Sunday, September 26, 2010


For some reason, I have a subscription to Wine Spectator magazine. I have tried to get rid of it, but it keeps arriving.

It stems from when I found an offer for a free issue, or something. I think the deal was that I’d have a free issue sent to me, then I’d get a postcard asking if I wanted to continue. If I sent it back checked “CANCEL,” they’d stop sending me issues. If I didn’t, they’d keep sending issues and eventually bill me.

Either they never sent the postcard, or they sent it and it never got to me, or I received it and just didn’t notice, because the next thing I knew, I had a bill. It’s an expensive magazine, and it’s mainly aimed at people who can afford expensive magazines. There are a lot of tips on building the perfect wine cellar and where to stay in the Alps.

In an ad they run to attract advertisers, they even refer to their readers as “affluent.”

Anyway, I canceled that subscription, and they were very understanding about it. They said I could keep any additional issues I’d received already free of charge, and they’d waive the price.

But I kept getting the magazine. Every month I get another one, and every month I make a mental note to investigate and make sure they’re not going to send me another bill. And every month I forget to investigate, until the following month’s issue arrives.

Anyway, flipping through the most recent one to arrive, I found some recipes. A Napa Valley chef shared some dishes that would pair well with wines. One of them involves boiling spaghetti in wine.

I made it last night. I didn’t want to waste any good stuff to boil pasta in, so I wandered over to Andy’s Fruit Ranch and picked up the cheapest bottle I could find. I wound up with this:2007 Fiorano Montepulciano d'Abruzzo. $5.99.

They say you shouldn’t cook with any wine you wouldn’t drink, but this recipe involves boiling an entire bottle of red wine. That's just too much going into the food instead of into a glass.
As I chopped up the turnip greens and set about the other prep work, I popped open the bottle, and Jen and I took a little swig. It was awful.

Kind of a weak handshake of a wine, with a bit of a septic tank bouquet. I worried a bit; I was going to heat this stuff to boiling and soak food in it. But maybe it would be okay. Maybe it would amount to a tinge of wine flavoring instead of a full infusion.

I pressed forward. Purple pasta, dark green leaves, pale slices of garlic. The Joker’s color palette.It wasn’t bad. A little soft (the pasta should not have cooked as long as it did), and the noodles did contain a trace of what I disliked so much about the wine. But I’m willing to give it another go. Jen and I have discovered a couple of $10 bottles that we like quite a bit. I’m willing to sacrifice a bottle for another try.

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