Friday, June 25th, 2010
141

How To Face Down the Wine List and Win

OMG ALL THIS WINE HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO CHOOSE

The more you run, the more it's gonna chase you. And odds are you look pretty ugly when you run. So quit being afraid of wine!

Remember Franzia? Night Train? Boone's "What Exactly Grows on This" Farm? Remember the winos in your back alley? There's a reason they were called that. They drank more wine than anybody. The stuff that the guy who thought his trucker hat was a salt shaker slurped with the leftover Italian beef you gave him twice a week for lunch. Seemed like he had all the answers. So what happened to you?

A few years go by, you've got a couple degrees on your armoire, you move to the city. You say and purchase "armoires." They call you "sir" (men) or agree to mix the Splenda into your beverage (women) at Starbucks. You start eating tapas. You actually understand itemized deductions. And you're afraid of wine.

You used to listen to Kenny Wayne Shepherd, and you're afraid of wine.

Maybe because that leatherbound book your server slaps on the table seems to have the same heft as the last term paper you had to write. Except, this isn't an assignment, and if anyone's being tested, it isn't you. It's your restaurant. Your server. God help you, your sommelier. Yet, just like that term paper, there's one truth to that wine list you're so terrified to negotiate: it's full of baloney.

And it's meant to be, actually. Because unless you're lucky enough to eat at a restaurant where the list is one clean, thoughtful page of bottles, with several affordable choices by the glass and maybe even a couple cool cocktails and homemade sodas on the back, the whole point is that you'll need to admit you know nothing. Good luck having the cojones then to turn down their recommendation. Good luck leaving with your cojones.

It's easy to convince yourself the wine's good once you get it, as you sit there wondering what the heck you're supposed to do with the cork (answer: nothing) and what exactly you should say after the first half-ounce pour as the steward stands there staring at you like you've grown an extra head (answer: anything, though I prefer, "Do you do your eyelashes?"). Sparkling water never gets this kind of attention.

But was this really what you wanted, to be bossed around and spend a lot of money to drink something you might not like? Are you enjoying yourself at all?

YOINKS!What you reasonably may not realize is that the big wine list, the ritual, this general sense of unease–you asked for it. It's not there for them. It's all there to remind you you're at a restaurant. You're eating in public. It's giving you bang for your buck.

If wine directors had their way, you'd see simpler, often local, small-batch wines (I'll save that list for another time–in general, if the varietal sounds like a strain of staph, and it's under $50, order it). These wines are almost always better with food. They're almost always flat-out better. We're talking wines from southern France or Loire, Austria, Spanish wines from Washington, the whole of northern Italy. Things with no region at all, labeled vin de pays, IGT, D.O.

Plus, they're cheap, and no matter how you feel when you have to split the bill on two of your own credit cards at the end of the night, most of these guys aren't making any money. I've had enough after-hours "sessions" with so-called sommeliers to know that after all the blind tastings, service classes, and Aubrac horn corkscrews, they all like to do the same thing: get hypothermically drunk on whatever's around, eat tacos, and have sex. (Master Sommeliers can do this in reverse order.) It's the only way I've ever seen it done.

Sorry if I've shattered your fragile Friday nights, but hopefully you'll jump through that broken glass. You now have license to walk into any restaurant and toss out half the list. Start with the even-numbered pages; I find this paper useful for kindling.

WHAT A BIG LIST! INTIMIDATED?Almost without fail, the second page of every section is full of bin numbers they've got to carry for the rich folks. Here you'll often find your back-vintage Bordeaux and all that garbage from Napa that's usually too heavy for your meal. They're show wines really meant for some cheese, maybe plain buttered pasta, or just drinking barefoot in a cold, concrete cellar. Stop ordering them.

The less you worry about these wines, the less your server has to. You're doing them all a favor. Before your dad tells you how you're going to ruin it for him and all his golf buddies, understand that there are most likely only four to six regulars at his favorite restaurant ordering the good stuff. They pay for most of the business. You ordering an '82 Lafite every third Valentine's Day does not.

