Hamming it up

For years now, I’ve been wanting to do a component tasting, the kind where you have bowls of cherries and dirt and mushrooms and rose petals and mint and other elements that can define pinot noir, then sniff them and the wines. By almost all accounts, it’s a great way to learn how to identify these aromas in a wine, for good.

Well, without even trying, I semi-accomplished that goal during the past week. It started with a gathering at our house last weekend, when we cut up and served a buttload of Honey Baked Ham (from the eponymous outlet) on rolls. I didn’t try to see how that worked with any of the wines, although I’m guessing it would have rocked with the always-delicious Pine Ridge Chenin Blanc-Viognier that was on ice but never got opened that night.

So last night, I was sampling some wines, and my way-better half (and often way-better taster) said “this smells just like Honey Baked Ham.” She was spot on.

Not only that, but the Predator Old Vine Zinfandel from Lodi tasted uncannily like … Honey Baked Ham.

The clove and smoke and fatness and residual sugar (honey?) were all there.

I am fairly positive that our brains would not have made that connection if we had not been slicing and eating that same food a few days earlier.

Which makes me more determined than ever to have one of those component tastings ASAP. Might have to go in another direction than pinot, though, since we’re a ways from being able to get at actual dirt here in Tundraland.

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