell you as will so many experts in the field of serving wine: It is not always the price tag that makes the wine. It is that when you open and pour the wine, it is delicious and it makes you happy.
So, to you, my friends, I raise my glass and say, “Here’s to Sharing Wine.”