A work colleague of Adam's was recently visiting from the Boston area and we invited her over for dinner. It was, truthfully, one of my biggest debacles as a host: I was way behind on the cooking itself and then I dropped a brand-new, entirely full bottle of $45 O& Co. olive oil on our tile kitchen floor...just as I was serving dinner. But sometimes, in my obsession with trying to be a good host, I forget to pay attention to my awesome guests...Melanie reminded me of this when, a week after our dinner, she mailed us a lovely new bottle of olive oil to replace the one I dropped.
Melanie also arrived at our apartment with a bottle of pear wine, which her stepfather makes himself. He also makes his own limoncello and wine. Adam and I actually didn't open the pear wine that night, which I'm not sure followed the proper rules of etiquette. Are there rules governing whether we should have opened it with Melanie or not? Let me know if you have any ideas...
...but we did open it up about a week or two later. It's fairly regular for us to pour a "nightcap" after Bug goes to bed: it's that drink we sip while watching a show or playing a game or chatting with one another. It's a signal that our kid is in bed, we've eaten dinner, and our day is finally winding down. On this particular night we felt like pouring something special and decided to open up the wine.
I wasn't sure what to expect. Something über-sweet, for certain, and maybe a bit syrupy. But I didn't know if it would be very pear-specific or what other flavors I might encounter. The rich golden color was just gorgeous - I loved holding it up to the light. And the flavor? Beautiful and infinitely more elegant than I was expecting; I was also relieved to discover it wasn't nearly as sweet as I had expected. I also got some honey and vanilla on the nose, as well as on the palate. It's a dessert wine, to be sure, but it was just more subtle and light than I thought it would be. In short, it's a new favorite.
How do you score a bottle? Well, you really can't score a bottle from Melanie's stepfather; in fact, I'm conspiring myself to acquire another bottle (or two)! It involves sending Adam up to Boston under the guise of a work project of some sort, buttering Melanie up, and hopefully sneaking a bottle home with him (I kid, Melanie!). But I did find lots of web resources for making your own: this site gives recipes/instructions for making two different kinds of pear wine (one uses raisins and sugar for sweetness, the other uses honey and is more mead-like).
But if you're more my style, then you just want to buy it. Hillcrest Orchards has a pear wine. Honeywood also has a version; I haven't tried their pear wine, but their other wines have proven way, way too sweet for me in the past. And I'm very curious about Maple River's pear wine: they're based in North Dakota, which isn't normally conducive to pear growing but they make it work (but, dear god, they need a web designer). Sounds like a unique wine tasting experience. Lastly, having tasted a few wines from Virginia, I've been rather impressed with what they've produced (see my post about Villa Appalaccia). Brooks Mill Winery in Virginia does a pear wine that I'm particularly interested in tasting. Do you have any wineries you love who do a pear wine (or other fruit wine)?
Eat, drink, and pear well.