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Woman on the Verge of a Glass of Wine

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

A Rosé By Any Other Color

I decided to try out an experiment to test a theory that I'd had. The theory surrounds a study that showed that people who consumed 14 glasses of wine per week were 60% less likely to contract a cold than other non-wine drinkers. One can see how I would find this to be an "au courant" investigation as we in Los Angeles are right in the midst of flu season and everyone around me seems to be dropping like flies. I myself have been teetering on the brink, so I started wondering if drinking a glass of wine or two could actually cure a cold. Many of my friends in the Latino community swear by the shot of tequila cure, but for a wine lover such as myself, I'd much rather drink a glass of fermented grapes, especially if I can find a good excuse to do so.

This all started as I began to feel the tell tale signs that I was coming down with something. I'm one of those people who just always seems to get sick. I swear I'm not a hypochondriac. The problem lies in the fact that I have two school-aged children who bring home every communicable disease known to man and I work in a business in which I shake many many hands every night. And although I wash my hands constantly and carry Purell, I still get sick all of the time. I've tried various methods for curing my various viruses including Oscillococcinum (do those little white balls of sugar really do anything?), Tamiflu (very expensive), feeding my cold (not great for my rear end), starving my cold (hard to do, but I felt really thin for a few days there), loading up on vitamin C (got tired of swallowing those horse pills), sweating it out (got thin again) and Theraflu (fell asleep at work!). This time I'm just ignoring my symptoms and working through it, which is not really doing anything to relieve my cruddy condition, though I do feel like quite the trooper. In my desperation to find a way to feel better, I decided to do one last search for a cure, which is how in my Google-based due diligence I came upon the delicious fact about wine drinking and cold avoidance. Immediately a light bulb went on in my head....maybe I can drink my way out of this illness!

I immediately went to my newly-dubbed "medicine cabinet" to find the appropriate bottle of wine to test out my theory. Within a few minutes I came upon a wine that I've been meaning to taste for a while now, the 2009 Scholium Project Rhododactylos, Phillips Farms, a wine that an employee at Tavern gave me after she worked with the winemaker during harvest and bottling. What struck me immediately about this wine was that I had assumed by its color that it was a white wine, until I actually read the label to discover it was rosé. I suppose that this wouldn't be strange for the Scholium Project as they are known for making wines that are fairly unusual.

It turns out that they actually made this wine by accident, an example of the curious things that happen when we try to control nature. The mistake happened in 2008 when they initially planned to make a deep dark red from 150 year-old dry farmed Cinsault, an utterly unheard of find from Phillips Farms in Lodi. But instead of yielding the anticipated small, dark berries from the vines, they got large, round, light colored grapes much like table grapes but with a muscat-like fragrance. They bled the juice off and fermented it into a rich and delicious white, or more accurately, light pink. They loved it so much that they decided to recreate it in 2009. This time they gently whole-cluster pressed it, fermented it in stainless steel and aged it in old white wine barrels. And though they say the wine was initially pink, it eventually lost it's color and became quite a serious golden color, somewhere between rose gold and 24 karat.

The wine showed aromas of roses, honey and allspice, all of which I was somehow able to detect through my runny nose. This honey intensified on the palate, resulting in a wine that drank much more like a mature white than any rosé I've ever had. It was rich with ripe stone fruit, exotic spices and incredible weight and texture, not unlike white wine from the Northern Rhône Valley. Although the wine was an unexpected rosé surprise, I would expect no less from The Scholium Project whose wines are always incredibly layered, intense and complex. They make the kinds of wines that are not only interesting to taste, but are also a pleasure to drink.

I enjoyed this wine over a couple of nights and though it didn't do anything obvious to help my cold, it certainly made me relax about my illness. This may be the same effect that tequila provides in a smaller, more potent dose. I've decided to make myself an experimental guinea pig and keep testing this theory in hope of finding a wine cure. I figure that it's the least I can do for the medical community.


  1. Love this post! Sometimes I find that a good bottle of Malbec helps me get through my colds ;-)

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