Monday, May 13, 2013

Book Review: Educating Peter Part II

Ms. Teague speaks of Muscadet's lack of longevity twice, once referring to the wine as being "meant to last for a season or two" and then saying to "drink it as young as possible."  This is the conventional wisdom but I have had occasion to taste 10 year-old versions that are exceptional and still have the verve and crispness expected from the appellation.  Most people will drink them young for their intense freshness and brightness, which pairs wonderfully with all manner of seafood, especially shellfish but they shouldn't feel they need to check an expiration date like milk.  She is clearly aware of the possibility of wines not known for aging gracefully to surprise since she mentions a Soave producer in particular whose older vintage drank well.
She offers the following about Tasmania: "the only place in Australia cool enough to grow Pinot [Noir] properly."  Inexplicably says later, "Yarra Valley - A newly fashionable region outside Melbourne touted for its suitability for Pinot Noir, Yarra Valley shows promise."  Perhaps the professional editor should have hired a professional editor.
Her Bordeaux confusion (see part I of this review) continues when she mentions Chateau Petrus, "probably the most famous Bordeaux in the world made entirely from Merlot."  This is a minor quibble of mine, but a simple Google search returned nearly 250,000 results discussing the blend of the wine.  While the wine is, sometimes, 100% Merlot, the Chateau itself states (the second result in the search) that 5% Cabernet Franc is also planted at the estate.
"Peter would never see an oak-aged Rielsing."  Only if you select his wines for him forever.  In Germany and Alsace, wines are routinely aged in older oak barrels (often called neutral oak) which allows the wines to breathe, soften and integrate but does not impart a woody aroma or flavor.  I am baffled that Ms. Teague does not know this as a wine writer.
A slap at Cabernet Franc describes it as "a sort of poor cousin to Cabernet Sauvignon."  I think this is unfair to a very interesting variety but that is a matter of opinion and taste.  From a genealogical standpoint her statement confuses.  Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc are the parents of Cabernet Sauvignon.  This does not eliminate the possibility of the former being a "poor cousin" to its own offspring, but it is unlikely in most of the civilized world.
Pronunciation of wine terms, regions and producers can be challenging (see this earlier post) but it is not made easier by teachers being wrong.  "Even Peter had heard of Yquem (which he initially mispronounced, as many do, by leading with the d', which is actually silent."  The name of the Chateau is d'Yquem which means 'House of Yquem.'  She does get the Yquem portion correct ("EEE-kem"), however, the d', while soft and blending into Yquem, is NOT silent.  If you doubt this, click here.  I am, again, amazed Ms. Teague is unaware of this and that she didn't check her information before publishing.

More coming soon in Part III

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