By Max Lorenze
Across Europe, wine has a rich cultural significance, coming from centuries of tradition that has imbedded cultural habitus into what wine represents and how people interact with wine. Cultural habitus is the term used by French sociologist Pierre Bourdieu, to represent unique societal knowledge or societal practices that everyone within a community has as their shared identity.
Those of us from the United States may have trouble understanding this view of wine. Wine simply gets rounded into the taboo of alcohol. There is a restrictive thought that alcohol is used only to get drunk. This stems back to the history and effects of prohibition on the identity of American Wine. Prohibition attempted to destroy America’s relatively young wine industry, razing any cultural habitus that could have continued to form. Thankfully, at Lewis & Clark we are right in the middle of one of the best wine regions in the Americas, a region that has adopted Riesling, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Gamay Noir unlike any other place in the new world.
When many access this world they do not know where to go. Most of us know red, white, rosé, sparkling, yet most do not know what separates those from each other, or that many grape varieties often fall in to multiple categories either by themselves or as blends. One of the other preconceived notions around wine is that it is inaccessible on a budget. I will explore how to find good affordable wine and to develop and understanding of what you are drinking.
Wine Recommendation of the week:
Place Swallow, Gewürztraminer 2015: Willamette Valley, Oregon, USA
Portland Wine Merchants-1430 SE 35th Ave, Portland, OR 97214
For this week, my wine of choice is 2015 Swallow Gewürztraminer. I thought it would be appropriate that the first wine I recommend is an Oregon wine. Their grapes are sourced from multiple vineyard sites within the Willamette Valley. Gewürztraminer is a white wine grape that is one of the national grapes of Austria, and it is an extremely tasty and traditional, slightly dry to off-dry wine, similar in taste to dry German Riesling. And like riesling, a dessert wine called Ice Wine (Eiswein) can be made from Gewürztraminer. A dry wine means that it has no residual sugar after fermentation. It is a light, crisp, refreshing wine with tasting notes of green apple and citrus zest. Though I got this wine at Portland Wine Merchants, it may not be accessible for everyone due to its location. This wine pairs well with cheese, offsetting its richness.