I wouldn’t characterize my friend Amy Pennington as having wine anxiety. First of all, I’m no doctor/sommelier; it’s probably illegal for me to make such a diagnosis. But she certainly is able to articulate questions and concerns that enthusiastic, regular wine drinkers have when they are confronted with miles of shelves crammed with wine. Which is why I asked her to pilot the ship for an episode of my Wine Without Worry podcast, and grill me about wine.
First, a bit about Amy. She’s an author, cook, and urban farmer who has written two books (Urban Pantry and Apartment Gardening) that all city-dwelling folks should own. Maximize the potential of your cramped dwelling and start eating better on a regular basis! Amy has even been rolling out a new ebook a month (!), and will continue to do so for the rest of 2013, in a series called Fresh Pantry. Each ebook has a laser- like focus on one ingredient, like carrots, rhubarb, or berries. Go forth and buy everything!
Amy’s a good friend and one of my favorite people in the whole world. And as we were chatting over the course of the podcast, I was able to glean some valuable advice if you are going to dinner at her place:
- DO: Bring a Pinot Noir, come prepared to make wine spritzers, or tote a yeasty Champagne.
- DON’T: Bring “berrylicious, juicy shit”, insipid Prosecco, or Trader Joe’s plonk. (Ed note: Amy is really not this difficult. And here’s a non-plonky TJ’s wine.)
Amy also coaxes out from me some candid thoughts about wine labels, vintages, and food and wine pairing. I’ll give you a sneak preview of my thoughts on one of these issues: vintages. I don’t want to add to people’s worry by having them memorize vintage charts for numerous wine regions in multiple countries. For wine geeks and collectors discussing the merits of the fanciest wines from the most specific of sites, sure, vintage is important. And cataclysmic events (heat waves, hail storms, torrential rains, locusts, etc.) can have a noticeable impact. But for daily drinkers, science and technology have come so far in regard to what happens in the vineyard and the winery that there is typically not wild variation from year-to-year. Focus on enjoyment first.
And, as a bonus, I spend five minutes with Henri Schock, National Account Executive for True Fabrications, a company specializing in wine accessories. You’ll find me confessing to corkscrew anxiety as well as explaining when and why I like my red wines chilled.
Big & Juicy photo courtesy Sam Howzit.