The wine glasses will have retired when the clocks fall back to standard time at 2:00 o’clock in the morning on Sunday, November 4th. An hour no longer needed and cast off, a casualty of war. He may not have invented it, but we have Benjamin Franklin to thank for being the first to indicate the need for the phenomenon. In the United States, a federal law standardized the yearly start and end of daylight saving time in 1918, for the states that chose to observe it. It was mandatory during WWII and today most states continue to observe the so-called, energy-saving measure. Canadians abide, Quel shoc!, save for Saskatchewan which is on DST year round. What’s that all about?
The M.C. Escher tessellating question is this. Is DST an energy conservation proposition or a Saturday night wine suck? It’s both, actually. Like the Escher model, fine wine is a linear, interwoven tapestry without any gaps or overlaps. The fact that DST is part of a never-ending loop likens it to Groundhog Day and the redundant nature of the ritual zaps life, if only for one night, as if there were no tomorrow.
My advice is to make sure your fridge and racks are stocked with whites and reds possessive of good legs that fall back in the glass. Wines of character and depth to carry you through to Sunday’s raffish onset of darkness. On the bright side, that lost hour does mean that when Sunday morning comes you won’t be confronted by first light purdah masked of a folderol, cimmerian shade. Here are four wines to aid in the transition back to standard time.
The grape: Pinot Grigio
The history: 100% PG from the Friuli Isonzo DOC region (in northeastern Italy near the Slovenian border) produced by the cooperative, Cantina Produttori Cormòns
The lowdown: Tightly wound clusters cause varietal deformity due to the pressure they exert on each other. Intense PG at a great price
The food match: Barque Rub Roast Chicken Wings and Thighs
Cormòns Pinot Grigio 2010 (734038, $14.95) is slick stuff, like vitreous and porous silica gel without the talc. Acacia blossom perfume and agave scherzo symphony in a glass. High praise indeed for lowly PG but go Friuli my friend and note the difference. The conically tapered glass bottle adds to the magic and the profile. By way of Mr. C. for my card at Barque. 88
The grape: Chardonnay
The history: Burgundy’s great varietal goes haywire along Niagara on the Lake’s old Stone Road
The lowdown: This racy white has just enough brake to watch its speed
The food match: Homemade Tagliatelle, brown butter, parmesan and sage
G. Marquis The Silver Line Chardonnay 2011 (258681, $16.95) streaks across and plays a lick on atomic 16 rails at breakneck speed, all the while jonesing for of a slice of custard pie. “It’s sweet and nice” with lead, nuts and spice. The G. might stand for grateful or great, as in value. 88
The grapes: Grenache, Syrah & Mourvèdre
The history: Gigondas sits one step down from Châteauneuf-du-Pape in the southern Rhône pecking order
The lowdown: Not nearly as serious as the likes of Brusset, Perrin or Montmirail but look at the price
The food match: Boneless Roast Quail, king oyster mushrooms, fresh thyme
Domaine Santa Duc Les Garancières Gigondas 2009 (234989, $17.90, was $27.95) is Grenache-centric so soft, modern and approachable is its MO. The S and M adds just enough volcanic disturbance, smoke and herbal spew to keep it real. Notes of arpeggios and glissades. At the reduced fare its reductive attributes smooth and flesh out hither and yon at the same time. Simmering raspberries with the intention of becoming jam is a delight to sniff and dip a spoon into. 89
The grape: Malbec
The history: From the emerging Uco Valley in Mendoza where the varietal seems to turn from red to black
The lowdown: Showing very well for an under $20 Malbec with five years of age under its bottle buckle
The food match: Grilled Barese Sausages, tomato jam, smokey bbq sauce
Trapiche Fincas Las Palmas Malbec 2007 (186668 $17.95) with its vanillin, razor-sharp contour of energy is rich and powerful for the price. The style is big, blowsy and not without a smokey, blackberry charm. A slight electric loss and corresponding increased valence shows that the clock is ticking fast, but for now the pleasure is all ours. 89
Good to go!