Monday, January 18, 2010

Nanny's Wine Blend...

I will attempt to tell this story in the most positive way possible, though it will be tough due to the simple fact that my grandmother recently passed away.  She was an excellent cook, and though I appreciated her food immensely as a child, I didn't get a chance to do as many wine and food pairings as I would have liked to.

If I could rewind a few years, I would open a nice bottle of Martin Codax Albarino with her famous rice balls to start out a holiday dinner.  With the shrimp cocktail, we could open a nice bottle of bubbly, maybe something easy like Zardetto Prosecco.  Then while the lasagna, sausage and peppers, and meatballs were heating up, I could decant one of my favorites, a Brunello di Montalcino... but there was just one catch.  You see my grandmother, or nanny, as we called her, did something that is so unimaginable to so many wine lovers.  She would add a little soda to her wine!  Now, when I was just a little boy, this didn't seem to be a problem to me, I liked soda, but as I got older, I did find it quite peculiar.  And when I really started learning about wine and getting to truly enjoy it in my early to mid 20s, I realized why nanny had to go to church every Sunday to ask for forgiveness, what a sin!

A few weeks ago I was talking with her and she told me the story of how she started drinking wine and soda, and she told me, " Sean, my mother used to put the wine in the soda, every night for dinner."  Well, I'm glad that habit was not passed down to my generation (although a few of my aunts still do it, ugh!)   I can only imagine that if she had some better wine to drink, maybe she wouldn't have created such a blend.  Either way, that's just the way it was, and I have learned a great deal from her and will miss her dearly.

I guess looking back, it was better that I saved the Brunellos and Grand Crus for those who had a better appreciation for them, however, I would still open my favorite wine today and let nanny pour her soda in her glass just to enjoy one of her home cooked meals with the whole family again! (the recipe that Nanny's mother created is shared across the world!)

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