Sunday, April 8, 2012

10. Fruity

10. Fruit

You asked why I love strawberries best?
Maybe it is the sugary taste,

the one that wakes me up in a way
no other taste can. But

it isn't sugar per se, it is
that sugar with its complexity. Sweetness

that bespeaks of more
than a shock to my system. It carries

the the soil: the dark, rich earth
that nurtured it. It is a taste

of the sun's loving gaze, and the rain
that washed it clean and soaked

the skin to bursting. It's sweetness
so akin to love.

Wines are often called fruity, especially if the first taste resembles that of some fruit. That is the reason I drink wine, instead of, say, beer or hard liquors. I have always been a fruit lover. When I was growing up, I would choose the fruit soda -- grape was my absolutely favorite. If my mom made me choose between berries or candy for a snack, I would choose the berries. I even remember one grocery trip when I used all my money to buy strawberries; I must have seemed odd to the kids clutching their chocolate bars. I am a fruit lover, and then, ergo, a wine lover.

But, I HATE sweet wines. It seems crazy, but sweet wines -- unless they are dessert wines -- just make me go "yick." And, as the Drops of God post suggests, to each his own; if you like your wines sweet, please enjoy them for me. It is for that reason that I arrived late to wine. My dad has a penchant for sweet whites. They were like a strange, uncomfortable liquid syrup to me, so I didn't drink. I needed something more than sugar.

That is why I like berries. They are not "just" sweet; there is always something more to them. I think that is why I like dry reds. A good red, to me, is a Malbec. A good Malbec is sweet, but the sweet is softened and molded by the dry. It reminds me of a peak strawberry. It is a lush taste, one that, like a good wine, is complex. It has the sweet, but it isn't the primary component. There is an earthiness to a good strawberry -- I always find that when I go to Texas' Poteet Strawberry Festival. There is a juiciness that isn't sweet, a juiciness more like watermelon. A dry red has that sweetness, but the tannins create depth.

A sweet wine has its place. I thoroughly enjoy sweet wines like Muscat Canelli -- a sweet that tends towards the citrus (another fruit that is balanced due to citric acid's sourness). But I will happily drink a dry red so I can experience the sweetness in a more controlled way. So, bring on the fruit.

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