Friday, August 31, 2007

Notes On Smell

I had inaccurately diagnosed myself with a cold. The blocked and runny nose had been sufficient for me to make the assumption. No headache, no sore throat. And no smell.
When you realise your illness is not what you thought and start researching symptoms on the internet it gets quite depressing. I got quite depressed. I can pinpoint the moment when I lost hope. I had just attempted to sniff a packet of kimchi that had been open for too long in the fridge. I stuck my not insignificant snout in the foil bag and whiffed it up. Nothing. The air seemed to pass up my nose and into my lungs but with not even a hint of scent registered. I got as far as the bedroom door with the packet for the SO to confirm that it did indeed smell. With added swearing.
Losing your sense of smell is not taken as seriously by the medical profession as losing one of your other senses would be. Rightly so. In a deli in Southampton a woman at the cheese counter said she would rather be blind than lose her sense of smell. It is a ludicrous thing to say. For sure, an odourless world is a less colourful one but I never sniff the road before crossing it(except perhaps in Sheffield where one has to be sure you aren't getting too close to Bramall Lane).
All those wines waiting for me at home and me without the apparatus to taste. Most upsetting. Doxycycline did the trick. Prescribed on the Tuesday by Thursday I had my hallelujah moment. I had, somewhat autistically, taken upon it myself to sniff everything I came into contact with at my parents. My theory was it is like a type of nose training. Trying to spark my nasal memory. Also my parents house is one of the nicer smelling places in the world. Coffee was the first smell, ground coffee is a fairly strong and distinctive smell though and I suspected I was fantasising and so I turned to the Jasmine Tea. I think I whooped. Then to cloves, to marmite, bananas and peaches. Man the world is a good smelling place. It should be said though that the world also stinks and being acutely aware of smell all the time is not such a great thing. I am starting now to try and not smell everything. To turn off my peripheral odour detection so to speak.

My first drink was a glass of champagne in the massively over-priced Roast. It tasted almost exactly like apple crumble and was delicious for that. I enjoyed the taste of a variety of beers especially Greene King IPA which I have to thank for being low in alcohol and so allowing me to drink far more than I should have.
To write up is a Grand Crus Chablis which went from meh to excellent and back to meh again in one tasting note. I am not sure where I stand on it still. Also two classed growth Bordeaux significant for being rubbish, a 1980 Port significant for making my mam wonder if it was responsible for an upset stomach, a NZ Pinot significant for being Cloudy Bay and a NZ Pinot Gris significant for being surprisingly refreshing and good.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Pieroth Warehouse Sale

This weekend saw the Pieroth Warehouse sale at Ncheese in Apkujeong go ahead as blogged below. It wasn't the easiest of places to find, our taxi driver asked several people before giving up and dumping us next to a garage. Fortunately Ncheese, or Pieroth themselves, seemed to have had the foresight to employ some old dude on a bike to ride around pointing likely looking candidates in the right direction. As he immediately assisted us we must look exactly like the sort of people who would be in the market for wine and cheese. I am not sure if this is good news or not.

The sale was held in a small basement in Ncheese, we didn't really get a chance to scope the whole place but it has a good cellar like feel to it. It felt quite European and so we felt quite at home. The tables were laid out by country with white wines separated from reds and chilled in ice buckets. This meant that some of the wines that had been sitting for some time would have been far too cold to taste. I say 'would have' because I didn't taste anything. I could detect sweet, sour, bitter and tannins but not a sausage else. My long running battle with a summer cold had reduced my palate to that of cotton wool. Very disappointing. To be fair the situation wasn't ideal for a good tasting anyway, small plastic cups and the aforementioned temperature issues would have limited it but it would have been nice to taste something. The SO was my official taster and we put together a reasonable case of 12 without breaking the bank. Needless to say, all the wines she really liked were the expensive ones. A woman after my own heart.

The event itself had issues too. It was a very small room and so finding somewhere to stand and assess was a problem. I like to lean myself and the cellar like walls left a cellar like residue on my shirt. Also, we had the "beautiful people" to contend with. The "beautiful people" wore sunglasses. Inside. In a cellar. The "beautiful people" had their own, impressively large, tasting glasses. The "beautiful people" seemed to studiously ignore white wine. The "beautiful people" seemed intent on keeping me away from the Amarone, the one wine open that I may have had a chance to actually taste(I could, kind of, pretty powerful stuff that elicited an "UFF" of pleasure from SO).

The only other issue really was the salesman we had to deal with. I don't really get on with sales people. I like information not bluster. I like someone who actually listens to my responses. To be fair to him, the minute he described the wines as his and how he would be unable to get anymore in if we didn't buy today he was on a losing streak. Self-aggrandising behaviour is not a method I would use to sell wine. He was clearly on a commission, he insisted we use his name on our order sheet to gain a 5% discount. I am pretty sure we didn't get that. He annoyed both of us on separate occasions through his inability to actually listen to responses to his questions as well. Still, sales people are sales people the world over.

We took delivery this afternoon after a failed delivery yesterday. My request to have a delivery after 1 o'clock was met with no problems. We were 1 bottle down on delivery, I called Pieroth and they were extremely helpful and are sending the missing bottle separately. All in all it was a worthwhile event for us, despite my negativity above. I have a nice varied selection of bottles to write up once I shake this cold once and for all.