Pet peeves

I know I’m going to shock you but, I have a number of pet peeves.

You know what I mean — it’s those persistently vexing happenings that drive us to the point of distraction. So, maybe it’s all right to tell you about some of my pet peeves since I assume (And we all know what happens when we assume, hmmm?) we all have these irritating moments.

Allow me to set the scene: It’s lunch time and I enter a restaurant desiring a nice comforting meal. I’m not seeking a five star dining experience — just a nice hot dish of food to get me to the next meal. I place my order, wait with my cup of coffee and then it happens.

A plate of nice looking food is placed before me and I take my first bite of it. Here it comes: Pet Peeve No. 1! The food is cold! Not even warm — cold. It ruins my experience and I’m not pleased. Naturally the server is notified, an apology is given and the situation is corrected. But it happened and it nags me.

Another example: I was attending a planning meeting focusing on future collaborations between differing groups. The meeting was going well until one person began to tell the rest of us how to get along with each other. He had all the answers, the tactics, the tools and the thoughts. If you know everything, sir, why did you ask us to participate? Mr. Know Everything is my Pet Peeve No. 2! Please, sir, let the door hit your posterior as you leave the room.

What calmed me down was a Somali gentleman who, when asked for his opinion, very quietly and modestly said: “I am new here and I should listen more than talk.” Wow! I can work with that man.

OK, it’s time to take a breath and relax with a proper glass of wine and, in this case, proper means the wine is at the right temperature. However, if it’s not the proper temp, Pet Peeve No. 3 raises its ugly head.

To use a very simple analogy, what’s your reaction when you enter a room that’s uncomfortably cold? You are not at ease and your skin keeps reminding how cold you are and you can’t be all you should be because of the cold. Same thing with a wine.

Full bodied red wines are typically meant to be consumed when they are between 60-65 degrees. Therefore, the Light Horse Cabernet Sauvignon I’m having with supper will be around 65 degrees. Why? Because the wine is made to aromatically open up and be fully tasted at that temp. Normally the heavy reds are complex (meaning multiple levels and kinds of tastes) and the warmer temperature allows this complexity to reveal itself and to warm your soul.

And by the way, the owners who make this Light Horse wine (California’s Jamieson Ranch Vineyards) give a portion of their sales to humanitarian causes and that’s always a good thing.

If you’re a merlot fan, that beverage should be consumed when it’s between 50-60 degrees. Recently I had a glass of William Hill Estate Winery’s Merlot and made the mistake of opening the bottle too soon. It had been in a cool area and I failed to properly warm the bottle prior to drinking it. I immediately knew of my mistake because the wine tasted very thin and tasteless. It needed warming and, again, if you’re a merlot fan, try this wine. It’s superb — just don’t make my mistake!

Now let’s talk about wines that need cooling.

Typically, white wines need to be served at a cooler temperature than red wines. For instance, Riondo’s Prosecco needs to be presented at a cool 45 degrees. That allows the crispness and acidity of the wine to pop in your mouth. Indian Island Winery’s Prairie Wind is a semi-dry white wine that needs to be sipped at between 45 to 50 degrees because that temp opens up a bit of sweetness but not too much.

Rieslings need to be served cold and I like them to be served at about 40 degrees. Again, Rieslings are an acidic wine and the coolness gives the crispness and the sharp finish a chance to sparkle. A Sauvignon Blanc needs to hit your table at about 50 degrees — cooler than that and the subtle taste of the wine is lost. Warmer than that temperature and it tastes mushy. The Edna Valley Sauvignon Blanc I just drank was perfect and the delicate grapefruit and lime tastes of the wine were amazing.

To make things simple, let’s remember that white and sparkling wines need to be served cold. Full bodied whites need to be a bit less than room temperature and full bodied reds need warmth.

It’s like being in that before mentioned cold room — when you’re comfortable, all’s good with the world. When things aren’t comfortable that’s when my infamous pet peeves come into play.

Remember the Somali gentleman I talked about earlier? I look forward to having a cup of coffee with him. Oh, coffee — don’t even let me get on the subject of when I’m served hot coffee that is poured into a cold cup! There are other words for that experience…

Next week, let’s take a trip.

As always, eat and drink in moderation but laugh with reckless abandon!