I think there is a pretty good possibility you are familiar with the phrase friends don’t let friends drink white wine. Did you miss it? Emblazoned on wine glasses? Party favors? T-shirts and sweatshirts? Riffs I’ve heard include friends don’t let friends drink White Zinfandel and, oddly, friends don’t let friends drink Veuve Clicquot. Maybe you did miss it, like Robert:
Me: Did you read my draft blog post yet?
Robert: I did, but it doesn’t really make sense to me. You’re the only person who says friends don’t let friends drink white wine.
Me: No. Lots of people say that.
Me: Yes. What did you think the line “Emblazoned on wine glasses? Party favors? T-shirts and sweatshirts?” was referring to?
Robert: I assumed you were being facetious.
Google it. There is photographic evidence. I am not making this up.
I have to assume a competing champagne house is responsible for that last one about Veuve Clicquot. Whether or not it’s your #1 go-to champagne, it is a perfectly respectable choice. If anyone ever turned up their nose at a bottle of Veuve you brought to their house, that person is not very nice, and is not to be trusted. Words to live by, people. Are there perhaps better, less commercialized labels available? Sure. But should all gifts be received graciously, humbly, and sincerely? Yes – 100 percent of the time.
Side note: my Mom was really into Miss Manners® growing up and it forms the entire basis of my world view.
If you’ve been following us, you know that we are making a white wine for the first time this year. The experience is helping to shape my perspective on – and enjoyment of – a beverage that I was somewhat suspect of in the past. It also resulted in the following exchange, at the beginning of last week:
Longest and Dearest Friend: I saw you’re doing a blog. That’s really neat.
Longest and Dearest Friend: I’m especially excited because you’re doing a white.
Longest and Dearest Friend: You know, I really prefer white wine over red.
Me: <long and awkward pause> I honestly did not know that.
My friend likes red wine, too, but I don’t think that necessarily forgives the fact that I have brought a bottle of red to her house 5,872 times and I have never, ever brought her a bottle of white.
I will choose red wine over white wine 99% of the time. But, if my friend likes white wine, I’d better shut up and let her (or him) enjoy it. Experience tells me, in fact, that there is a fair to good possibility I will also enjoy it. A case in point (actual event at the home of a another, different friend):
Me: Oh God, not a rosé!
Me: <looks at bottle more closely> A rosé from Greece? What did I do to deserve this living hell?
Openly weeping, I take a sip with a pained expression.
Me: Wow! This is really delicious. Sorry about the crying.
Technically speaking, rosés are made from dark-skinned grapes, same as red wine, but you catch my drift. This wine was delicious. So delicious that I remember the brand, name, and vintage: 2010 Gaia Estate Agiorgitiko 14-18h.
When you start making your own wine, one of the first things you have to decide after you pick your varietal is what style you want to make. For our white, we’re using Vidal Blanc grapes. Vidal Blanc does well in Maryland because it can withstand cold climates. It ripens mid-season and can produce a good crop from secondary buds in the event of late spring frosts. Vidal Blanc’s high, natural acidity makes it suitable for a wide range of styles, including off-dry (Germanic), sparkling, and dry. Its fruitiness makes it particularly suited to sweeter, dessert wines, especially ice wine.
Why am I telling you all of this? Well, if it weren’t for my friends encouraging me (their term) and/or forcing me (my term) to drink something – anything – other than Cabernet Sauvignon, I would have a very limited range of knowledge to help inform the direction we take our Vidal Blanc. There are so many options. Classically off-dry and fruity like a Riesling? Light and crisp, with zippy acidity, like a good Pinot Grigio? Good thing my friends know what’s better for me than I do. There are several inspirational white wines we can take our cues from, and we’ll reveal our final decision in the coming weeks.
I have a new catch phrase: friends let friends drink whatever they damn well please. I’m looking forward to cracking open a bottle of our first white with the friends who inspired us to make it.
End-note/real-time update: I finished this post yesterday, but I had a surprise waiting for me when I got home from work! Speaking of inspirational white wines, this past
August, my husband Robert and I went to a wedding in upstate NY. We had the opportunity to spend a Sunday afternoon visiting wineries on the Finger Lakes, a fantastic and drastically
underestimated wine growing region of the United States (on a national level, anyway). We had several single-vineyard dry Rieslings that changed my life.
In particular, I recommend Lamoreaux Landing.
Just a few weeks after the wedding, we had dinner with a friend (incidentally, the one who served me the world’s most lovely rosé), her husband, and her parents, who are from that area. We brought a bottle from our trip to drink with dinner (Lucas Vineyards) and we all chatted about the hidden gem that is NY whites.
Our friend’s parents sent us a package containing not one, but two bottles of upstate’s finest, and a whole boatload of corks! What a treat!
Robert’s obsession with corks will be discussed in a future post. For the time-being, suffice to say, he wants all of you to please send your corks to us. He’ll pay for shipping. Corks are light!