Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Wine, Wine, Wine

I admit it. I’m a wine lover. No, I’m not one of those true wine lovers who keep a second refrigerator just for my wine. And I haven’t even considered putting in a wine cellar, or renting one yet. But nothing finishes off a day like a glass of aged grape juice. I mean, I write about murder, mayhem and sex, so I’m worn out by the end of the day. I need something to help me wind down. And what better way to do it than by sipping a glass of wine?

This isn’t new for me. I’ve been enjoying my glass of something red in the evenings for several years. True, I’m mostly a red fan. Now, I can appreciate a good Chardonnay. But I’ll go for a red before a white most every time. And it’s not about what I’m eating. It’s that warm finish I get from a really layered and complex glass of Cabernet Sauvignon. However, this last year, I’ve experimented and stretched my wine pallet.

We joined WineStyles, a wine club here in Spring, Texas, where we go and taste some of the finest wines from all over the world. For a monthly fee, (a very reasonable fee—remember, I’m married to a very frugal Scottish guy with short arms and deep pockets) we get two bottles of nice wine, at a reduction of the original cost. So I’ve spent a lot of time sipping, savoring, and sampling some pricey bottles. Much to my husband’s concern, some of them I’ve really liked.

“How much is this?” I’ll ask my WineStyles attendant pouring the tastings. I never ask unless I like it. And if it’s over twenty, my husband’s brow wrinkles. If it’s over thirty, it brings out a full-fledged frown. If it’s over fifty, he reaches for his chest. For those bottles over a hundred, I just wake him up from his dead faint when it’s time to leave.

Ahh, but the truth is that some of those pricey bottles of wine have left me wishing I had a spit bucket like in the Sideways movie. Basically, wine is a lot like art. What appeals to one person may not appeal to someone else. And price isn’t always the best way to judge the quality of a good wine. Or shall I say, price isn’t always the best way to judge the wine that appeals to me. Unfortunately, my hubby will tell you that “inexpensive” isn’t the best way to judge my pallet either. Poor fellow, it’s hard being married to a wine lover when your tastes runs more toward Strawberry Boones Farm.

However, being a writer and a lover of words, I’m big on the wine names. If a name of a wine draws my attention, I’ll pull it from the shelf and read the label. Not that reading the label does a whole heck of a lot for me.

For some reason wine makers like to add things like…It brings to the pallet the flavor of grass. Or things like…a finish with tobacco, earth, and sweet oak. Maybe it’s just me, but some of those descriptions turn me off. It’s been a while since I’ve gnawed on a blade of grass, chewed tobacco, or ate dirt. And I wouldn’t know the different flavor of a sweet oak to a sour one. I just know what I like. But needless to say, I’m still drawn to wines with usual names. And if they aren’t in the bad expression to the fainting price range, I’ll give them a try.

Last week, I brought home three bottles: Bitch, Ass Kisser, and Working Girl White. Can you tell what kind of mood I was in? Yup, I’m working on Blame it On Texas. Book 2 in my Hotter In Texas trilogy from Grand Central/Forever. (Look for Don’t Mess with Texas on August 23rd!) And let me tell you, there are some funny scenes and I was in a pretty humorous mood.

Thankfully, none of these wines puckered my husband’s brow with their price tags. And they all turned out to be enjoyable wines. However, for what it’s worth, I did rate them.


Because I like a bold red, with lots of fruit flavors, and a nice finish, my number one, the favorite of these was . . . pucker up for this one: the Ass Kisser. It’s South Australian--this wine is 59% Shiraz and 41% Grenache. Anyway, Ass Kisser has lots of fruit flavors, it’s bold, and to me, it has a hint of chocolate. Now you see, I know what all that tastes like.

My second place winner of the three was Bitch. And the name sounds better if you say it from deep in your throat and with meaning. This one is a product of Spain, Grenache Aragon. It’s sweet, light, and has notes of strawberry and raspberry.

