It's a tough week! My final exam for the WSET advanced comes just 3 days after returning from dancing till well after dawn 3 nights in a row at the London Swingvitational so there's a LOT of studying to be done. That means a bit less of the social drinking and more of the theory. Nevertheless, these teeth ain't gonna get purple all on their own...
So, my dearest wine, much as I love you, I fear you will have to be limited to late night social dancing in future. I see my dance friends downing vodka or their other drink of choice and wonder if Dutch Courage might be the reason we're not quite hitting the mark in competitions. Must watch those Frenchies next time! Are they all naturally confident without the demon drink? Do they just have a naturally inherited gene that makes them handle their booze better? Or are they just practicing more than us? I'll report back after the next event...
Anyway, back to what I was drinking and not what I wasn't!
Just a word of warning - taking a bottle to be 4 glasses, you'll be having 2.8 units per glass. Sad but true! Half a bottle is quite the binge. If you want to check what your intake is, you can use the handy calculator here. Remember that for a woman 2-3 units a day and a man no more than 3-4 units per day - ideally with 2 days per week with no alcohol is the current recommended advice by our UK health authorities.
One good thing - checking these facts for this week's blog post inadvertently gave me a couple of the answers for my WSET exam on Thursday. Yeah!
For once, not a dry wine! This is medium or perhaps I'd describe it more as off-dry as there's enough refreshing acidity to mean it's not sugary sweet.
I opened this to remind myself what Vouvray tasted like in the vain hope that it might be one of the wines that came up on my blind tasting exam. (Yes, that was an excuse**). I only discovered Vouvray through my WSET course and would normally avoid Chenin Blanc based wines (which this is) after poor experiences with dodgy Western Cape bulk brands a few years ago. These bulk produced wines are often house white in less than classy bars. Avoid. On the other hand, reach out for this Loire Valley wine. Admittedly the one here is just what's available in my local supermarket and their are lots of brighter and more delicious versions out there. Even so, this is crisp, refreshing and delicious - if rather odd for a French wine in that it has a synthetic cork. That means drink while it's young and fresh as it won't keep like some other Vouvrays may. We can have the synthetic cork debate another day...
Based on my food recommendation advice, the sweetness and acidity probably makes this a good match for Kung Po / Sweet & Sour * or other sweet and spicy exotic dishes. It's also lovely to drink on it's own.
Another word of caution - Vouvray (unlike most French appellations) can be produced in a variety of styles from dry through to sweet, and even sparkling, so do make sure you know what you're getting if you pick up a bottle to avoid an unwelcome surprise.
*Purely in the interests of research I decided to order a hot and spicy Kung Po Chicken from my local Chinese restaurant just to check the theory that this would be a good match. My survey of one says, "HIT". Yes - this really worked well with the not chili spice and the sweet and sticky sauce, as well as the cashew nuts and water chestnuts in the dish.
** Nightmare scenario: In the exam, I actually managed to convince myself that the tasting wine was South African Chenin Blanc when it was actually reveled later to be Chablis. In my defense, I've lost my sense of smell with "post-dance-event-flu", and my tastebuds probably felt the wine was off dry because of the giant chocolate and raspberry brownie I'd taken a nibble of before the exam. #fail
I'm hoping that the rest of the tasting note was fine and I'll still pass the rest of the exam. More news in around 8 weeks. Meanwhile, everything crossed!
Chili Raspberry Martini from The Hide Bar right next door to the WSET school on Bermondsey Street.
Chili-infused Wyborowa Vodka with raspberry puree and fresh raspberries.
Again, those who've been paying attention will be starting to pick up that chili is almost as much of an obsession as wine with me so I couldn't resist this. After all, my ruined palate has already let me down so I may as well make it worse. I was not at all prepared for the smack in the face that this would deliver. Let's just say, mild it's not, and I was very glad of the glass of ice water on the side.
Na Zdrowie! Cheers!