Seattle Wine Blog

This blog is dedicated to commentary on all aspects of wine, especially short entries to help you find the best wines without the usual hype and spin. These are my frank, independent opinions, usually based on tasting wine at a public event, off the shelf or at the winery. "All creative acts must arise out of a specific soil and flicker with a spirit of place" -D.H. Lawrence

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Crush : A Moveable Feast @ Tucson Museum of Art

Come and get it! Hot wine available for tasting. Hot food, too! April 1st, April Fools Day! To paraphrase a little, they say that only mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the desert sun. The sun was setting, but the thermometer was not. The plaza of The Tucson Museum of Art was in the 90s at the start and cooled down to 85 or so as the evening wore on. Last time I attended Crush, the temps were perfect, in the low 80s. Once when we were in Britsh Columbia, we commented on the rain to the first native we saw. "Well, it would be British Columbia, if it weren't raining." Commenting to a Tucsonian about the heat, "After all, it's Arizona." I guess I'm still a Northerner at heart. Though I usually do well in the low humidity of the desert with temps up to 93 or so, the red wines did not. They all tasted "hot" with lots of acidity and tannin standing out. In old "English Houses" the room temperature could be 55 Farenheit. Somehow I think the right temporature for reds in 63 degrees. I once tasted Kent Callaghan's Arizona Reds during a January windstorm that brought the winery to about 45 degrees. Kent had a remarkably simple system for bringing the temperature up. Pour the wine in the glass, place the glass in a pitcher of hot water, place the thermometer in the glass, remove the glass from the hot water when the temperature reachs 63 degrees, taste It took me a little while to get the hang of it. My first glass of ultra cold red tasted like liquid sandpaper. No flavor, no nothing, except tannin - purple/black liquid. The next glass at 63 degrees was full of complex black fruit flavors, balanced with gentle velvety tannins giving some backbone. I've learned so much about what a difference temperature makes to the taste of wine in Arizona. Once in a while, I get a glass pour of a perfect Chardonnay at a perfect 55 degrees.. A fresh stream of "stony", "mineral" liquid flows down my gullet and I feel as if I am by a cool stony brook. The heat led us to seek out cool Chardonnay. We found some excellent ones among the multiple food stations scattered around the T.A.M. plaza. In fact, this year, Crush seemed more like a food tasting rather than a wine tasting event. Tucson restaurants were strutting their stuff. Wine shops were strutting their stuff. The food was excellent, the whites refreshing and many of the reds delicious. Look for more about the wine and food  at the Crush pARTy in the coming days and weeks.   

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