Are you enjoying our weekly wine down and chill columns? We understand that you’re busy; you want to learn about wine then get down to drinking it! Got it. Each week, we share music, wine, dinner and movie selections around a different wine down and chill theme. You can also follow me on Instagram for wine art and photography @WineDownAndChill. If you missed a wine down and chill article, fret not! You can find every article here.
Theme: Royally Rotten
For the past couple of weeks, I’ve been promising a “manly-man” column to make sure we were being inclusive of all our readers! Fair enough, steak was the featured dinner suggestion a few weeks ago but here we go.
Listen: Princely Tunes
I wasn’t surprised that my research revealed only a handful of songs with the word “noble” in the title. There are dozens more if you stretch the theme to include mention of royalty in the title or lyrics. Here’s a playlist to set the mood for our wine down and chill noble theme. The crowd favorite? Even manly-men dance and sing along to Dancing Queen, by ABBA!
Learn: Noble Rot
As it is with pretty much everything Française, affixing a French moniker to something makes it sound sophisticated. “Noble rot,” or “pourriture noble” as it’s called in France, is a desired – although tricky to manage – grape fungal infection caused by Botrytis cinerea. The fungus secretes enzymes which digest the grapes. If the conditions are overly moist, “grey rot” ensues and the crops are ruined. Here’s a wine down and chill fun fact: green (white wine) grapes infected with this fungus are so stressed out metabolically by the attack that they turn pinky-purple by activating a gene that’s normally deactivated in green grapes but always activated in red grapes.
However, if the conditions are slightly moist, the combination of the fungus and drier conditions transform the grapes which get harvested somewhere along the way just before they become raisins. Wines that are yielded from these grapes are especially fine (translation = expensive) with a concentrated sweetness. Sommeliers (another French term!) like the resulting flavors which are typically described as having “honey notes.” In keeping with our wine down and chill theme, Pinot Noir grapes are particularly susceptible to adverse effects from overly moist growing conditions, including fungal infection. Softer skins and tight clusters, which obstruct air flow, make them more vulnerable than other varietals.
Take note: fungus on grapes growing in an orchard is okay whereas fungus or mold of any sort on the cork of a bottled wine is never okay!
Wine: Noble Vines 667 Pinot Noir
Grown in Monterey, California, this wine is smooth with gentle tannins. Characteristic cherry, blackberry and a hint of floral notes and soft oak make it enjoyable to drink on its own or paired with even the stinkiest French cheese. Cold-soaking the grapes for a few days after they’ve been crushed aids extraction of the bitter tannins. Unlike most noble items, including wines, the Noble Vines 667 Pinot Noir is affordable for non-royals at only $13 per bottle. Wine Enthusiast scored earlier vintages (2014) 89 points.
Dine: Dinner Fit for a king
How’s this for a wine down and chill selection? Not one but 437 menu suggestions for “dinner fit for a king.” Bon appetit!
For those of you with boys in private school or those of you that graduated from a private school, you’ll appreciate today’s wine down and chill 2019 drama, Noblemen. The plot revolves around a 15-year old boy who is bullied at his private school which is in direct contrast to the behaviors “expected” of such students. Bad behaviors escalate until someone loses his life – and they all lose their innocence.
It’s the weekend. Time to wine down and chill. Cheers!
Lead image by Fritz_the_Cat from Pixabay