What to do with the rest of the list? Be honest about what you want, and ask. If you don't know what to say, say you like "esoteric" wines. Or mention what you like to eat. Not the foie torchon and fish egg staircases-not what you'd eat here. Tell them what you eat for lunch everyday. This is who you really are. Pizza? Then they've got some dolcetto for you. Lamb shawarma? Peep the pinot and syrah. Fish and chips? Chug this muscadet.

Comfortable spending $50? $25 and under? Good. Because now you're in the sweet spot. These are the wines that the hot, nerdy redhead you're talking to actually helped pick out. Odds are, they're also the ones the staff drinks at family meal.

Now, sometimes you're just out of luck. You've gone through the motions, tried your hardest to be honest, but you're not getting anywhere. You've followed my directions, ordered a wine, and still feel like you just made change in the collection plate. Truth is, some servers are jerks-upsellers and know-it-alls out for a tip they think they very well deserve. Whatever you call them, they (and the owners who encourage them) have no place in this business. They're the reason you had to read this column in the first place.

So, when everything goes wrong, when in doubt, just ROCK. That's right; I came up with an acronym for you.

It goes like this:

Riesling.
Oregon.
Costieres (de Nimes).
Kermit Lynch.

There is at least one wine among these four labels on every decent winelist in the world, and the wine almost always go with your food.

● Riesling. If you're completely lost and looking for a white, pick up the most affordable Riesling on the menu, preferably from the Mosel. These medium-bodied whites come in a range of sweetnesses. To play it safe, pick up either the Kabinett or Spatlese. Often, the cheaper it is, the drier (and more appropriate for your food). Whether you're having salad, grilled mahi, chicken or porchetta, a decent bottle of riesling will invariably get you through your meal.

OREGON: WHY YOU DRINK IT● Then comes Oregon. Yup, the entire state. Because no place in the world makes such a universally food-friendly smattering of reds and whites. Whether a fuller bodied Dundee Hills pinot noir, a lighter, fish-friendly style from a winery like The Eyrie, or an incredible Austrian-influenced "field blend" white, you'll be hard-pressed to find an occasion when something from Oregon won't work. They've even started making amazing sparkling wine.

● Costieres de Nimes, a little off the beaten bath, straddles akimbo on the southern coast of France between the Rhone and western Languedoc. They tend to take the ripe, floral fruit of both regions without the gritty texture. They taste fancy and unabashedly delicious. When you ask for that "esoteric" wine I told you to ask for, this is usually what you'll get. As particular as it is, it's the trendy wine among tasting circles right now, the way Spanish garnacha was a few years ago. Which means, in a few years, you either won't be able to afford it or you'll never find a decent one again. But right now, they're all good.

● And, lastly, Kermit Lynch. He isn't a wine at all, actually. He's just a lovely old man in the middle of Berkeley, California-a man whose life's mission has been to import well-crafted French wine that he would like to drink. When it comes to importers, few have a palate as generous and welcoming as Kermit's. It won't be noted on the menu-you'll have to ask-but if all else fails, see if they've got anything Kermit brings in. Even if they don't, your server will immediately understand the kind of wine you're looking for. You might even end up with a free glass of grappa at the end of the night.

And if anyone ever, ever looks at you sideways while you're choosing a wine, give him the finger-and then leave and go grab a hot beef dip with your beau. The taste of sweet, beefy jus and peppers on your date's lips is about as good as it's ever gonna get anyway.

Nilay Gandhi is the proprietor of the excellent wine blog 750 mL; he even gives personalized wine pairing advice on request.

Sponsored posts are purely editorial content that we are pleased to have presented by a participating sponsor, in this case Gillette; advertisers do not produce the content.

Photos (in order) by dizablah, mastermaq, underexpos and drcorneilus, from Flickr via Creative Commons.

