Friday, March 09, 2007

Wine Pairing: What to Drink With Yarn

For those who are both wine lovers and knitters, at some point you will face the following dilemma:

You have had a long and difficult day at work (or you have had a wonderful day and feel like a little celebration). In either case, perhaps some grape-derived refreshment is in order. However, you always knit in the evenings. It is how you unwind, so to speak. Also, you have a sweater on deadline. A sweater with cables perhaps, or a tricky bit of shortrowing somewhere. In other words, the wine cannot interfere with your ability to knit. Maybe the yarn is cream-colored, too, and wouldn't look too hot with splotches of your favorite Pinot Noir. There's hand-dyeing, and then there are wild accidents. What are you going to do?

I have your answer. German Rieslings. They are low in alcohol, often complex, tannin free (no headaches, for those who have sensitivities to red wine) and come in both sweeter and drier styles. They have an unparalleled quality-to-price ratio. The drier ones can pair extremely well with food; everything from seafood to your favorite Chinese or Thai takeaway. My husband and I drink quite a bit of Riesling. It is defintely his favorite white wine, and is near the top of my list as well (the only thing that beats it for me is Condrieu -- a wine from northern Rhone made from Viognier).

The only sticking points are that these can be a little hard to find, and the terminology can be daunting. Oh, and if you don't care for white wines, you are out of luck. But for the rest of you, check out this helpful guide to German wines, as well as some of our experiences with Rieslings.

I would even say that the act of knitting is kind of like drinking a good German Riesling (I have to keep saying "German," by the way, because there are some made in other places which, sad to say, do not compare with the real thing). The palate entry is like casting on. You've just started, and although you know what you are making, you don't have a sense of what it looks like yet. As the wine expands on your palate, you start the stitch pattern. The flavors and stitches take shape and show their beauty and complexity. There are some tricky bits, and you don't quite know what you are tasting. The flavors are somewhat elusive, and you're not sure what your pattern is telling you to do either. At this point, you just need to have a little bit of faith. The wine and the pattern will reveal themselves in the fullness of time. Ultimately, you will finish, where the flavors will linger a bit, leaving just their memory on your tongue, and every time you pick up your shawl, or sweater, or hat, you will look back on the minutes, hours and days you spent knitting it, and smile.

Salut (and happy knitting)!


Sarah said...

Since I'm pregnant, I've only had a wee bit of wine here and there...As soon as I give birth, someone needs to hand me a nice chilled glass of Dr. Loosen Riesling...

knitlit kate said...

great post! i love the juxtaposition of wine and knitting. my LYS had a yarntasting not too long ago--how cool is that??