Spring cleaning in the summertime? Desperate times (and cluttered desks) call for desperate measures (and a “notes” column)…
• Let’s start with a quiz. Who is credited with the following quote? “Men are like wine — some turn to vinegar, but the best improve with age.” Answer at the bottom of this column.
• According to the Orange County Register, there are 5,000 bottles housed in “The Barrel Room” at Charlie Palmer’s at Bloomingdale’s restaurant, located at the South Coast Plaza mall in Orange County, Calif.
• Speaking of Orange County, not many swallows return to Mission San Juan Capistrano anymore, but there’s still a good reason to visit the south end of the county. Hamilton Oaks Winery has a tasting room in a 1920s farmhouse, where guests can sample wine, unpack a picnic lunch and, if they stop in at the right time, listen to music.
• Ever attend a wine tasting where someone mentioned they smelled a certain aroma in a wine… but you didn’t? There’s a new book out that could help: “The Essential Scratch & Sniff Guide to Becoming a Wine Expert.” Even if the aromas contained therein occasionally suffer from the same affliction as those perfume sleeves included in magazines — i.e., they smell at least a little bit like paper — the humorous prose by author Richard Betts makes this a worthwhile addition to your wine library.
• There is no shortage of wine bars in Chicago, but the only one devoted primarily to Spanish wines is Vera. With around a hundred bottles from which to choose, including 15 Sherries, Vera provides an armchair journey to one of Europe’s traditional wine countries.
• Watching your calories? Who isn’t? So it’s good to know that moderate consumption of wine will not add inches to the waistline. Most of the calories in wine come from the alcohol, and in sweet wines, there’s also some residual sugar that contributes to the calorie count. In general, low-alcohol wines (those with 10% or lower alcohol) have between 70 and 100 calories per 5-oz. glass. Higher alcohol wines (around 14%) have around 125 calories.
• Quiz Answer: Pope John XXIII — a wise man, indeed.