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Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Mother's Ruin

Dot is an extremely easy baby. She sleeps for nine hours straight at night (she said, tempting fate), she almost never cries and she's generally speaking a smiley, giggly, scrumptious little thing. But even so, by the end of a day keeping her happy, mummy is jonesing for the one (ish) glass of wine a breastfeeding woman is allowed. So around 6 o'clock most evenings, T offers to hop in the car and pop to Michael's wine shop in Narrowsburg to pick me up a nice bottle of red.

Tonight I wanted to drop in on my friend Anna who's just opened a fantastic store, Nest, there (you'll here more about this anon but basically it's a fantastic assortment of home stuff, toiletries, clothes, books, linens, candles etc. and lots of it is either fairtrade or organic. Dangerous), so I thought I'd go to the wine shop myself. I also had my own agenda: I wanted to see whether Michael stocked organic wine.

Why? Well, last week, I sudennly realized that wine is really heavy so is probably horrendous from a carbon dioxide perspective, especially since we live nowhere near the places our wine is produced (you UK readers are fine - France is just across the pond). So I figured if I was boycotting Mexican Butternut squash, it was a bit hypocritical not to give up the Auzzie and French vino too (god this being good is a Pandora's box).

So we'd been sticking to the slightly less long haul Californian stuff, but I figured we could do better and last night got on Google. I discovered there were in fact a couple of vineyards within 60 miles of here (one in Hunter in the Catskills) so was planning a nice little tasting day trip today, till I discovered they're closed for the week - bummer! Undaunted, I decided to research organic wines. Since organic farming uses half the energy of traditional methods (via Ideal Bite), I figured the same had to apply to viticulture, and apparently I was right (I can't find the evidence now, must have been that glass of wine going to my head so you'll just have to trust me on this).

Hence the Narrowsburg mission. Michael didn't look impressed when I told him what I was after. But to my surprise, he graciously showed me his selection of five organic reds. He said he had them because some people are allergic to the sulphates in normal wine. He shrugged when I asked what he'd recommend - clearly not his favourite section of the store; we settled on Oreleans Hill, a Californian Zinfandel with a hippy-ish label. Thought that way I could do a fun taste-test with the remainder of last night's Zin when I got home (listen, you have to make your own fun in Milanville and oh god, I am turning into my parents). To add insult to injury, I then tried to bring up the topic of local vineyards. Michael was having none of it. "When your palate gets used to a certain calibre of wine, it's hard to go back," he said. "Your husband and I have very similar taste." Which I took to mean, 'if that's what you call wine, you should leave the wine choosing to the men next time love'. Fair enough, good wine is his business but saving the planet is mine, so I'm prepard to try anything once. Well, almost. And you have to agree it's impressive he even had the stuff at all.

I brought Anna and her husband Kelly by and we had our little tasting. The verdict? Oh god, how do you write about wine without sounding like a pretentious twat? Er, in a blind test, I reckon I'd pick the non-organic. But it really isn't half bad and apparently you don't get hangovers from it. So I'll keep working my way through the selection and keep you posted.

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