Imagine you are sitting at a seaside cafe in Nice. The azure blue of the Mediterranean acts as the background, beautiful people sitting at surrounding tables the foreground. The waiter comes by and places a huge, tannic, California Cabernet on your table. I just jolted you out of your revelry, didn't I? This is one example of what Tyler Colman, the web's Dr. Vino, means when he talks about drinking with context.
Tyler recently did a presentation and Q & A session for his new book "A Year of Wine". Unlike Tyler's previous book about the politics and economics of wine, this book is geared towards actually drinking and enjoying wine. The basic tenet the book is seasonal drinking. A wine you find wonderful sitting on your deck in the summer, may not be the perfect quaff while you are in of winter's icy grasp.
This concept of drinking in context also applies to eating. How many times have we recreated some beloved family recipe to have it only disappoint? Was that Salade Nicoise in Provence really that good? Maybe the scent of wild rosemary and lavender just added that tad bit of special sauce to make it so memorable? It seems that we eat with more than just our eyes and mouths, we eat with our minds as well.
So, the next time that dinner is a little below par, be sure to use context to your best advantage. Get out the good table linens, light some candles, put on some great music, and open that special bottle of wine. Dinner will never be more delicious.