Tuesday, September 28, 2010

We Want the (P)unk

Last night I was pleased to be a part of a special wine seminar. Though I was technically 'working' there, along with my co-worker 'Bill the Cities 97 Wine Guy,' I felt more like a wallflower at an extraordinary show.

The event was, 'The Black Wines of Southwest France,' with special guest speaker Chris Osgood and his partner Adrienne (sp?). Mr. Osgood's name was put on my radar a few years back by a colleague who suggested I meet the man, for we might have a lot in common. It wasn't until last night that I finally had the chance. For those of you who don't know the name, Chris Osgood fills the pages of Minneapolis folklore, some might even call him a local legend. (See: The Suicide Commandos, Springboard for the Arts, Star Tribune Article, McNally Smith). Though he's woven thickly into the fabric of the local arts scene he's also quite a staple in the Twin Cities wine scene as well. As you can read in the S'Trib article, he and his partner are importers of some crafty (big) wines from southwest France. Hence, the reason he was leading the tasting last night.

Malbec is hotter than Hades in New World wines right now (See: Malbec) but if it wasn't for Cahors and the grape formerly known as 'cot,' Mendoza wouldn't mean squat (See also: Negrette and Tannat). Without expanding on personal tasting notes and wine-rating-rants, I can simply say that the wines we tasted were big, and oh so funky. Huge and natural, dark and luscious, herbal and fruity, they gave perhaps one of the best representations I've tried to this day of the definition of 'Terroir'. Chris and Adrienne are passionate about the wines they represent and the people who make them. They boasted about dinners past with their lovely French neighbors, pairings with cassoulet and mushrooms, homemade apple pastries and coffee. I could barely subdue my jealousy of their stories, travels, and gastro-experiences in France, as I felt a yearning for the days I spent in Southern France a few years back. I was awed and inspired, introduced to new wines and new people. When I'm turned on to new wines and regions in France I can't help but dive into the books and resources that surround me, soaking up every little piece of info I can get my hands (and palate) on.

Though I might never be a total French wine geek, I'm excited to be on the beginnings of my way there. At present, I can say that I love the FUNK that I smell in many of France's coolest little wines, and thanks to an old PUNK, Mr. Osgood, my palate, mind, and senses are a whole lot more informed.