I'm a coach for my son's soccer team, and we just returned from a game against some genetically modified 8- and 9-year-old kids. My children go to a public Montessori school (in case you were wondering, no it's not easy to reconcile public Montessori with No Child Left Behind...), and today's opponents were from our traditional neighborhood public school. Said school is only nominally larger than my son's school, so I'm dying to know why there was such a size disparity.
We got stomped.
It was not really a fun game, and the other team's coach made it even worse. He was the kind of guy that you know actually exists, but you are still surprised when you meet him. He is an INTENSE DUDE. Now if I'm saying that, then he must have been insufferable. The guy even yelled--inexplicably--at us (the three opposing coaches). As it happened, I know the assistant coach of the other team, and I got the sense from our brief discussion today that he is there to inject a little joy to their practices.
Last night I drank the 2005 Mollydooker Carnival of Love Shiraz (from grapes grown in McLaren Vale), apparently in unwitting preparation for that genetically modified opposing team. The wine was so much more than "too much" that even "genetically modified" seems tame. Good flavors? Sure, though they had a roasted quality that didn't appeal to me. Overwhelming in that Aussie sort of way? Sure--if the wine were a person it would have been the life of a party (no one else would have gotten to talk, but still). Hedonistic? So I've read, but it strikes me more as masochistic. Apparently it has a very high Marquis Fruit Weight™, and I can only imagine what kind of unnatural manipulation was required to achieve this. I did find myself hoping it might inject a little joy into my glass, but really it tasted like an effete state of BS. If you keep assaulting your tongue with this stuff, pretty soon you'll be numb and miss out on not just the rest of the wine, but LOTS of other things.
Like your dinner.
I had been putting off drinking the wine because I couldn't imagine what the heck I would eat with it other than pancakes (on which it would seriously have made great syrup), and this is not the sort of wine I want to drink all by itself. The wine was a gift, which is really a shame, because this kind of wine, which was a 99 or 96 pointer (and no doubt bought because of that), represents everything I DON'T want in wine. My menu options were few, so I had ribs. I made the Best Ribs In The Universe, which calls for my least favorite BBQ sauce (KC Masterpiece) to be SWEETENED EVEN FURTHER with honey. Well, I've made it a few times before, and the ribs are indeed great, so I held out some hope that the wine wouldn't overwhelm the ribs. I fired up my Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker and smoke-cooked them with some Canadian maple as the smoke wood. Mmm...Good! Too bad the wine was still too much for my hyper-flavored ribs!!!
Okay, so apparently genetically modified crops are better for the environment. I'm skeptical, but open minded. Wines like the Mollydooker, which aren't technically genetically modified, are apparently better (than their peers) according the point-scores ascribed to them. I'm skeptical but NOT open minded. I mean, IT OVERPOWERED MY RIBS!!!!! In fact, I'm more than skeptical...it's just plain wrong.
So what the heck is the purpose of such a wine anyway? Knowing a bit about what I'm tasting, I understand how one arrives at this style, but shouldn't wine aspire to be about something bigger than the Mt. Everest of Wines? I realize that I'm a wine professional and all, but it's just a drink. The "Mt. Everest of Wines" seems like a pretty low and unimportant peak.
Of course, I want a wine to have a use beyond pouring it on a waffle (or a lover...titillating and tasty as that might be). And for God's sake, working with some baby back ribs shouldn't be too much to ask, even for the most self-conscious of wines. In my view, food, which is my main sustenance (in spite of the fact that I write multiple wine blogs), shouldn't be subservient to wine. Any wine that is so self-sufficient that the only thing that might go with it is Dinuguan (a delicious classic of the Philippines, though my wife--a Filipina--won't eat it), is practically worthless.
As if to underscore this, I went back downstairs and fished out a different Australian Shiraz--Hewitson Mad Hatter (also from McLaren Vale)--and it was so good with the ribs that I wanted to write a song about it.
But, as the missus is OOT and I had to wrestle the kids into bed alone...I fell asleep early and didn't get to it.
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