On Bulls’ Penises and Wine Inspirations

Louey As I watched my new puppy happily and with no reservations gnaw on the first dried bull's penis ever presented to her, it occurred to me that perhaps I've gotten into a rut with my drinking of late and not taken advantage of the wide variety of options wine drinkers now posses.

My drinking habits tend to flow between Manhattans, Old Fashioneds and, where wine is concerned, Pinot Noir, Riesling and Rhone or Rhone-style wines. This collection of drinks has been my mainstay for a few yeas now. I drink them because this is what I know for a fact that I'll like and therefore no risk is involved.

I wonder if this aversion to risk where drinking is concerned is a function of age and experience and is common among older drinker. Or is it just a rut that that I've fallen into?

In the past, I've always tended to attack new wine possibilities by diving in deep. Austrian Riesling and Gruners were my last discovery that led me to try many of these citrusy, minerally gems. But that deep dive happened a good 3 years ago. Since then I've not delved into anything particularly new.

So, again inspired by the site of a small Italian Greyhound nibbling on dried bull's penis, I started to take an inventory of those wines I need ("Want", really) to investigate for the sake of my own curiosity, for the sake of future pleasure and for the sake of not being out done in the "Dietary Adventure" area by a 5 month old puppy.

Wines Tom Has Committed to Fully Investigating:

•10 to 15 year-old Bordeaux
•Argentine Torrontes
•The Wines of Jerez
•Wines of Michigan
•California Artisan Merlot

It's a small list, but I think these are all good places for me to start to reclaim the sense of adventure that I've not embraced with wine for a good while now. These are all categories of wines that I've tried only a few times but recall being very happy with. So now it's about learning much more about them, figuring them out, diving in to them.

Anyone with any suggestions for wines that I need to try that fall into these categories, by all means put them in the comments. Show me where you think I should start…or end.

I'm feeling grateful now for the puppy's willingness to dig into that dried bull's penis. And I'm constantly amazed at what can lead to inspiration.




15 Responses

  1. Peter Hornby - February 9, 2011

    I think you’ll like Torrontes.
    I KNOW you’ll like mature Bordeaux.
    I’d also suggest an exploration of the wines of Alsace – if you know German Riesling, the dry Alsatian style will interest you, I hope. And if you’re new to high quality Gewurztraminer, you have a treat in store.

  2. Tricia - February 9, 2011

    Look forward to reading the follow-up post on Michigan wines!

  3. Thomas Pellechia - February 9, 2011

    Get on over to http://winecrushblog.com/ and see what I wrote about this subject yesterday.

  4. Marcia - February 9, 2011

    So your new pup is clearly adorable. And I’m just trying to understand what the primary topic of para #1 has to do with the wines you haven’t tried. …I think you just like saying ‘dried bull’s penis’ as many times as possible in a post! 🙂
    I, too, am a big fan of Torrontes. And I’m waiting for the onslaught of comments about what makes an ‘artisan Merlot’ in this state. (I’ll assume the opposite is ‘typical’ or ‘generic’ Merlot that you’ve already sampled enough of!)

  5. Alex R - February 9, 2011

    Jerez! (A favorite I’m excited to see interest in.) Was actually at a sherry tasting last year where a small dog was enjoying a bull penis!
    A few delightful bottles:
    -Maestro Sierra 12yr Amontillado (Dry, really wonderful…)
    -Sandeman Royal Corrigedor Oloroso (20 yr?, sweet)
    -Fino/Manzanilla: Cigarrera, Tio Pepe, and Lustau Jarana.
    -The Lustau’s can be great, but are also pretty inconsistent bottle-to-bottle.
    “Sherry and the Sherry Bodegas” is a great and comprehensive book on growing, production and styles.

  6. Alex R - February 9, 2011

    **Sherry and the Sherry bodegas by Jan Read

  7. Charlie Olken - February 9, 2011

    What the hell ever happened to dog food or table scraps?
    Or to put it another way, if this is what dog ownership has come to, I guess I am glad I never indulged. :-}
    10 tp 15 year old Bordeaux should be fun. Two very good extensions of those inquiries would be even older Bdx and also comparable aged CA Cabs.

  8. barricas de roble - February 10, 2011

    If this nightmare comes to pass, we’ll know whose wine not to drink, let alone buy

  9. Caryn Chachulski - February 10, 2011

    I work for a winery in Northern Michigan. I know a few of the wineries up here making some great wines. Email me and we’ll see what we can set up ([email protected])

  10. El Jefe - February 10, 2011

    Next month we will need to see a full report from you on how “dried bull’s penis” has affected your Google Analytics.

  11. Jeff - February 10, 2011

    You’ll like what you find out of Michigan. About 15 years behind the Finger Lakes, with some misses, but also nice examples of Rieslings, Pinots and nice sparklers from L. Mawby.

  12. Matt - February 10, 2011

    Paloma Merlot (introduced to me by Kathy)
    Selene Merlot Freidani Vineyard
    Miner Family Merlot Stagecoach Vineyard
    Jarvis Merlot

  13. Christian Miller - February 14, 2011

    Some nice Michigan wines I’ve had in the past year: Bry’s Estate Riesling; Black Star Farms pear wine, Riesling, Pinot Gris. Scott Harvey was making Michigan Riesling for a while.

  14. Sean O'Keefe - February 23, 2011

    All the power to the Finger Lakes, but the Michigan is 15 years behind comment is misguided. Behind what measure? The Old Mission Peninsula is 98% hybrid free, and has been producing Riesling, Gewurztraminer, white Pinots and cold climate reds of great distinction for as long as the vast majority of Finger Lakes wineries. We have a thriving appellation with wines of all stripes tasting distinctly of here: Well played acidity, delicate aromatics and a willingness to make wines that are not just aimed at tasting room sales. I’ll match our region’s Riesling against the best of North America e.g. Finger Lakes, Niagara Peninsula, Willamette Valley, Columbia Valley, British Columbia, Anderson Valley & Central Coast California. Guess what?, there will be standouts from each region that will be hard to judge against one another because the wines are grown in such different growing conditions. I love many Finger Lakes wines, but they are neither more elevated nor a substitute for the great wines of our region.

  15. Joanne Saliby - March 1, 2011

    And Marcia, I have learned that to get readers to read your blog, create a provocative title. This one did it for me! I doubled my readership some months ago when I mentioned “sex” in the title of two blogs! Silly,but true.

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