This past Friday I was in San Francisco and stuck my head in a wine store/bar. I wanted to see what GSM blends were available, and what the price range for any blends may be.
The gal that helped was great in pointing out two — a Tallulah 2007 GSM with the fruit from Amador Valley and a Gigonda Paillere et Pied Gu Cotes du Rhone. She mentioned the Tallulah, a fruit-forward blend, would be best for just drinking whereas the French wine was more subtle and would be best suited with food. I purchased the Gigondas.
I figured I’d get home and cook something for dinner, and began planning in my head what I wanted to create. I was leaning towards pasta with a red sauce and lots of garlic.
The traffic was miserable, and it took me an hour to get to the foot of the bridge from the 280 interchange. Needless to say, by the time I got home to San Ramon, I was wiped out, hot, tired, thirsty and not thinking of no longer thinking of cooking dinner.
After deciding to order a pizza, I called up for my favorite, a vegetarian pizza with a white sauce and lots of zucchini, onion, bell peppers and garlic. After I had opened the Gigondas and was drinking some with my pizza, I decided I had made a mistake.
I love a fruity, juicy, but mysterious wine, and realized that I as much as I love pairing foods with wines, I don’t want to *have* to drink a certain wine with food; I want to be able to just drink wine. No restrictions, no conditions, no necessary accoutrements.
I wrote an email to the owner of Vin, the shop in the West Portal area of San Francisco where I’d bought the wine, to get the name of the alternate wine, the one I’d regrettably left behind.
He replied late that night:
Hi Helene, I hope the screenshot below makes it to you as it has more information on the Tallulah. This is from the Tallulah website. In short, “GSM” is a bit of industry slang for a Rhone-styled blend consisting of Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre. This GSM is very different from the French Cotes du Rhone that you purchased today. Tallulah is definitely more fruit-forward whereas the French is more subdued, drier and has an earthy. Not to over-simplify, but I feel the Tallulah is better suited for a cocktail party (and is always a hit) and the French Cotes du Rhone is well suited for an elegant dinner.
Just one guys opinion…
He clearly understands that most wine drinkers are drinking wine to drink it, not to pair it with a food. While I love drinking wine with my food, I also love drinking wine for the experience of drinking it alone.
In the future, I will be less impetuous when buying a wine, and I will remember that even though it may be paired with food, the wine I choose must be one I’d enjoy by itself.