Tuesday, 11 November 2008

Church of the SubGenius Wine Club

Hi winos

Here's a long overdue blog about a club I started whose name takes its name from a religion that I have a vague interest in. The idea behind aligning a wine club with a parodical religion is two pronged. Firstly, I'd like to deride the belief that taking wine seriously need be a stuffy pursuit, berift of humour and inaccesible to Joe The Plumber. Secondly, the Church has about three holy days per month, which we mark by holding a wine tasting on said date.

I'd like to tell you about the names of the days but you should just check it out yourself:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Church_of_the_subgenius

Anyway, last night was the feast of The Feast of St Cthulhu. After the success of the feast of St Oliver the Manzee, I decided to set the theme as maridage, or the combination of wine and food for the enhanced enjoyment of each. Our friends Alex and Belen had us over after work and we got going.

I brought a Penedes Sauvignon Blanc that I'd copped from the Boqueria wine shop, which instantly impressed due to it's impressive label/collar booklet that straddled the neck of the bottle like a bib. On removing it, the most detailed notes you could ever wish for on the subject of this 2005 Tayaimgut Sant Joan de Mediona; from that year's weather to the dates the grapes were picked, from a table detailing the evolution of alcohol in the wine in contrast with its acidity. I doubt i'll ever get round to reading it all, but who knows.

I chose the wine on the basis of the pinxos I had brought to accompany. The smooth cream cheese, smoked salmon and caviar rendered the gob with just enough thirst to quaff the floral brew down at a rate that was no doubt influenced by the temperature of the wine an the wait for a late arrival that had preceeded. I think maybe we served it a little too cold, perhaps missing the nuances that could be found with more patience at drinky time.

The wait was worthwhile, indubitably. Trevor is definately a man who does his homework before these occasioons, but raised a couple of eyebrows with his selection of red coupage with seafood. The tipple, a 2005 Heretat Navas from Montsant, was a mix of garnacha (yum), mazuela, cabernet sauvignon and syrah. Further inspection revealed that the label recommended it with, amongst other things, boiled fish, which supported what Trevor had been told by the lady from the shop near his Gracia home.

As it turned out, the meaty prawns lended themselves well to this jolly red, slightly chilled by un rato in la nevera. The wine felt spiced, a touch of cinnamon perhaps in there, but quite light. Alex the host definitely knew what he was doing when he threw some sage in the mix as we fried the crustaceans to warm them up, after Trevor had flash-boiled them at home. I think the introduction of comically long skewers that we were given to eat the blighters made me completely forget the tartare sauce that was supposed to be the final touch. Oh well.

In a display of proof that you needn't go to a specialist supplier to get good wine in Spain, Tom brought out the Senorio de Sarria, a Navarran crianza from 2004. Not many clues we to be found on the label as to its constitution, and I wouldn't like to guess for fear of being laughed off the wine blog by Wil the Wine Brain. We found it, however, earthy, with notes of blackberry, and maybe even blood: could that be the minerals? We subtitled the wine Assasination at the River Blackberry before getting stuck into more pinxos, this time of boquerones in vinegar and tinned roasted red peppers. Another winning duo: I think blue fish and light reds could be a goer.

Alex isn't going to get the credit he deserves for his selection at the bodega here just on account of his glorious racion of escabeche that he had prepared the night before. You have to up the recipe for yourselves, but you could easy get everything you need to make a really good and cheap dish like this in England. The joy in this oily treat was contrasted by the noticable high tanin content in the Clot Dels Homs 2004, a balsamic combination of Merlt and Cabernet Sauvignon, but divided opinion in terms of taste. Not everyone likes that desert mouth feeling you see. I thought it was great but may have been being contrary.

Alex also kept the whole affair classy with his selection of old and new vinyl that span on his lone Vestax, where most people would have a telly. (I'd say Blonde Redhead was the most memorable.) Belen tells me that because they don't have a goggle box, they make up stories and characters instead. During the night, loads of niknaks kept appearing: like a sequened skull cap, a naked-from-the-waist-down too-flat Ernie from Sesame Street, and toward the end of the night, three spring-loaded fighting Batman midgets.

Another SubGenius who likes to put a lot of thought into her selection is Belen. She had managed to find a grape with the same surname as her the last time (Prieto), and this time she brought a wine from the Toro region, as she's a Taurus. You see! To go with this 2005 Puertas Novas, she had some goat's cheese from the Pyranees. The wine had a stark prune element, with a black cherry aftertaste, and the cheese disappeared in absolutely no time. Simple pleasures.

Last of all, Clare uncorked a 2007 Crin Roja, a tempranillo from la Tierra de Castilla, not a recognised Denominacion de Origin, but I'm not sure you can always judge a wine by such details. This one was served up with some dark chocolate, which soothed the coffee and tabacco fire of this leathery nightcap.

Well, that's about it for today. It's really easy and rewarding to start your own wine gang, just make sure you've got enough glasses and if you've got more than seven guests, get two bottles of each.







No comments: