Previously, I talked about cleaning, composting, and making fuel with wine. There are still plenty of reasons to keep a bottle or two on the shelf when you don’t intend to imbibe.
A trend at destination spas, you can experience vinotherapy privately at home. Because of the antioxidants present in wine, it is believed to be of benefit for your skin. Use red wine as a facial toner, applied with a cotton ball, or pour a glass of red wine into your bathwater.
Club soda works well for removing red wine stains on carpeting or clothing but you may also want to try using white wine as a stain remover instead. Pour a little white over the red and blot with a clean towel. As an afterthought, you could always tie-dye the stained garment. Using rubber bands to “tie-off” a pattern, warm up a pan of red wine on the stove-top and place the garment in the wine, stirring until the depth of color has reached your preference. Wearing disposable gloves, thoroughly wring the liquid from the cloth and line dry. It’s best to hand wash the garment going forward, until you are satisfied it won’t bleed onto other fabrics. Many commercial dyes contain harsh chemicals, making red wine a “green” alternative.
Fruit flies are bound to show up in your kitchen. They are annoying and difficult to eradicate. Try setting a trap using a glass of red wine. Cover the glass top in plastic wrap, then use a pin to prick a few tiny holes in the top. It’s completely humane when you think about it.
Wine can be used to make a poultice. Yes, a poultice. If you need a definition, here it is. A poultice is a wet mess of something that your grandmother may have tried to convince you to wear that she claimed could cure poison ivy, pneumonia, fevers, anxiety, and low test scores in math. Would it surprise you to know an old wives’ tale claims to use a slice of bread soaked in red wine to hasten the process of healing bruises? Another concoction to be applied to a bruise is a paste made of red wine and crushed parsley. Perhaps this is how salad dressing got its start. Regardless, when considering its versatility, wine can have a place and purpose in everyone’s home.
I first met Etienne Lormand in 1974. He was six years old, just hanging out around his family’s hotel on the sandy beach of Argeles-sur-Mer between Perpignan and the Spanish border. We paid little attention to each other then. Back then, when my wife and I would walk from our beachfront flat down the street to have dinner in the Grand Hotel Lido, we would engage in conversation with Etienne’s father, ususally praising the changes and improvements we noted from season to season.
In recent years, when we have traveled to Argeles, we stay in the Lido, as we have long since sold our little flat and have got to know Etienne and the workings of his remarkable hotel. This past week I focused on his wine selections. A Burgundy here, a Bordeaux or Rhone there, but the jewels are the Corbieres, the Fitous, the Baixes, wines that seldom see anything of the world except the eastern slopes of the Pyrenees and the western shore of the Gulf of Lion.
The grapes are familiar, the same as those in the Languedoc and the Rhone Valley. They are handled casually but affectionately. There are not a lot of bottles in the caves of the Hotel Lido, and few of them would be described as expensive; but they all — red, white, and rose — prove that Collioure and the Cotes du Roussillon are worthy of respect. Nor are they ephemeral. We were drinking eight and ten-year-old Corbieres that excited the palate and tingled the throat.
Under Etienne’s leadership and because of his respect for his heritage, the Grand Hotel de Lido is grand indeed with the local wines it provides with its grand cuisine. Some of those are reaching our shores, so I do enjoy a Picpoul or a Banyuls occasionally at home, and I often think of the Lormands and their good fortune in being surrounded by these wines but also for the love they have for them.
It’s easy to say that white wine doesn’t age well, because that’s the accepted doctrine, a doctrine which is mostly true but which doesn’t allow for exceptions. That’s a truth I was once again privileged to experience.
Hurrying toward an appointment in St-Hyppolite in Alsace, a highway exit sign pointed to Eguisheim, an exquisite 17th-18th century flower-bedecked timbered village completely surrounded by vineyards. We couldn’t resist; we needed a break. Sadly, the old restaurant we once frequented was long-since closed; but happily there was a new tasting room for the wines of Leon Beyer.
I had known Leon and his son Mark years ago but had not been in contact for at least a decade. In the tasting room, hostess Cecilia, in contact with Mark at the winery, urged us to go out there, but our unusual modern time schedule wouldn’t allow it. However, it did allow for the sampling of some real treasures, including a 2007 Riesling and a 2007 Gewurztraniner, both named for a Countess of Eguisheim who had been born in the feudal village castle built in the 10th century. (Pope Leon IX had also been born there in a.d. 1001.)
Both wines were clear enough to look youthful, crisp enough to taste fresh. Eight years in bottle had not discouraged either of these wines. The 1998 Vendage Tardive Gewurztraminer poured out a glistening gold, rich on the tongue, aromatic on the nostrils, and all too loving on the finish. It clearly intends to live a lot longer.
It was hard to leave such wines, especially without seeing Mark, but we know that the Leon Beyer wines grace the tables of great restaurants and retail stores around the world and that we do encounter them from time to time. And now we know we needn’t worry about a few years of bottle age on these wines.« NEWER POSTS | OLDER POSTS »