No Substitute for a Good Wine

This past weekend my wife and I traveled with friends and family to the Peak District, and with Spring having just set in, the meadows were filled with lambs and dandelions. The Peak District Tripplush grass was perfectly partitioned into bright green squares by hand-lain stone walls stretching chronologically back in time and spatially further than the eye can see. On the long summer days, the compulsion to stop off in a country pub and sample the local gastronomic delights of local beef cannot be resisted. Peak District TripNor should they be, for the experience of dining on the road is always fantastic. Even if the food isn’t good, there’s always a new crowd, and a local flavour to be absorbed.

On this occasion, we were all lucky to get the finest food, atmosphere and company all rolled into one. My only dismay was that the only wine on the menu was Hardy’s, and so I did Peak District Tripwhat any rational wine lover would do, and gave patronage to the local industry by sampling a pint of the local microbrewery’s ale – Leatherbritches’s Hairy Helmet. Some may feel compelled to scream heathen, but there’s something odd in my mind about mass-production wine that leaves a funny taste in my mouth (other than masses of sulphites and excess sugar), kind of like apple juice that advertises ‘now with 65% apple juice’ I feel that the tricks Hardy’s and like companies must be pulling to get wine in such high volume so cheaply just can’t be good. One just can’t compare Hardy’s to a low production estate vineyard viagra Inde. The law of dining in a foreign place is ‘do as the locals do’ and so I ordered an ale which was really quite delicious and was a fine companion to my tender steak.

Too bad they didn’t have any 2002 Don Nicanor Argentinian Malbec though, because with every bite I could see how the thin fennel and mustard crust on the outside of the steak would compliment the lightly toasted anniset characteristic of the Don Nicanor, and generally being one to order my steak ‘bleu,’ juices would have burst with flavour when met by the dark red fruit profile of the wine, and that knife edge of fruit and earth is all so balanced by the tannin making the Don Nicanor another great steak wine. (Here’s a couple of recipes: and Omaha Steaks)

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed the Leatherbritches just fine… but there’s something disagreeable to my mind about ordering something named after a Viking jockstrap together with my prized steak. Perhaps one of the perils of travel is the further one strays from a city, the more grip big distributors have, and the less able small importers are to make calls out to the more remote locations. Thus, the way things are, the real wine-guy may be loathe to travel, because whether you’re driving from NYC to DC or from Atlanta to Charleston, you’re at peril to stop half way, and almost certainly be forced to pair thoughtlessly produced profit-driven plonk with carefully crafted local cuisine. Until theres a way to get more exotic and better suited wine to area’s that are a little off the global map, I guess I may have to occasionally resort to beer.

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