The Free Range Gourmet Free range thoughts on the finest ingredients, cuisine, and fine dining in Hawaii.

Range Gourmet

  Local Hawaii ingredients used with an international flair

        ^BNanette^K^H (Gone but not forgotten) 1946-2020


Saturday, January 10, 2004


Market News -- Free Range to the Max

The free range gourmet scored a Blue Lotus chicken at the market this morning. It was killed yesterday. Free range of course. So as long as we are free ranging, what better to have with our dinner than Free Range Pinot Noire?
Free Range wine
Ok, I'm getting carried away. This is a nice wine, though, we've had it before. It was recommended to us by Fujioka's.

Notice that "nice wine" is good enough for me, I don't really know if it has a nose or not, or if it is redolent of lychees with a side of Angostura. It was very reasonable, has a cute name and a pretty label.

Ok, yes, it has been described as "Lush and velvety. Immensely pleasurable ... Red berry perfume with a touch of cinnamon Spice, wrapped in a blanket of subtle French oak."

This amuses me immensely. Go into one wine shop and it will have a blurb like that, go into another and find a different blurb for the same wine. Now, you know you've had wines that didn't measure up, that you didn't really care for. Did the wine shop blurb say "musty, stale aroma, fishy taste on the palate?" No, it was probably that lychee or berry stuff. Sure.

What to do in place of personal experience, the understanding of wines that a true wine maven develops after a lifetime of, um, research? Shall I pick up a wine because I like the label? Should I choose because I'm impressed with the flowery description? Is it better to ask for advice from the shopkeeper or friends? Or to check out one or more of the wine blogs or the recommendations in a newspaper? And how does it work for you?

When I used to commute to Australia or travel to London, I consulted expert friends, the shopkeeper or the wine guide I found reliable. Although I was totally unfamiliar with the wines I would find there, I knew that my wine selection was in good hands and that I wouldn't be disappointed. In time, I learned a bit about Australian wines and began to rely more on my own taste and experience.

Asking for advice works really well, and so why not continue with that methodology? The Free Range Gourmet is not a snob, but a practical fellow.

When I choose a wine myself, without looking it up in our favorite wine book, or without any other guidance, I never do as well. Sometimes I luck out big time, but often I never hope to see another bottle of the same again. This particular "free range" Pinot Noir, complete with chicken on the label, was recommended to us at Fujioka's and we've not gone wrong so far with their recommendations.


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