The wine lover need not know and usually does not care that a peeled ripe peach, pricked 99 times with a fork, revolves slowly in a bubbling glass of champagne. Nor does it matter to him that this is a delectable summer drink called Stachelschwein, “the porcupine,” in the Rhineland, where it is popular. Such knowledge is reserved for the bookworm.
So says H. Gregory Thomas in his introduction to the Wines and Spirits addition to the Time Life Foods of the World series, published in 1968, and titled, “Learning the Joys of Wine, the Pleasures of Spirits.” H. Gregory Thomas has some hefty credibility with me, and not just because of the mysteriousness of his first initial, but because of how he signs off on his 2 page introduction:
Gregory Thomas, Grand Senechal, Confrerie des Chevaliers du Tastevin, Grand Maitre, Commanderie de Bordeaux
This Thomas fellow isn’t screwing around. And neither am I. Because peaches are in season down here in Texas.
I tried out Mr. Thomas’ bookworm porcupine drink with Stonewall peaches, from the heart of Hill Country peach territory and prosecco. And…
…best drink ever. And the only thing more delicious than a fresh, ripe Stonewall peach is one that has been peeled and hanging out in champagne for half an hour. But the peaches didn’t twirl about. The peaches remained stationary. And now I need to know why. I have so many questions that need to be answered.
Does it matter if you put the peach in before or after the prosecco? Are Stonewall peaches heavier than Rhineland peaches? Does that mean they are more delicious? Are Stonewall peaches smaller than Rhineland peaches? Do German sparkling wines have more sparkles than Italian sparkling wines? Did the Thomas fellow ever actually try out his own nerdly anecdote? Do I need to poke the peaches more than 99 times in order for them to achieve the necessary aerodynamic abilities to spin?
Someday, not today, but someday, I will get to the bottom of this. I will know what the essential factor is for the spinning peaches, or I will expose Thomas as a fraud and reveal the porcupine drink as a beautiful myth. It will involve lots of research, many more peach and wine sessions, and a possible summertime trip to the banks of the Rhine.