Chili & bubbly?

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salindgren
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2008/01/06 15:35:28 (permalink)

Chili & bubbly?

I don't like beer, and I sure don't like it in my chili. Someone was talking about "Merlot in Chili?", and that sounds bad, too. But, that got me thinking about champagne. Not IN the chili. Now, over and over you'll read people talking about how champagne goes with ANYTHING. Oh really? I'd like to see how it stands up to chili! Not a real delicate pale Blanc de Blanc type deal, but a nice sturdy Rose, right? Something that can fight back! I understand that the carbonation in beer helps clean the palate. But I hate beer. And love champagne. So this is an idea I wanna try out. I'll betcha this could be good, REAL good.
Please ya'll, be guinea pigs (and I do mean pigs) for me on this. Tell me which reasonably priced ROSE bubbly you like with your chili! Californian would be the most sensible choice I think. If you're eating alone, you can get 1/2 bottles.
Uh, outside of this query, and excluding beer, what do ya'll wash the chili down with? I lean toward my own iced tea. If I dump a lot of habaneros in there, I might need milk.
-Scott Lindgren scottlindgren@netzero.net
#1

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    Jimeats
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    RE: Chili & bubbly? 2008/01/07 08:48:41 (permalink)
    Should that be served in a stemed glass slightly chilled?
    It's been awhile folks, I knew someone would step up. Chow Jim
    #2
    fischgrape
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    RE: Chili & bubbly? 2008/01/07 10:28:27 (permalink)
    The beverage pairing with chili depends on the heat level. Having been wine director at the legendary, and now defunct Arizona 206 in NYC for a while, I learned a lot about matching beverages to capsicum-laden dishes. One thing to watch out for is high acidity in the wine, which can exacerbate the sensation of heat (as can tannin and alcohol). So, since Merlot is notoriously low in acid, that person might have been right. It also leaves out real Champagne, which has super-high acidity.

    California bubbly might be okay, since acidity will be a bit lower, with the fruit/sweetness higher. The glycerine feel of sugar also helps to put out the flames. As for the milk trick, I've been told by a chef with LOTS of chile pepper knowledge that milk has no special properties other than being cold and soothing. This is echoed by Harold McGee in 'On Food and Cooking.'

    Lastly, I'll be glad to give the pairing a shot during my usual Super Bowl Chili Bowl. In fact, I'll try to get a few of my friends to join in the taste test to see what works best.

    Oh, and for Jim, while a stemmed flute glass is preferred for sparkling wine (retains the bubbles and you don't warm the wine when you hold the stem), I'll drink from anything that holds liquid. Especially during the Super Bowl.

    john
    #3
    PapaJoe8
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    RE: Chili & bubbly? 2008/01/07 11:32:48 (permalink)
    Shanghai Jimmy thought lemonaide was the right drink for his Chili Rice. With a splash of Vodka I agree!
    Joe
    #4
    ann peeples
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    RE: Chili & bubbly? 2008/01/07 11:44:27 (permalink)
    It has been years since I drank champagne, but the pink variety was always my favorite!Try Martini and Rossi brand( you dont want to go too cheap..)
    #5
    MiamiDon
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    RE: Chili & bubbly? 2008/01/07 11:57:55 (permalink)
    Zinfandel, especially fruity and/or light-bodied, is best.

    After that, Beaujolais, Cotes du Rhone or Syrah/Shiraz.

    I prefer Beer.
    #6
    fischgrape
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    RE: Chili & bubbly? 2008/01/14 13:16:21 (permalink)
    Me too. Beer it is...and nothing too fancy either.
    #7
    TwoJays
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    RE: Chili & bubbly? 2008/01/14 22:41:14 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by fischgrape

    Me too. Beer it is...and nothing too fancy either.

    As long as you don't confuse "fancy" with "tasty".