141 Comments / Post A Comment

cherrispryte (#444)

Knowing far more about clear liqours than I do of wine, I found this to be incredibly helpful.

mrschem (#1,757)

CS, where is your avatar? I feel kind of lost without it.

cherrispryte (#444)

it's gone for you, too!? I just thought my work computer had done something wonky again. Oh, dear.

mathnet (#27)

Think I'll shave my legs before I start drinking. (I totally clicked! Thanks, Gillette!)

jfruh (#713)

Look, just order the second-cheapest wine that's the same color as your food if you're out with friends, and the fourth-cheapest if you're on a date. It's not rocket science.

LondonLee (#922)

I do the "second-cheapest" thing too.

Moff (#28)

I used to do that. Now I just say fuck it and go for the cheapest. I mean, we're not fooling the server, so why spend extra money just to go through the whole pantomime.

Dottie and John (former Tastings column of WSJ) are emphatic that the second cheapest wine on the list is almost always the worst value. And, the cheapest wine on the list is very often the best value.

LondonLee (#922)

Duly noted.

riotnrrd (#840)

A sommelier friend tells me that the second-cheapest wine is always (ALWAYS) the cheapest nastiest wine the restaurant buys. Why? Because nobody wants to be the cheapskate and order the cheapest wine in the book, so they always order the second cheapest. By putting the least expensive wine there, the restaurant makes more margin.

Swallow your pride and ask, straight up, for an inexpensive red/white that will go with your entree. Dickbags will try and upsell you, but most sommeliers are working stiffs who'd be glad to help you out.

Murgatroid (#2,904)

What's a good wine to drink while I'm shaving my hefty facial hair?

I would say go for something hearty! A big ol' chunky red wine goes with manly depilations.

scroll_lock (#4,122)

@Murgatroid: Emily Post calls for tonsorial pursuits to be accompanied by a tasteful ICE.

A.R. Chrisman (#2,964)

@Murgatroid: Chuck Shaw.

scroll_lock (#4,122)

I wouldn't wish a Riesling on my worstest enemy.

Them's fightin words, scrolly.

scroll_lock (#4,122)

*puts up tiny fists, cowers*

Scrolly, I KNOW! It is last on my list of potables.

jolie (#16)

I'd drink a negroni before I'd touch a reisling. And DO NOT EVEN get me started on savignon blanc. Bleee-eeeh.

scroll_lock (#4,122)

@Kitten, @Jolie: YAY! Reinforcements!

Albarino FTW.

I have been drinking a Riesling by Kung Fu Girl and it is lovely.

NicFit (#616)

Does no one drink chablis anymore? I remember my mom drank a lot of that in the 70s.

scroll_lock (#4,122)

@Booksy: YOU HAVE NOT AND IT IS NOT.

scroll_lock (#4,122)

@Nic: Chablis is good for cleaning paintbrushes if you're out of Riesling.

deepomega (#1,720)

My only experience with Chablis is my college roommate drinking two to three liters of it in a night while playing Dead Rising.

The rest of the night did not go well for him.

Et tu, Jolie? But Riesling pairs perfectly w/ lemon squares!

Pope, I always think of it as a dessert wine. And what kind of person drinks wine with dessert? Coffee and cognac is the only civilized drink with dessert.

HiredGoons (#603)

@kitten: Sherry.

@Kitten: Port, my darling. Don't forget it.

Also: Armagnac.

Goons, actually I have been on a calvados bender lately but I like cognac with something chocolate better.
Books, armagnac is scarce around here for some reason.

libmas (#231)

I'm late to this, but: Riesling is a dessert wine when it's sweet. But Riesling is the most versatile white in the world, and can be harvested/fermented in ways that leave it bone dry – think minerals, pears, white peach, plus singing acidity. Perfect food wine. There's a lot of terminology involved, but start by knowing that Trocken means very dry, and Kabinett means light-bodied. There is amazing, amazing stuff coming out of Germany, Alsace, and Austria, and much of it is criminally underpriced.

Chablis is excellent when it's actually from the Chablis region of France. Otherwise, it's usually generic white that just stole the name for the sake of glamour, just like Gallo Hearty Burgundy. Sadly, real Chablis is usually expensive.

