What if I told you that the water you drink is messing with your mind? Or at least your palate? Mind you, when it comes to someone promising me an improved eating and drinking experience just by changing the water I drink, my first reaction is eye-rolling skepticism. Until I put it to the test...Crush just installed a Swedish Nordaq Fresh filtration system, offering cold filtered water, sparkling and still, on tap. In a nutshell, the system filters out all the crap (chlorine, pipe schmutz, and other strange tastes) and leaves the salts and minerals. For a restaurant that wants to walk the local, sustainable food line it only makes sense to stop importing large glass bottles of water from halfway around the world.
The model at Crush is the first in the Pacific Northwest and one of the few on the West coast. Some little dump called The French Laundry has one, too. The story: Drink this water with your meal and your wine, and said food and wine will taste better. Uh huh, right. So just after the system was up and running today, Mary ran me through a quick Pepsi Challenge of sorts.
I got a glass of the filtered water, a glass of wine, and a glass of tap water. I tasted the filtered water before tasting the wine. Cold and delicious, yep, water. The wine, from Saviah, I'd had before, remembering it to be a little heavy for my tastes with a pretty noticeable drying finish. Trying the wine after the filtered water, I found it soft and juicy with a very moderate and smooth finish, almost as if it had age on it. Weird. Then I tried the tap water. Seattle's finest, not nearly as chlorinated or funktastic as most other cities. Then I tried the wine again.
You've got to be shitting me. This was the slightly unremarkable wine I remembered, and it had a definite mouth-drying finish from the tannin that was not there in the first sips. Experiment repeated, results the same (though slightly muted). This filtration system isn't cheap, but will be cost effective in the long run, not to mention make a big dent in the restaurant's carbon footprint in the short run. Crush will sell carafes of the sparkling and still filtered water for a price similar to bottled water. I'm going to grab some filtered water on the way home and repeat the experiment with my own bottle of red and some old pipes.
(**Nope, store-bought filtered water not the same. Nordaq Fresh for certain runs on magical gnomes. Must investigate the science behind this....)