The third place winner, and it may not be fair because I am a red wine lover, was Working Girl White. It’s 60% Chardonnay and 40% Riesling, which makes it very smooth, sweet, and refreshing.

So, there you have it, a little wine education from a not overly educated wine drinker. So . . . do tell. Do I have some wine drinking readers out there? What’s your favorite wine? Are you a real connoisseur or just know what you like? Is Boones Farms your choice of grape juice? Come on, share—especially if you have a great wine with a funny or unique name.

CC

27 comments:

krisgils33 said...

I've had Bitch and Working Girl White, both are quite nice. I'm a white girl myself and my favorite wine right now is Conundrum. Which also happens to be the name of the town right before you cross the UK-Scotland border on the way to Edinborough. So, even though it's about $30 a bottle, your hubby might like that! :-)

TerriOsburn said...

I want to be a wine girl, but I've never found a wine I could stand the taste of. Grant it, I've never done a major tasting for research purposes either. I like sweet things so people told me to try a reisling. I tried, spit it out, and poured the bottle down the drain.

This Bitch one sounds good. I wonder if they have that at Farm Fresh. LOL!

Sheila said...

Hi Christie, I'll have to try the Working Girl White. Tried the Fat Bastard. He's kinda bitter. Wonder if it's 'cause he's fat or a bastard? Things that make you go 'Hmmm'.

Raven

Christie Craig said...

Hi Krisgils33,

Ahh, another wine lover. Great. I'll have to check out Conumdrum. Hmm, $30 bucks is almost in his scowl range. LOL.

Thanks for stopping in.

CC

Christie Craig said...

Terri,

I hear people say that it's an acquired taste. And it's true, I didn't start out liking Red wines. I started with a rose and moved to white and then to reds. So maybe they are right. But it wasn't hard to get start liking it.

Oh, the other hand, I'm not a beer drinker at all. And people have told me that it's an acquired taste as well. And . . . ugg... I've yet acquire a liking to it.

CC

Christie Craig said...

Sheila,

I was going to try Fat Bastard. Someone said it was pretty good. Hmm, you think it's bitter, huh? I might have to do that test myself.

Thanks for stopping in.

CC

Francyne said...

Loved the blog, but can't add to the wine-education level. I don't drink wine...makes me sneeze.

Meb Bryant said...

To mangle Shakespeare, "Would a Riesling by any other name taste as sweet?"

On Valentine's Day years ago, I bought a bottle of cheap champagne. My husband and I had an argument and he refused to drink with me. So, I drank by myself. Since I usually don't drink, he was surprised that I drink the ENTIRE bottle. He asked, "Are you buzzing?"

I thought the question was silly and began to buzz like a bee. I "buzzed" for an hour. He finally started laughing and Valentine's Day ended well...I think.

Moral of the story? Drink like a camel, buzz like a bee.

Christie Craig said...

Hi Francyne,

So I guess your wine pallet runs more toward Welch's, huh?

Thanks for stopping in.

CC

Christie Craig said...

Hi Meb,

You and my hubby would get along just fine. He loves cheap champagne.

Thanks for stopping in.

CC

Sarah said...

I'm definitely more of a white wine fan and since I grew up in the Finger Lakes region of NY I have an affinity for Rieslings. My favorite winery in NY is the Three Brother's Winery. They have three separate winery's on the property. You get the snobbish Stoney Lonesomes (which are still fairly good priced, under $20ish per bottle), but then you get the other two, which are way more fun, the Bagg Dare- with titles like Well Hung, Poor Limp Richard's and Ride'er All Night; and the Passion Feet- with titles like Backseat Bounce, Flirtation and Scandelicious! (all around $15). They also happen to have a brewery on site too, which my husband really liked. They had a very unique Riesling Ale, which he thought was very good. It's probably a good thing I live in Nevada now, since they can't ship here. I would buy from then all the time! :)

Sandy said...