    John
    (gimme an ice cold IPA w/ my chili any time)
    #8
    PapaJoe8
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    RE: Chili & bubbly? 2008/01/16 13:11:34 (permalink)
    Shiner Bock goes well w/ Texas Chili! It is also good poured in. And, for some great Nathan's skinless dogs, just boil em in tha Shiner Bock.
    Joe
    #9
    fischgrape
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    RE: Chili & bubbly? 2008/02/25 12:07:19 (permalink)
    My only problem with IPA and chili is that the extra bitterness in the beer can exascerbate the heat from the chilies. If it's a moderately heated chili, I'm all for the extra body and power of the IPA. However, if I'm going for an all-out, sweaty hot-sauce binge, my choice will probably be a Dos Equis Amber or maybe a Negra Modelo.

    john

    p.s. the beer I put IN the chili is almost always Yuengling Lager...always 1 1/2, or 2 1/2, or 3 1/2 beers...to leave some for the thirsty cook.
    #10
    mland520
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    RE: Chili & bubbly? 2008/02/25 12:18:05 (permalink)
    Real Champagne only comes from the Champagne Region of France- all others are just "sparkling wines", like Asti Spumontes and Sparkling Rose' etc.
    I like a really good Pinot Grigio with spicy foods, no bubbles but a really good balance that seems to match well with chili and Indian food and even some spicy Mexican foods!
    As for the "bubbly stuff" I prefer Italy's bubbly- Prosecco- nice, crisp and somewhat fruity- not as acidic as most true champagnes! I've served this to people who really don't like champagne and even they seem to prefer it.
    #11
    Rusty246
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    RE: Chili & bubbly? 2008/02/25 12:19:22 (permalink)
    I always drink ice cold milk with any tomato based food(hot or not), for some reason I just crave it and really it's the only time I drink milk. Before the meal, beer. After the milk, beer. Champagne only comes around on New Years.
    #12
    fischgrape
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    RE: Chili & bubbly? 2008/02/25 22:51:19 (permalink)
    mland520 is right about the provenance of Champagne vs. sparkling wines like Asti Spumante, which is a semi-sweet bubbly from Asti in the Italian region of Piemonte. That said, I'm surprised that Pinot Grigio works for mland with spicier foods, in that the high acidity can exascerbate the capsaicin heat even moreso than bitterness from hops in beer. Perhaps it's just the refreshing aspect of the relatively low alcohol P.G. The other substance in wine that can almost hurt when combined with chili peppers is tannin. So red wine is not great for chile, and high alcohol (the burn) high tannin reds are even worse. White wines can work if a bit lower in alcohol and acid--and especially if there's some residual sugar. However, there needs to be some fuller body, which is hard to achieve without higher alcohol. This is one of the few times that I actually recommend California Chardonnay with food. Big, oaky Cali chard with moderate alcohol (13-13.5%) will, technically, do the job.

    As for Rusty, milk can have a soothing effect on the palate because it is cold and relatively rich. There has been(at least according to Harold McGee) no proof to date of its ability to counteract the heat of chili peppers, but its coldness can lower the temperature of the heat receptors in the mouth to a comfortable level. But, the fat in the milk could be helping to balance the acidity of the tomatoes in whatever Rusty is eating.
    #13
    Scorereader
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    RE: Chili & bubbly? 2008/02/27 13:34:27 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by fischgrape

    That said, I'm surprised that Pinot Grigio works for mland with spicier foods, in that the high acidity can exascerbate the capsaicin heat even moreso than bitterness from hops in beer.


    wine stewards have been saying that for years. However, I highly disagree. Often, stewards offer up Gewurztraminer to pair with spicy dishes, since it's low in acidity. But, one is forgetting that the acidity of the wine is what gives wine its refreshing feel. To go with lower acidity works against that principle.

    I find, these fruity wines without acidity go limp after eating the spicy food. The spice, completely overwhelms the wine. The wine's balance gets lost. This I find especially true with spicy asian dishes.

    Yet, Pinot Griggio, which is higher in acidity, has enough acidity to cut through the spice and still be refreshing. The acidity actually helping to hold the wine together.

    IMO, when pairing wine with spicy food, the wine shouldn't be there merely to douse the heat, it should compliment the food not necessarily be the food's opposite. In which case, in the scenario where one is eating spicy food, the wine needs acidity to be refreshing and hold up to the food, thus being more complimentary than a wine that is drunk merely to counteract, or not agitate, the heat.

