— when I was a windy boy and a bit...
that's the start of a famous poem by Dylan Thomas, but having been myself at one point a windy boy, I am reminded in reading this of a time in my career when I set about to learn all that I might about matters of interest spread out far and wide—
which led the spread of course to include food and wine.
I remember the first time I made a terrific mess of a match. I was just learning my way around the vineyards of France, and learning the intricate routes and branches of my own batterie de cuisine.
one night I had my favorite nonhorizontal girlfriend over for dinner at my grad-stoodent digs in Boston. I had recently learned about ginger, which to this day is one of the signature elements that sails forth from my wok or sauté pan (often with a bit of garlic on its breath)...
and I was learning about what goes with ginger; one of these things is honey. And I hadn't become as shy of commercial chicken at that point as I am now, so was quite pleased to concoct a concoction of chicken breasts with ginger and limejuice and honey, and not much else except rice and lima beans, steamed both.
I had also just discovered Sauvignon Blanc. And along with this came the realization that the best SBs come from lands laid out along a little lazy waterway called the Loire... in a far-off wine-producing nation, name of France.
...and so I served a really nice bottle of Pouilly-Fumé from Baron de Ladoucette—
alongside the dish that would coldbloodedly murder it.
imagine the smoky and tart, bracing character of the sauvignon being turned to bitter and angry—the ginger was not at fault, but rather the stuff out of the Pooh-bear jar and the lime. Ouch! One too sweet, the other too acidic... and wine caught right in the pincers’s grippington...
my dinner guest was gracious and patient with me; the friendship survived, and I am proud to say that I have never had such a hazardously wasted wine experience since then—although my career of trial and error still involves much in the way of error.