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Respecting red wine and giving it a second chance

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

For those that know me personally, I am a stickler when it comes to words and their true definitions (this means that what the word really means versus what people have assumed and improperly redefined the word to mean).  One of my favorite words is "respect," which is from the Latin, with the prefix 're,' meaning again, and 'spect,' which means look.  Quite simply it means to look again, or realistically, to properly analyze something, giving it a second look.  An example would be in not either underestimating, nor overestimating your opponent.

Over the past week, I have been sampling a number of wines from four brands that were delivered to me, and most of what came were red wines.  With the last wine sampled, a low-priced Cabernet Sauvignon from Chile, I almost made the mistake of judging the wine too soon… in essence, not giving it respect.  Wine production is a process, and even though not all producers put the same love in it that others do, it still is a process.

With red wine, you have to give it time to open up, which doesn't happen immediately after it comes out of a bottle just opened a few minutes ago.  It usually is great after ten or twenty minutes, and I have been known to enjoy a red that has had time to sit for a couple of days (strange, but true).

And it's a shame that many people immediately turn away from red wines in general, having experienced something that was either too dry, had too much tannins, wasn't properly decanted, or simply not their style of taste.  The reality is that there are a lot of red wines that have more 'sweetness' to them via being more full bodied, and some of those wines aren't even expensive.

Red wine, being one of the three major types of wine (rosé and white would be the other two; I am specifically leaving out fruit wines right now) is a wonderful thing.  And it can run the gamut from very dry to what seems to be very wet (again, technically in most cases red wines are dry, but the level of body in them can change things).  This time around, is was red wines under the Lucky 7 and Friday Monkey labels which surprised me.  I also have a Cabernet from someone else that is supposed to knock my socks off.  There is also a bottle of Zin, a 'Sweet' Shiraz, a Syrah (same thing as Shiraz) and four other reds to try from this delivery.

For those that haven't tried a great red that they love, this year I have had some interesting red wines from the country of Georgia made from the Saperavi grape, which actually are quite sweet.  I have also had some phenomenal Zinfandels that would satisfy anyone's sweet tooth.  There have been great wines, good wines, so-so wines, bad wines, and even sour wines (two Syrahs I've had were the worst).  However, on the whole experience, it was mostly rewarding.

Summarily, or as some people would say, in closing, red wine is not to be taken lightly, nor to be cast judgment on too quickly.  Served within the proper amount of time, it can be a wonderful libation.  Served too soon, it can be the winning lottery ticket that you threw away without double checking to see if you are a winner (I did that once, but found my winning ticket in the trashcan when I went to check another ticket from an entirely different day).  Give it some time to breathe, and you'd be amazed at what you might find.

Good drinking to you!

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Our Mission: The Black Winer strives to expose African Americans [and others] to wines, without the flair, stuffiness, and airs of elitism and snobbery that you get from sommeliers and high level wine enthusiasts. We believe in finding something that you like the taste of, outside of the basic brands that you have been force-fed over the years through a combination of ethnically targeted advertising, and what people in your family have historically been drinking.

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