    There are many other publications that corraborate my thought that acidity is absolutely necessary with spicy food.

    The only problem I see with champagne and spicy food, isn't the acidity, but rather the bubbles themselves. Air tends to make matters worse when it comes to highly spicy food, like those with hot peppers or curry. So, a regular wine would seem to be a better choice.


    #14
    leethebard
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    RE: Chili & bubbly? 2008/02/27 14:00:01 (permalink)
    beer...or a good red wine...sometimes a good Sangria..even a nice homemade sangria in the summer months when fresh fruit is good...and cheap!
    #15
    fischgrape
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    RE: Chili & bubbly? 2008/02/28 22:21:44 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by Scorereader

    quote:
    Originally posted by fischgrape

    That said, I'm surprised that Pinot Grigio works for mland with spicier foods, in that the high acidity can exascerbate the capsaicin heat even moreso than bitterness from hops in beer.


    wine stewards have been saying that for years. However, I highly disagree. Often, stewards offer up Gewurztraminer to pair with spicy dishes, since it's low in acidity. But, one is forgetting that the acidity of the wine is what gives wine its refreshing feel. To go with lower acidity works against that principle.

    I find, these fruity wines without acidity go limp after eating the spicy food. The spice, completely overwhelms the wine. The wine's balance gets lost. This I find especially true with spicy asian dishes.

    Yet, Pinot Griggio, which is higher in acidity, has enough acidity to cut through the spice and still be refreshing. The acidity actually helping to hold the wine together.

    IMO, when pairing wine with spicy food, the wine shouldn't be there merely to douse the heat, it should compliment the food not necessarily be the food's opposite. In which case, in the scenario where one is eating spicy food, the wine needs acidity to be refreshing and hold up to the food, thus being more complimentary than a wine that is drunk merely to counteract, or not agitate, the heat.

    There are many other publications that corraborate my thought that acidity is absolutely necessary with spicy food.

    The only problem I see with champagne and spicy food, isn't the acidity, but rather the bubbles themselves. Air tends to make matters worse when it comes to highly spicy food, like those with hot peppers or curry. So, a regular wine would seem to be a better choice.





    First of all, I'm not a wine steward...I've been a wine director and sommelier in restaurants for more than twenty years. Also, I was the wine guy at Arizona 206 in New York, a well-regarded Southwestern restaurant with lots of chili peppers.

    I never said that acidity was not needed to help balance the flavors in food. In fact, I find that acidity is one of the most important elements in a wine to make it food-worthy. However, wines that don't have much more than acidity (like inexpensive Pinot Grigio) usually don't have the wherewithal to compliment spicy or rich foods. Notice, also, that I never said anything about wine having to be a contrast to food. At its best, wine will contrast and compliment food at the same time.

    Also, the statement that Gewurztraminer is a low acid wine is inherently wrong. Depending on where it's from, it can be quite high in acidity, although the spice, fruit and body of the wine can camouflage it. Speaking of which, acid doesn't cut through spiciness, it cuts through fat or richness. Spiciness and acidity are related because they are both physical sensations. Too much of one can be unpleasant. Combined, they can border on uncomfortable.

    Essentially, you need to define whether the food is light or rich before you determine the necessary body and acid levels that the accompanying wine should have. Ceviche with habaneros? Light, high acid wine. Lamb Vindaloo? Full-bodied, moderate acid, like an Australian Shiraz, but watch the alcohol level because alcohol can add to the burn.

    Acid and tannin both attack the palate physically. Acid turns protein into ceviche by denaturing it; tannin is called such because it tans (denatures) leather (protein). Capsaicin also attacks your palate, burning it. Beer douses heat. Milk douses heat. Lemonade and iced tea douse heat. Glycerine douses heat. Acid and tannin exacerbate heat--but it depends on how much heat there is.

    This long-winded diatribe comes down to one thing. Does it taste good? Does it taste good to you? If so, it's a good match. It's also ridiculous to say that are any rock-solid food and wine pairing rules. Taste is subjective, and the best we can do as professionals is to make some thoughtful suggestions--and then roll the dice.

