The hardest thing about working in a wine shop is the fight with the Tasmanian devil of craving. I’m by no means an alcoholic (lest my incessant Instagram posts have you believe otherwise) but so many fun, geeky wines come through the shop that it’s all I can do to not grab a bottle, make myself comfortable and pop that cork.
While working today, The Beatles’ I Want You So Bad came on my Pandora station and within the first few bars, it hit that note of aching want. Sure, the song is CALLED I Want You So Bad, which conveniently fits with the theme of this post, but hear me out.
So, Thanksgiving was great. I had a good time with little company. I find myself getting more curmudgeonly by the day, so it was nice to have an option with little-to-no “new” contact aka being social. That said, I brought a lot of wine to this humble little Jersey dinner (7 bottles, in fact) on the off chance I had to be “nice.” I picked autumn-appropriate bottles (full of spice, herbs and pepper), but I was ready to geek out on my wine pairings. It’s like a high you can never relive: I love the chase of finding soul-fulfilling (if not intellectually-satisfying) food pairings.
The bubbly, unfiltered Malvasia reminded me of Allagash White, which is to say “yum,” while the creamy Roero Arneis was full of baking spices and soft corners, incredibly creamy and the perfect pair to apple-and-sausage stuffing. My favorite, though, which I would pair any day with autumnal meals, is the Pechigo by Sylvain Saux. Made with 100% Carignan, it is my go-to autumn red. In the way that I Want You So Bad is blues-y with a wild riff, Pechigo achieves the same kind of controlled chaos. It is rustic and near-feral, with herbs and garrigue, the Mediterranean shrubland found in the Languedoc and other parts of coastal France and Italy. The biodynamic Pechigo, with its light body, possesses a ton of volatile acidity out of bottle, but oxygen tames its wilder elements. Within minutes, the herbaceous quality morphs into something gamey. Like garrigue, it reminds me of Southern California’s chapparal trails, dry and fragrant. I can’t imagine this red with anything not roasted; its acidity yearns for the earned flavors of slow heat.
My craving for Pechigo in no way measures up to John Lennon basically craving Yoko (which is a whole book on its own), but the song and the weather have struck a tone in me. On a quiet, suddenly chilly Sunday, I want it so bad.