Reflection #3 of Mountain Spirit Winery Cellar Assistant, Edward Lambert
'Pairing Wine with Settings'
After tasting our popular ‘Sophie’s Red,’ a Florida customer visiting the winery remarked, “that’s an excellent wine, full bodied, nicely blended, and very tasty. But, it’s like other red wines. They are no good to drink in hot, humid Florida.” (Florida, I am aware, has recently not been all that hot. He was referring, of course, to that state’s normal climate.) His remark provoked my thoughts about an interesting aspect of drinking wine, beyond the pleasure of the wine itself. That is, the setting in which one may enjoy wine. This reflection concerns pairing several fine settings I've experienced with drinking a glass of Mountain Spirit fine wine.
In all due respect to our Florida customer, I believe some settings are truly not right for drinking wine. I could not enjoy any of our wines in a depressingly dark, cigarette/cigar smoke filled bar, also filled with overly boisterous, intoxicated patrons. Obviously, this setting, as well as others, perhaps even Florida, verify that a good wine is not enjoyable just anywhere.
But, by contrast, let me describe what I consider perfect settings that do enhance my enjoyment of any of MSW’s fine wines. Nearly dusk, it’s workday’s end at the winery. Outside, the air is chilly and a slight breeze forces me to put on my down jacket. The sun is setting in a partially cloudy sky that is tinged with a pink blush. The Sawatch Range and the distant hills to the east also blush, if you will, that soft, compelling pink. Comfortable in the snuggly warm of my jacket, I sit at the picnic table outside the winery with a glass of Mountain Spirit wine. In the peaceful quiet of this late afternoon, I realize the pink blush of the wine is very similar to the blush of the western sky and the surrounding mountains. Ah! This setting is indeed a perfect one for my savoring ‘Angel Blush’ with its tasty blend of apples, pears, and raspberries, its delightful sweetness, and its delicate pink color, like that bathed upon the mountains and afternoon sky.
Another example of a setting enhancing the pleasure of wine is in the season of autumn, complete with the crisp air, the hint of on-coming winter, and the vibrant colors of the changing aspen. I hike into one of my favorite spots at the foot of Mt. Shavano and find a comfortable place to sit and relax and enjoy the setting. I am directly below the Angel of Shavano and amid a large, glorious grove of yellow, orange and uncommonly brilliant red fall colored aspen. I pour a glass of MSW ‘Sophie’s Red’ that I have carried here just so I could savor a glass of fine wine in this fine setting. Even before I taste it, I hold it up to see how its red matches that of the aspen leaves. They are not the exact same red. However they are closely alike, such that the colors of wine and leaves nicely blend. Much to my pleasure, the soft red blend of cabranet franc and merlot of 'Sophie's Red' is truly even more enjoyable and flavorful in this delightful setting.
These two settings perfectly pair with Mountain Spirit wines. Of course, I recognize that many other settings, too numerous to describe here, can add to the pleasure of drinking our wines. Having said that, I must concede that our Florida customer was perhaps partially correct with his statement that ‘Sophie’s Red’ would not be good in Florida. Indeed, settings do make a difference in our enjoyment of wine. ‘Sophie’s Red,’ I humbly suggest could be enjoyable almost anywhere but, yes, certainly more so in a Colorado high country aspen grove.