    Respectfully,

    john
    #16
    Foodbme
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    RE: Chili & bubbly? 2008/02/28 23:46:19 (permalink)
    Somehow . it's UNAMERICAN, downright distasteful, unpatrotic and did I mention UNAMERICAN to drink ANY kind of wine, (Rhymes with Swine) with Chili. Our forefathers, especially in TX, NM, AZ would roll over in their graves if they even had an inkling that some Yuppie offspring would consider drinking vineyard products with Chili. If anything, they would suggest some rotgut whiskey that they drank out on the trail to soothe the soul and keep them from remembering that there were no women between Abiline and Ft. Worth.
    #17
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    RE: Chili & bubbly? 2008/02/28 23:51:13 (permalink)
    1st - I never said you were a wine steward. I said I've heard wine stewards say the same thing for years. To add to that, including restaurant sommeliers (not even referring to you).

    2nd - You said that acidity aggitates the spiciness. I completely disagree, as does many other publications. Acidity provides crisp refreshness. (.72-.75) See 4.

    3rd - I was speaking of Alsace Gewurztraminers, of which many are lower in acidity. In any event, almost all of the best complimentary wines to spicy food I've found is white wines with good acidity. I was led in this direction from some local wine experts. I didn't come up with this on my own.

    4th - Acidity creates a refreshing feeling in the mouth, acidity being essential for a wine to be refreshing. In that way, it cuts through the spiciness.

    5- beer does not douse heat. Eat a hot pepper and try to squelch the heat from a beer. Won't work. To much air in the bubbles. Water doesn't work for that matter. Of course, if it's hot enough, wine won't work either. Alcohol can aggrivate heat too. Any chili pepper expert can tell you that.

    6- I completely agree with your last paragraph.

    7- in my opinion, the Merlot (as discussed at the top of the thread) my have just as gone well with the chili because of the meat and tomato sauce. I have yet to pair Merlot with chili myself, however, yet I don't think it would be refreshing feel while eating a spicy chili.

    Look, you have your angle, which comes from your years of experience. I have my angle, which comes from my experience (which pales in comparison) and the advice of a few respected wine experts and some recent publications. It has worked for me, particularly with spicy asian cuisine, so I'll stick by it for now. In any event, I'm sorry if you thought I was being catty, I wasn't. I, too, was making some thought provoking suggestions, though they differed from yours. I wasn't suggesting a Pinot Griggio either. I don't drink the stuff. I found, with my own cooking, that Dr. Frank's Dry and Semi-Dry Reisling (NY) worked - although, the Semi-Dry is slightly higher in acidty it is also higer in sugar. I'm not too into "sweet," so, I think I preferred the Dry Reisling...but that's nothing odd, I like the Dry Reisling better without food - so, I have a little bit of a built in biased. In any event, the crisp acidity was great for spicy food.


    oh, PS - off subject, I'm off to drink a White Syrah from California. I've never has a white syrah before. For some reason or another, I've steered away from this, but, it was a Christmas gift, and after all this wine talk, well, it's going to get uncorked. Maybe I'll start a new thread if it's any good.

    Oh, no...sorry, It's not from california. My Sister in Law gave this to me. I like buying wines from whereever I am. Ya know, taste the local product. She lives in Lockport, NY - which is Western, NY which is most well-known for all the concord and niagra grapes that are grown in that region for Welch's grape juice.

    Anyway, this vineyard is called Spring Lake Winery www.springlakewinery.com). They describe the wine as a Rosé. Paired best with cold hors d'oeuvres or fruit. I suspect, this might be too sweet for my liking. But - pop! It's going to get tasted.

    The winery is so young, I think they've bought grapes from california to get them going and selling wine (I guess they need to pay for the new vineyard - which explains my confusion as to where this wine came from). They plan to make Reisling and Pinot Noir their main vision.
    #18
    Scorereader
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    RE: Chili & bubbly? 2008/02/28 23:53:44 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by Foodbme

    Somehow . it's UNAMERICAN, downright distasteful, unpatrotic and did I mention UNAMERICAN to drink ANY kind of wine, (Rhymes with Swine) with Chili. Our forefathers, especially in TX, NM, AZ would roll over in their graves if they even had an inkling that some Yuppie offspring would consider drinking vineyard products with Chili. If anything, they would suggest some rotgut whiskey that they drank out on the trail to soothe the soul and keep them from remembering that there were no women between Abiline and Ft. Worth.


