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Eugene Weekly : Wine : 10.6.11

Gasoline and Wine

Fueling political fires and harvest bounties

By Lance Sparks

“Dang me, that barn’s burnin’,” said Voter One, “and that Obama feller cain’t seem to put it out by hisself.”

“Yup,” said Voter Two, “but look yonder. They’s a buncha other folks, wearin’ elephant hats say GOP on ‘em, got theirselves a bucket brigade.”

“Yessir,” One came back, “but looks like ta me that they’s fillin’ the buckets at the gas pumps. Reckon we oughtta he’p?”

“Shore ‘nuff. Lez go get inta thet brigade, lend a hand. Oughtta have this fire out in no time.”

We certainly are living in interesting times, aren’t we? Of course, anyone who reads history very much can point to repeated patterns of peoples and nations who seem to put themselves onto paths leading directly to disaster, then track the trail in lockstep, right over the cliff’s edge, along the way trampling anyone who tried to turn back the stampede. War, Famine, Pestilence and Death: When the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse saddle up and lash their lanky steeds into full froth, there seems no turning back until the few survivors trudge through smoldering ruins.

What’s especially strange is that these macabre thoughts plague me while I stroll through Farmers’ Market, agog at the bounty our farmers and our beautiful country have produced: stacks of glowing carrots; vibrant lettuces, kale, basil; luscious heirloom tomatoes; blue-, black-, boysen-, straw- and huckleberries, along with plums, apples, golden pears and purple figs; cukes and zucs and other squashes — summer, pattypan, delicata, acorn, butternut, kabocha, and huge, grey-green hubbards; great piles of peppers, some sweet, some hot, reds, yellows, purples; precarious stacks of beets and bodacious corn; spuds — Yukon golds, reds, purples, fingerlings; aromatic garlics, onions, shallots; melons — honeydew, cantaloupe, watermelons. I’ve hardly begun the catalog, can’t begin to list all the breads, pastries and flowers. I reel in the scent of roasting peppers and fresh coffee. I revel in the giggles of children and the blues riffs of Eagle Park Slim. So much, such beauty — who can think to sacrifice all this on the altar of whatever mythology?

Better have some good wines to catapult those lively provisions:

Veggies love Rieslings. Don’t believe it? Try Pyrenees 2009 Riesling ($18). Made by the hugely talented Terry Brandborg of Elkton, this wine is dry but bursting with fruit -— think ripe pears and apples, with stony undertones — with enough acidity to stand up even to such volatile veggies as, say, a medley of sautéed sweet peppers and Walla Walla onions.

While you still can, find a bottle of Giuliano 2009 ($20). The juice of five white grapes were vinified and blended by John Paul of Cameron Winery (Dundee) to create a dry white startling in its complexity — layers and layers of fruits and minerals — and immensely satisfying.

Even after Labor Day, pink is nice: Muga 2010 Rioja ($14) is a lively, dry rosé that offers depth of flavor -— a mouthful of red berries and spice — flawlessly balanced, just the wine for harvest feasting.

Just into the market and almost gone already, Evesham Wood 2010 Pinot Noir ($18) has pinot lovers all a-babble. Even though the great Russ Raney has sold Evesham Wood, the new owners have found at least some of Raney’s magic — flavors that capture the pinot noir character and finesse, pretty color, fine balance. Sockeye salmon, I’m thinkin’, with roasted fingerlings, uh-huh.

Lovely wines, yummy foods, moments in simple, blissful life — does war sound better?

Voter One: “Dangme, I jes’ shot maself in the foot.”

V2: “Better shoot t’other, lest ya limp.”