Quercus petraea continues to be my bĂȘte noire. To wit:

As many loyal readers — bless your bones! — of BTYH know, Saturday marks Pizza & Movie Night in our household. The movie comes from Netflix, the pizza from my own hands. We decided that we wanted to watch the “Bourne” series again, so last night it was the first outing, The Bourne Identity, which did not seem quite as stylish as it did in 2002. (Clive Owen, btw, portrays an assassin without a three-day-growth of beard. He didn’t look like himself. I thought that three-day-growths of beard were written into his contracts. If he were playing Mr. Darcy, he’d do it with a three-day-growth of beard.)

Anyway. I needed to find an appropriate wine for the pizza, and what I really wanted was just a nice, simple uncomplicated pizza wine, you know, the kind of wine that I could write up as “a nice, simple, uncomplicated pizza wine” and recommend as Good Value. So I picked up a bottle of a well-known brand of inexpensive Tuscan blends, and there on the back label were the words, “aged six months in French barriques.” Gack! I thought, when did they start doing that? French oak is not what I had in mind.

So, I hefted a bottle of an inexpensive Spanish tempranillo-cabernet sauvignon blend, thinking that it would probably be fine, and there, on the back label, were the words, “Aged 12 months in new oak … for a touch of vanilla.” Criminy! I thought, I don’t want a “touch of vanilla” in any wine, much less a red wine to drink with pizza. “12 months in new oak,” fer cryin’ out loud! Again, that was not what I had in mind.

So, I thought, the hell with it, and I asked LL to get down a couple of the big Riedel cabernet glasses, and we would just go ahead and drink something smooth and sleek and minerally and elegant from California, making this supposition on the fact that we had drunk this particular wine’s more expensive cousin from the same estate last week and liked it a lot.

So we got all settled and the movie started and I opened the wine and poured it and — guess what? — toasty oak up and down, back and forth, in and out and all over the place. All I could smell was toasty oak; all I could taste was toasty oak; and if toasty oak possessed tactile ability, I would have felt toasty oak too.

So, friends, let’s sing the chorus of that classic soul hit along with Aretha:

L-E-S-S O-A-K
Can’t you make your wine that way?

Please, don’t sock it to me.

Oak tree image from oas.com.