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food pairing, south african wine

A tangent: South African wine, part three.

I began yesterday’s beautiful, sun-drenched Colorado morning on a heavenly note: a wine and cheese seminar with South African ambassadors (see, typically the actual winemakers are here, but being on the other side of the world, South Africa is in ‘crush’, or, harvest at the moment…).

The seminar took place at the idyllic Garden of the Gods Country Club.  The backdrop alone felt synthetically perfect—a scene of a set for a whimsical movie, what with the surreal red sandstone rock formations sprouting from the earth.  Even Charles Lindbergh once wrote that he had never seen a more “spectacular and magnificent place.”

But it was real.

And so was the fact that I was going to work.  I realized then how lucky I was to call this ‘work.’  Sure, my colleagues and I may not be rolling in it, but we have careers that are founded on passion, and they sustain us.  It is so gratifying, whatever your line of work, to feel a sense of excitement towards it.

I gathered most of my notes and wrote the bulk of my entries from a cute little café in downtown Colorado Springs called La Baguette.  I know, it seems a most unoriginal name.  But this place really did an incredible job recreating the cozy aspects of French imagination.  The French onion soup was divine—a symbol of success or failure, in my book, when assessing the respectability of any  French eatery.  It’s not the cost… it’s the integrity with which they make this deceptively simple dish.  Encrusted with bubbly Gruyere, this delectable soup was just what I was craving, after the foreplay of tasting samples of over ten cheeses earlier in the day.  They served me water with lemon (naturally), a big chunk of bread (they had quite a selection, too, as any French café with their priorities straight would), and a simple Dijon vinaigrette that was fantastic on my simple garden salad.  To top it off, the instrumental French jazz standards interspersed with traditional classical piano music provided a great background to write to.  All in all, a lovely, motivating find.  This may become my cultural safe haven when I have to travel to the Springs for work.

See what happens when I feel inspired?  I rattle on… and on, and on….

If you made it through this ranting, perhaps you might coerce yourself into actually finding out how the cheese/wine pairing went in the next entry?  It only feels appropriate to keep this tangential indulgence in one place.


About mistralwine1982

Originally from Wisconsin, I moved to Colorado in 2005 in order to get closer to the mountains and rock climb. When it occurred to me that I would never make money with that hobby, I went to grad school. I received a masters in English and American Literature from New York University in May of 2009. I have since then opted not to pursue a PhD, for studying and writing about wine is far more fascinating (well, perhaps not moreso than Virginia Woolf, but still… for the long haul?). My favorite wines come from the old world, especially the Rhone, Burgundy, Rioja, Piedmont, and Tuscany. I am also smitten with roses, Italian hard-to-pronounce white varietals, and dessert wines from around the world. By day I run a wine shop. By nite, I sip and tell. It’s rough… but someone must do this.


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