I organized my first wine tasting last Friday, so I could try three Schandl wines fresh off the container ship from Europe. These Austrian beauties were imported by Oliver Sedlinger, who is not only a well-seasoned imbiber of grape-based beverages, but also able to charm the pants (figuratively, not literally) off women by crooning Chinese love songs.
The first Shandl up was a dry white — a Pinot Blanc (2004) — with a floral nose. If that description is too plain, here’s what schandlwein.com says: “Classic Burgundy bouquet, delicate and spicy, strong on the palate, muscular and harmonic, fruity and racy, spicy until the long finish.” Um, that’s what I meant. Anyway, this one got a thumb up from my new co-worker Andrew MacDonald, who has spent more than little time around Pinot grapes.
The next wine was a Rulander Spatlese (2003), which was slightly sweeter, followed by a Beerenauslese Cuvee (2002), which was sweeter yet and close to ice wine territory. I like my wine dry, but more than a few among our ten enjoyed these last two.
In any case, ten bottles of wine (add in some Soave, Valpolicella, Shiraz Cabernet and Cabernet Sauvignon for an entirely unscientific tasting) and three kilos of cheese had us Shandlerious and fellow guests / that’s Beijing bigwigs Mike and Toni dragged us off to Tango for the magazine’s Halloween party. We’ll forgo details on that adventure.
This tasting was a trial run for what I hope to be more events. Many thanks to Oliver for sharing his wines and bringing over the stereo speakers, to Sherry for buying the sausage and Aussie red, and to Isabelle, Diana, Toni, Lana, Asti, Andrew and Mike for making it a fun evening. Many apologies to American Community Club President / General Funster Shayne who we met on the way out of my building — I had no idea she lived in the neighborhood — and was the unfortunate recipient of a few bear hugs.
For more details on the Shandl wines, email Oliver at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more details on the attempt by Oliver and me to write a Beijing-centric version of Sound of Music, watch this space. For now, I’ll leave you with a work in progress, a version of “My Favorite Things“:
The Temple of Heaven / is an earthly pleasure
The Great Wall, quite simply / there’s nothing that measures
Forbidden City / from Dynasty Ming
These are a few of my favorite things
When the taxi / driver’s snarling / there behind his cage
I turn on my Walkman and just drown him out
While outside the red sandstorms rage
(From Beijing Boyce III, first emailed on November 3, 2005)