LOL I laughed so hard over this blog, CC. I'm one of those wine drinkers who knows what she likes.

Christie Craig said...

Sarah,

I love, love those names!!! Can you imagine making up a basket with Well Hung and a few romance novels? LOL.

And I love that their snobbish labels wouldn't leave my hubby in a dead faint. LOL.

Oh, I'm not in Nevada. I wonder if they'll ship to Texas. I'll have to check them out.

CC

Christie Craig said...

Sandy,

I know what I like, too. Wish we lived close enough to share a bottle. I love holding blind tastes tests. We've done that with our neighbors. Funny thing was the most expensive wine didn't win.

Thanks for stopping in.

CC

catslady said...

I've never heard of those wines and had no idea there were such names lol. My husband's uncle is a connoisseur - sniffs the cork and all that and has the pockets to buy what he wants but also finds inexpensive wines. Cabernet savignon is definitely my favorite but it's not something I enjoyed right away. My grandfather use to make is own wine -he was Sicilian. Unfortunately he passed not long after I came of age but I'm sure I would have enjoyed it now.

TessStJohn said...

Great post.

Christie Craig said...

Hi Catslady,

Ahh, we could share a bottle of cab!

I've never actually sniffed a cork like they do in the movies. I might have to try that. LOL.

I'll bet your uncle's wine was great.

Thanks for stopping in.

CC

Christie Craig said...

Thanks, Tess!

Come back often.

CC

Donna Marie Rogers said...

I've never been able to stand the taste of wine, though to be fair I haven't tried all that many. I tend to like a yummy tropical drink. And my adult beverage of choice is Seagrams Jamaican Me Happy coolers. LOVE those...LOL

Already have my copy of DMWT pre-ordered, Christie! :-)

Linda Warren said...

Christie,

My husband buys his wine at Sam's and it's always a red. He has a glass every night at dinner. Me, I'll drink a glass at parties but that's it.

Right now I could use a glass of Bitch. I may have to buy that just for the name.

Linda

staceyapurcell said...

I'm a red wine girl myself....forgot too many nights and got sick one time too many in college on white wine. It's never been the same since. Imagine that.
I love a good Cabernet but lately have been into Malbecs. My favorite is Dona Paulo from Argentina. Luscious with a smooth finish!!

Christie Craig said...

Okay, Donna. We've just found the thing that makes us different, that we can argue about. LOL. Actually, I'll drink any yummy tropical drink with you any time. LOL. I really like the kind that comes with an umbrella. It can be almost any flavor, I'm not really picky if it’s made with rum or tequila, but I want my umbrella.

Thanks for stopping in. And I hope you enjoy Don't Mess With Texas. I have had a blast writing it.

CC

Christie Craig said...

Linda,

I'll join your hubby in a glass of red wine at night. And the Bitch wine is pretty good. I'm with you, the name alone makes it a gotta-buy item.

Thanks for popping in.

CC

Christie Craig said...

Stacy,

You? Drinking a bit much? I can't imagine it. LOL.

I'll have to try the Don Paulo. I went to a tasting with Argentina wines. They had a Merlot that was out of this world. I've been bugging WineStyles to get in in.

Thanks for visiting.

CC

Kristi said...

I'm partial to red wines too. The sweeter the better for me. My favorite is Fat Frog Red. It's by Montezuma Winery in the Finger Lakes region of NY.

Christie Craig said...

Kristi,

Fat Frog, huh? I love that name, too.

Thanks for stopping in.

CC

delanceystewart said...

I love this! If I'm the right mood, I buy either on name or strictly by label... I've moved into the darker atmosphere now (from the animal-dominated labels of my youth). There's one called Phantom from Bogle that I love, and believe it or not, Dave Matthews is making great wine under the label Dreaming Tree... Aw, heck. I just like wine... :) Oh and amen to Krisgils33 - I love conundrum and just found that they happen to make a red as well!