    HAHAHA. LOL... nothing quenches your thirst after a spicy chili, like a shot of whiskey!
    #19
    MiamiDon
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    RE: Chili & bubbly? 2008/02/29 09:48:55 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by PapaJoe8

    Shiner Bock goes well w/ Texas Chili! It is also good poured in. And, for some great Nathan's skinless dogs, just boil em in tha Shiner Bock.
    Joe


    You may have something there. Some gourmets insist that authentic regional wines have an affinity for foods from the area where the grapes are grown. Texas chili....Texas beer!
    #20
    LoveMyLab
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    RE: Chili & bubbly? 2008/02/29 10:18:04 (permalink)
    Chili + Champagne = One Big Burp!
    #21
    uncledaveyo
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    RE: Chili & bubbly? 2008/02/29 13:11:39 (permalink)
    I think you should drink whatever you enjoy most with what ever food you'd like. I love beer with chili, but red wine is nice also. On the other hand, I sampled a Grand Cru Blanc de Blancs Champagne yesterday that would have been just great with a bowl of red. It was pretty good all by itself too, as I sat at my desk calling clients all over the country and telling them about it.

    Yeah, my job is rough.
    #22
    MiamiDon
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    RE: Chili & bubbly? 2008/02/29 13:46:57 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by uncledaveyo

    I think you should drink whatever you enjoy most with what ever food you'd like. I love beer with chili, but red wine is nice also. On the other hand, I sampled a Grand Cru Blanc de Blancs Champagne yesterday that would have been just great with a bowl of red. It was pretty good all by itself too, as I sat at my desk calling clients all over the country and telling them about it.

    Yeah, my job is rough.


    That sounds like too much fun to be a job!

    What appellation?
    #23
    uncledaveyo
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    RE: Chili & bubbly? 2008/02/29 18:00:17 (permalink)
    Mesnil-sur-Oger, and only 49 bucks - far less than Krug, Salon and Alain Robert's from that village. I'd say more but it would be a plug.
    #24
    Ort. Carlton.
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    RE: Chili & bubbly? 2008/02/29 19:01:50 (permalink)
    Dearfolk,
    Chili and champagne... now I've seen EVERYTHING!
    Fizz Fizz Plop Plop Coming Right Up, Ort. Carlton in Oft-Overcarbonated Athens, Georgia.
    #25
    fischgrape
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    RE: Chili & bubbly? 2008/02/29 22:04:25 (permalink)
    LoveMyLab - Not only would it be a big burp, but it would probably be a painful one as well.

    Scorereader - Since we agree to disagree, but also agree on many points, I say we call a truce. Besides which, you enjoy Dr. Kontantin Frank's Vinifera Wine Cellars Riesling, which means that we are, if not blood brothers, at least cheering from the same side of the bleachers.

    Maybe, some day, I'll feed you some of my chili, and we'll drink whatever the hell we like with it.

    Cheers,

    john
    #26
    Scorereader
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    RE: Chili & bubbly? 2008/03/02 01:53:21 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by fischgrape

    LoveMyLab - Not only would it be a big burp, but it would probably be a painful one as well.

    Scorereader - Since we agree to disagree, but also agree on many points, I say we call a truce. Besides which, you enjoy Dr. Kontantin Frank's Vinifera Wine Cellars Riesling, which means that we are, if not blood brothers, at least cheering from the same side of the bleachers.

    Maybe, some day, I'll feed you some of my chili, and we'll drink whatever the hell we like with it.

