I am and always have been a beer drinker. And, with the advent of local brew pubs, I am in my glory. But, I have also quaffed my share of wine, and that has not always been a good thing. Back in my early post pubescent days, when experimenting left many scars, many from banging my head on the toilet bowl, I was introduced to wine. The earliest being a bitter concoction brewed by my Italian neighbors made from dandelions. It was terrible, but did possess one quality. It was free because we had lifted it from my best friends grandfather. However, being of a masochistic age, I pressed on to the elixir of the hardcore imbiber, muscatel, and from there to the champagne of the down and outer, Mogen David 20-20 which we lovingly referred to as Mad Dog.
That thankfully was a few years ago. About 60+ actually. Since then, I have recovered and refined my taste somewhat. Although I have not drunk a lot of wine since then, at company functions, I would usually confine my alcohol consumption to a glass or two of Chablis while watching those that, after a few cocktails, gave in to the impulse to dance on a table while making snide remarks about management which often resulted in a stunted career.
But enough of history. Today, I actually enjoy a little wine. I do not however, enjoy paying high prices because something is old. I’m old, and no one is recognizing an increase in my value. So, I have set out on a quest to find vintages that I like as long as they cost $15 or less.
The first quandary in my selection process was ‘cork’ or ‘cap’. This had to be a carryover from the early days when a quality bottle of wine had to have a cork. I mean, have you ever seen a movie where they popped a twist top? I didn’t think so. However, I have now reconsidered the value of a cork, since I have found several wines that I like that do not have one. I’m not sure however, how much this has to say about the vintners as it does about me. But, I am the customer, right?
So where does this bring me. Well, I have sampled (sampled being a subjective term) several bottles of both reds and whites. I can’t say I am a big fan of Pinot Noir or at least, not one that I can just drink without disguising it with food. On the other hand, I can sip and enjoy a glass of Merlot, now that I have sorted through several labels. As for whites, I lean toward Chardonnay or Pinot Grigio. The winnowing process has been intensive, accompanied by a lot of laughs and a few headaches, but hey, most discoveries are not without some sacrifice.
So, after my extensive research I leave you with the benefit of my experience which, while not particularly extensive, does provide some sage conclusions and/or suggestions, as follows”.
- If it comes in a box, or a jug, you can probably do better.
- If the age of the wine displayed on the bottle is a month instead of a year, you may want to select something else.
- If there is evidence of pieces of grape floating in the bottle, it probably is not going to be particularly pleasing to the palette.
- Aged in a metal drum is not a good thing
- A ‘buy one, get two free’ is probably a tip off that you don’t even want to cook with it..
- When the bio states that it contains ‘notes of pomegranate and eggplant’ you may want to look elsewhere.
- If it is advertised as a ‘versatile blend’ it probably means the vintner doesn’t know if it a light red or a dark white.
- If when swished it sticks to and coats the inside of your glass, you may want to reconsider your choice.
- Beer drinkers should not be fooled if, when pored, your wine has a head on it.
- If, after one glass, you are proud of the fact that you can lay on the floor without falling off, you should probably try something else, like an ambulance.