Wine, Cop Rock, & The Platonic Ideal of Turnipness

08Jan08

In honor of Wine Resolution #2, I’ve been checking out Catavino.net, a Spanish and Portuguese wine blog written by an expat American couple living in Spain. Blogger Ryan Opaz wrote a great post a few weeks ago touching on one of my fave wine topics, varietal “correctness.” A varietally correct wine is one that exhibits the typical characteristics of that grape. When you open the bottle, you know, generally speaking, what you’re going to get. The same way you more or less know what you’re in for when you tune into a police procedural. Cops, criminals, suspects, interrogations, evidence, maybe some corruption and hard-drinking Irishmen. The results can be brilliant – or considerably less so. It’s all in the execution.

Another article I read today had me thinking about this idea of “correctness.” New York ran a piece on Alain Ducasse’s new wine bar Adour, opening at the end of the month in the St. Regis. According to the story, Ducasse’s genius is his ability to distill and heighten the essence of his ingredients:

“To understand how all of this translates to Adour, consider the turnip. The great thing about the turnip is its profound turnipness, the fact that it tastes like nothing but a turnip, that nothing but a turnip tastes like it. If you were to cook one at home, you’d probably boil it in water, which you’d later toss down the drain—along with much of the original turnip flavor. Knowing better, a restaurant would cook the vegetable in chicken broth or, if it wanted to be fancy, veal stock. Some turnip flavor would be lost, but another flavor would be gained. But how to get a turnip to taste more like a turnip? If you’re Ducasse, you create a turnip consommé or a reduction sauce and then cook your vegetable in that, so when the turnip is served in “Multicolor Vegetable Composition (With a Natural Jus Reduction),” for instance, the essence of the flavor is not only retained, it’s exalted.”

Say what you want about turnips – and I’m not the biggest fan – there’s a lot to be said for pursuing the Platonic ideal of turnipness. Same goes for wine.

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One Response to “Wine, Cop Rock, & The Platonic Ideal of Turnipness”

  1. Hey thanks for the mention and glad you liked the article! Oh and I love the resolution to drink more sherry! Stay tuned, Apr/May will be full of sherries over at Catavino.net

    Cheers, Ryan


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