Feeling wine-ish

It was inevitable: the health-promoting ingredients of wine will soon be available for sale in a dried, powdered form. No glass or corkscrew needed.

Equally inevitable, I suppose, is “diet” wine: delivering the pleasures we expect from a standard white, red or rosé, but to a lesser extent.

When I saw the recent news story previewing nutritional supplement Vinia, my first thought (why didn’t I think of that?) was followed by a second thought: oh, a funless way to consume something I associate with pleasure.


Vinia, the first commercial offering from Israeli biotech firm BioHarvest Ltd., is a resveratrol-rich, non-alcoholic powder made from red grape cells. It’s due to come to market in September, packaged in single-serve envelopes.

(Interesting side note: BioHarvest, founded in 2007 as Fruitura Bioscience Ltd., announced in January it is relocating its R&D operation from Tel Aviv to Albany, NY. The company hopes to produce an array of “superfoods” made from its patented method for growing fruit cell cultures.)

I’ve reacted to lower-cal, low-alcohol wine with similar disinterest. “Lite” wine can be produced naturally, by harvesting the grapes earlier than normal (when sugar levels are low) and/or unnaturally, through chemical manipulation of alcohol levels or even the addition of fruit juice.

The results are slightly-reduced calorie counts and as much as 50% lower alcohol levels. For instance, one producer specializing in “diet” wine, Skinny Vine, says its three products, Moscato, Chardonnay and Zinfandel, contain 85 to 95 calories per 5 oz. portion and have alcohol content ranging from 7.3% to 8.5%. California-based Skinny Vine is owned by Treasury Wine Estates, now the object of a takeover tug-of-war. U.S.-based Skinnygirl offers “lite” wines and cocktail mixes, and some mass-market wine producers, particularly in Australia, New Zealand and South Africa, have created sidelines of low-alcohol wines.

Apparently there are fans of these “diet” wines, and some of them may taste fine. But, to me, altering wine’s natural form and properties to achieve a secondary purpose diminishes wine’s essence.

We justify our enjoyment of the things we ingest by finding reasons they are good for us. Can it be okay not to have a reason?


What to pair with your hard-boiled egg

Have you ever approached your lovely lunch, dinner or snack of perfectly-hard-boiled egg with the question, what the heck kind of wine can go with this?

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. First, do you know how to perfectly prepare a hard-boiled egg?

42 - egg 

This post is really an excuse to promulgate the consummate technique for such preparation. And, thanks to the recent retreat of the anti-fat food police and reinstatement of the egg’s good reputation, surely you are eating eggs again (if you ever stopped).

Julia Child, in The Way to Cook from 1989, introduced me to this recipe. It is not difficult but requires patience and close watching of the clock to time each step properly. Be sure to have that ice bath ready and waiting when you pull the eggs out of their “steeping” water.

Child didn’t take credit for the recipe, which she noted was developed decades ago by the Georgia Egg Commission. (Sadly—because who knows what other excellent tips and techniques may have issued forth from it in the future—said commission was disbanded last year by a vote of Georgia’s egg producers.)

If you can’t access Child’s cookbooks, you can find the instructions here on food.com. A tweak I recommend to the master recipe is to peel the eggs while slightly warm; I have found the shells don’t lift away so easily once the egg is cold.

And, for a slight variation along with shorter sitting time in the just-boiled water, see incredibleegg.org. Note: the original recipe calls for piercing to ¼” the large end of the egg with a needle or pin before placing it in the pot for cooking, while the revised version warns against this step, on the grounds that a non-sterile needle can introduce bacteria into the interior. I’d say, sterilize your needle first and pierce away!

As for that wine, white for sure. I conjure up a beautiful match between my beautiful egg(s)—which I prefer to eat freshly made and still somewhat warm—and a simple white Burgundy. I’m thinking Mâconnais—a Mâcon-Villages, Saint-Véran, Pouilly-Fuissé or Pouilly-Vinzelles.

42 - white wine 

Alternatively, a clean white from Spain, perhaps an Albariño or Godello; a Verdejo or Rioja Blanco.

In any case, a soft, non-grassy wine (I’d stay away from most Sauvignon Blancs) seems the ideal pairing for a late-summer eggy repast. Enjoy!


Wine glass photo credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/dcbauer/3485439452/ Danielle Bauer, http://photopin.com, http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/