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What’s the big deal with Burgundy? Why are people obsessed with it?
Burgundy has an allure unlike any other wine region in the world, and much of that allure has to do with the environment. The stereotypical picture most people have of a wine region is of a place where small producers tirelessly work the vines, and then, at harvest, head to the cellar to create incredible wine. And while most regions have producers who do this, they also have large-scale wineries with machine harvesting and mechanized production methods.
Not so in Burgundy. This is in large part due to the region’s size. The vineyards most wineries own in Burgundy are small and production size is low; in turn, the quality is high. On top of this, the grape used to make the region’s famous red, Pinot Noir, is incredibly fickle. It’s considered the hardest grape in the world to cultivate well. All this adds a certain mystique to the wines, plus it ensures the wine is pretty scarce.
Mystique and scarcity are two of the largest factors that drive obsession among wine lovers, which in turn leads to much higher prices. It also helps that the wine is delicious and can age for decades. If you happen upon a bottle of affordable Grand of Premier Cru, grab it. You’ll be glad you did.
Say I’m in a restaurant and I ask for a glass of wine and the somm brings me a taste. Say I don’t like it, and ask for another. And say I don’t like that one either. Can I ask for a third? Or am I stuck with the second?
When you’re ordering a wine by the glass, it’s totally fine to ask for a taste before you buy it, but just like at the ice cream counter, it’s pretty rude to ask for taste after taste after taste. I’d say once you’ve tried two different wines, if you don’t like either, the appropriate thing to do is simply order something else or grab a cocktail or a beer.
What is a fat wash in a cocktail?
Fat washing, as gross as it sounds, is a technique that adds a savory flavors to cocktails. To add this characteristic to a cocktail, you simply add a fat like melted butter, sesame oil or rendered bacon fat to the spirit of your choice — a lot of places use bourbon — and then refrigerate. When the fat resolidifies, you skim it off the top of the spirit and what you’re left with is a spirit that has a strong, savory component and a much smoother mouthfeel.