December 30, 2010

Tasting Guide 2010

2010 Andre Tasting Guide

Andre, the largest producer of sparkling wine in the world. Owned by the Gallo family, it's also one of the cheapest, silliest, and greatest of wines. While no one knows which André provided the name for this beloved brand, let us consider the ways in which it is like prominent André’s. Like André Breton, it offers a stern rebuke to the staid morality and standards of its day. Like André Agassi, it makes the effete eminently commercial. And like André the Giant, it shows us that even the big guys have heart.

Spumante is the catch-all term for sparkling wine, which sparkles due to high levels of carbon dioxide, caused by secondary fermentation. Enjoyed and valued across the world, it is seen as a sign of good taste, used for special occasions such as weddings, births, and New Years celebrations.

Andre’s particular Spumante resembles sparkling wine in almost every way. The strong astringency and taste of sulphur makes it one of Andre’s more accessible varieties, though awards have so far eluded it. Spumante is best paired with cheez-its or in a mixed drink.

Cold Duck
Wikipedia gives the origins of Cold Duck as dating back to 1937, when Harold Borgman of Detroit, MI (what-what) mixed together the dregs of his barrels with champagne, calling it “Kalte ende” (German for “cold end”), this was modified with time to “Kalte Ente” (“Cold Duck” in German). The rest is mediocre history.

Andre’s own Cold Duck has hints of those dregs, mixed with the unmistakeable Andre taste. There are notes of goose feather, duck pellets, and a fragrance best described as “piquant”. Cold Duck is best paired with red vines, stale bread, or a pack of gum.
Winner of the 2009 Chef’s Best Award for Best Taste.

Barefoot Moscato
The Muscat is one of the oldest cultivated grapes, used across the world in a variety of dessert, sparkling, and fortified wines.

The lone non-Andre wine on the menu, Barefoot Moscato is made from the finest excess Muscat grapes grown by the Gallo family. The Moscato is a sweet wine with notes of orange, lemon, lime, potato and turnip. Moscato is best paired with animal crackers or unicorn tears
Market Watch Wine of the Year 2007
Blush California Pink
Wikipedia describes pink as “a mixture of red and white. The use of the word for the color we know today as pink was first recorded in the late 17th century.”

You’ll blush at the taste of Andre’s own Pink. The nose contains strong burgundy while the midpalette features a hint of ivory. Best paired with neon goldfish
Winner of the 2009 Chef’s Best Award for Best Taste.

Extra Dry California Champagne
Lacking a strong Designation of Origin law such as is in place in the EU, certain wine merchants within the US may refer to sparkling wines from outside Champagne as Champagne under strict guidelines.

Andre’s Extra Dry California Champagne tastes of the San Joaquin Valley—a region known for extraordinary unemployment, a decimated housing markets, and widespread abuse of migrant agricultural workers. The Extra Dry is perhaps the most nervy wine Andre produces, and is best paired with cheezits, goldfish, and a glass of water.  
Winner of the 2009 Chef’s Best Award for Best Taste.

Brut California Champagne
A Brut sparkling wine has less than 12 grams of suger/litre, making it slightly less sweet than the Extra Dry.

Andre’s Brut has the misfortune of being the variety that can least mask the taste of their grapes. Considering that handicap, the bottle should be given extra points, and not simply thrown out as one may be wont to do. Best paired with a shot of vodka, a punch in the ribs, or a child’s laughter.
Winner of the 2009 Chef’s Best Award for Best Taste.

Strawberry Fresa
Wikipedia claims Fresa (Spanish for “strawberry”) is Mexican slang for preppy. “[B]orn in the 60's to define teenagers with a conservative mentality, who didn't drink and enjoyed being from traditional families. During the 80's the meaning changed and became a term to describe the lifestyles of the young and rich.”

Appropriately enough for a wine named after those who don’t drink, this is the only other Andre to not receive the 2009 Chef’s Best Award for Best Taste, However the amount of sugar, food coloring, and artificial flavoring in this make the wine by far the most drinkable. Best paired with animal crackers, cheez-its, neon goldfish, apples, or pork rinds. 


Yels said...

I trust that the results from the tasting will be posted soon? I can hardly stand to wait! Who won??

mysouscalledvide said...

At dinner the other night, I spoke with an extraordinary, seasoned sommelier and he strongly disagreed about the unicorn tears as a pairing. Apparently, the name "barefoot" is a disguised eponym of salamander toes. The Gallo family once owned a salamander farm, but due to economic difficulties and an outbreak of smallpox in the salamander colony, they were forced to become a winery.
The Gallo family highly recommends free-range red salamander toes, which proffer a slightly bitter taste, comparable to that of campari, to go with their highly prized moscato.