the liquid side

Davenport Farms Norton GrapesToday, I stopped by Davenport Orchards & Winery today to pick up a few bottles of locally produced wine.

I owe a lot of Davenport.  It is the first winery tour I ever took and strangely enough, I think I still have a bottle of apple wine I purchased that day.  I can only imagine after 7 years, it’s probably lost some of its luster.

I have moved on to new liquid loves, but every year I make it back to pick up a little something.  For the past two years, it’s been apple wine.  Not only is it delicious, but they are always out of what I really want: their watermelon wine.

Not this year!  This year they had several cases of it.  Which could only mean that either I had come at a different time of the year, they had made more of it, or they had sold less of it.  I think they have only had it three years, so it is likely they are finally ramping up the production, although given the economy, it is quite possible that they are selling less.

Still, I was happy that I finally got to try it.

Watermelon Wine in Review

Well, sadly, all in all, watermelon wine is nothing to write home about (though strangely it is something to write a blog post about.  Oh well.)  Honestly, I think they cut the watermelon down too far because it tasted like rind.  Which is never good.

Really, that’s pretty much all I have to say about it.  It was not near sweet enough and it tasted green.  I was saddened, because I figured I’d be taking a small loan out to buy their entire supply and spending the next month drunkenly blogging about watermelon wine recipes.

Still, I didn’t come away totally empty handed.  More on that tomorrow.

But until then, please has anyone else had watermelon wine?  Leave me a comment and tell me your experience?

Photo courtesy of Davenport Orchards & Winery.

There is tremendous scholarship concerning what types of wine to pair with which foods.  It is pretty well established that one should pair white wines with lighter dishes and red wines with heavier meat based dishes blah blah blah.  (I find this last point particularly troublesome since I prefer whites and oftentimes find the tannic flavor of some reds more than enough to drown out the taste of a good steak.  I also wonder about the appropriateness of this maxim given the large number of steakhouses that prominently feature white wines.)However, there is much less being written about which wines to use when cooking.  For a while, the Food Network held a debate across its many shows about whether one should cook with so-called cooking wine or normal wine purchased from a wine shop.  Uncorking a wine shop bottle rather than screwing off a plastic cap seems to have won hands down as the general consensus is that cooking wine is a salty, cheap, and has an overall bad flavor.But does varietal, appellation, or grape matter?  Let’s first set aside the obvious distinction that when a recipe calls for red wine, you should use a red and when it calls for a white, you use a white.  But when you open your wine cellar (or closet or drawer or whatever) is it better to pull out a dry Chardonnay or a sweet Riesling?  A merlot (which tend to be lighter) or a shiraz (some of which can coat your tongue)?To be honest, I do not believe it matters.  I have yet to make a salmon en papillote and said “You know, I wish I would have used a drier white” or made really fancy Sunday gravy (that’s spaghetti sauce to non-Sopranos fans) and thought that I would have preferred a sweeter or drier variety.  Again, I will frame the conversation and say that I would never add a dessert wine or a port to a savory recipe, but at the end of the day, I just am not concerned about which style of wine I put into my food.

Ultimately, when you cook with wine you are concentrating the flavor.  Just make sure you like the flavor in its unconcentrated form and your dish should come out just fine.

What have you found when cooking with wine?