    Cheers,

    john


    I do love Dr. Frank's. In fact, when I lived in the Finger Lakes, I went to the winery as often as I could. My only issue with Dr. Frank's, is that the cat is out of the bag, and the Reislings sell out. Prior to a few years ago, that never happened. They opened Salmon Run Winery to help keep their wines available. Some of their Pinot Noirs have been, IMO, brilliant, But, truth be known, I actually skightly prefer Herman J Weimer's Reisling to Dr. Frank's. But, I cannot get it down here - shoot, it's hard enough to get Dr. Frank's. Plus, with so many trips to Dr. Franks, it holds a special place in my heart.

    Another one I always enjoyed was Treleaven wines at King Ferry Winery. In particular, I was/am a big fan of their Reserve Chardonnay.

    I went to the wineries weekly. Had some friends who made it our Saturday morning thing. Run to three new wineries per week. Of course, it didn't take long until that idea dwindled to one new winery per week, when we kept having to make stops at our favorites enroute to the new wineries. That was a fun time.

    I went up there summer 2006 and hit some more wineries enroute to Tonowanda, NY, where I picked up a houseboat and captained it on the Erie Canal, from Tonowanda to Fairport and back (yup, that took a week), I was amazed at how many more wineries have opened since I left NY in 1998. I knew there were more, but it was still shocking. When I lived in Cayuga and Auburn, I think there were about 9 wineries on the Cayuga Trail. Now there are 16. Of course, that's still many less than Seneca Lake. Also, A lot of new wineries in Western, NY.

    Bully Hill is a fun place to visit. Of course, their wines are nothing like Dr. Frank's, which stems right from their philosophical difference. And one can still sense the once strained relationship between Walter Taylor and Konstantin Frank.
    #27
    fischgrape
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    RE: Chili & bubbly? 2008/03/02 12:52:31 (permalink)
    Score,

    Not to be the bearer of bad news, but Willy Frank passed away in '06. I had bought a lot of his (and other NYS) wines when I was the wine director at the Hudson River Club restaurant in Manhattan. He was a great talker, as I'm sure you know, but such a great spirit as well. Their Chateau Frank sparkling is still my favorite bubbly from NYS, and I agree with you on their Pinot Noirs.

    One thing that upsets me is that many of the wineries feel forced into producing off-dry wines, because that's what sells at the wineries. There as an all New York wines festival in Rhinebeck last fall, and at every table I asked for their driest white first. Some made apologetic statements about nothing they had being truly dry, and some just poured what they considered the driest. Wiemer obviously makes some dry stuff, as does Knapp, but until a broader audience for dry riesling develops, I'm afraid we're going to be stuck with the sweet stuff.

    john
    #28
    leethebard
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    RE: Chili & bubbly? 2008/03/02 13:07:37 (permalink)
    Don't most women want sweeter wines...heaven help us like white zinfandel???
    #29
    Scorereader
    Sirloin
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    RE: Chili & bubbly? 2008/03/03 01:54:43 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by fischgrape

    Score,

    Not to be the bearer of bad news, but Willy Frank passed away in '06. I had bought a lot of his (and other NYS) wines when I was the wine director at the Hudson River Club restaurant in Manhattan. He was a great talker, as I'm sure you know, but such a great spirit as well. Their Chateau Frank sparkling is still my favorite bubbly from NYS, and I agree with you on their Pinot Noirs.

    One thing that upsets me is that many of the wineries feel forced into producing off-dry wines, because that's what sells at the wineries. There as an all New York wines festival in Rhinebeck last fall, and at every table I asked for their driest white first. Some made apologetic statements about nothing they had being truly dry, and some just poured what they considered the driest. Wiemer obviously makes some dry stuff, as does Knapp, but until a broader audience for dry riesling develops, I'm afraid we're going to be stuck with the sweet stuff.

    john


    Yeah, I heard about Willy Frank. The grandsons runs the place now, right? I try to keep abreast of the NY wineries, though, out of nastalgia, I tend to drink the wines that I fell in love with in the 90's, and not try the newer wineries. My parents, who live in Syracuse, go on a couple wine tours per summer, and give me the scoop on the new wineries, although my taste in wine is different than theirs. But, they're good about saving the tasting notes on the new wineries.

    well, we've gone off topic. I'll start a NY wine thread. That might help this thread stay on track regarding "chili and bubbly," and we digressers can ramble in the proper thread.
    #30
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