@lib: Yes, excellent value out of Austria these days. I had a lovely bottle of Nigl Gruner last month, I think it cost ten bucks. Apricot, peach, and the minerals were superb. "Singing" is the perfect way to describe it, well done.

libmas (#231)

Shhhh. Don't tell about the Gruner. The price will go up if the secret gets out. Thanks for the kind word.

750 mL (#5,726)

Couldn't agree more, except that riesling will get you a bit farther into meat courses and it's more likely to be fresh. Alvarinho (that's the pretentious way to spell it) doesn't have much shelf life.

Ummm . . . not to be a "hater," but I don't like the faux-Bourdain tone of this nor this approach to wine buying. I do appreciate the opening bit about understanding-a-little-about-how-restaurants-work, because that is truly helpful. But the "R.O.C.K." framework doesn't really get you anywhere beyond "faking it" on a date – which seems like a problem unrelated to wine actually – whereas it would be much better to approach wine drinking & learning with a view to developing future confidence – as well as real knowledge and an experienced palate!

spanish bombs (#562)

My guess is that Alvarinho is the Portuguese spelling of the Spanish Albarino, so maybe it is just that the fancier or rarer Albarinos are coming from Portugal. I know I have trouble finding more than the same 2 bottles of Spanish, much less Portuguese, in my town. If anyone knows wines similar to these (I dig their massive minerality), please say!

750 mL (#5,726)

Armagnac=yes.

RocketSurgeon (#1,632)

Try a Chenin Blanc, either from South Africa or Loire.

RocketSurgeon (#1,632)

Also Petit Chablis – soil in the region has a lot of limestone.

750 mL (#5,726)

Hit the Loire with a vengeance. The chenins and sauvignon blancs will be right up your alley, especially–Pouilly-Fume, Sancerre, and Savennieres. If you can find them, the Dagueneau wines are amazing. Also, see northern Italy–Friuli and heading east into Slovenia. Just wrote up Movia on the blog. You would love Movia. You would probably work at Movia.

750 mL (#5,726)

Bingo.

@750 mL: Martini and Rossi = yes. Because Angie says so.

Art Yucko (#1,321)

I am unafraid of wine of any sort. I'm unafraid to order it, I am neither afraid nor intimidated by Monsieur Snooty Sommelier, and I am most certainly unafraid to drink it. A lot of it.

Ditto!

Also, bourbon fears me.

Art Yucko (#1,321)

(*it's the hangover that speaks to my fear.)

jolie (#16)

@Gef: Sigh. I wish I was capable of having an original thought.

Screen Name (#2,416)

@Art Yucko Right. Was reminded of this thing from Nick Tosches in The Last Opium Den:

"How could so sophisticated a nose fail to detect the cow shit with which this most celebrated estate in Bordeaux fertilizes its vines? A true wine connoisseur, if there were such a thing, would taste the pesticide and manure above all else: he would be not a goûteur de vin but rather a goûteur de merde."

Art Yucko (#1,321)

it's quite alright jolie, your avatar is all the credibility you shall ever need. -raises glass of Jameson OTR to you-

deepomega (#1,720)

I am scared shitless of wine. It all tastes like wine to me! Give me some fancy-ass scotches any day of the week.

Art Yucko (#1,321)

@Screen: if one is drawn to the sequestered stenches of their cheese, they better have a sense of it in their grape drink, I agree.

somewhat unrelated: Italians don't seem to have the hangover problem with their wine (at least not in my, ah, experience- and only as long as you're sitting in an Italian Enoteca!)
…so they can't pin that excuse on Il World Cup Faigliazzo.*

(*probably not a real word.)

I've managed to pick up enough wine knowledge over the years to be dangerous (except for Italian, where all I know is Amarone and Ripasso and Ferrari-Carano's Siena).

So, you had me at "Kermit Lynch".

scroll_lock (#4,122)

OOOH, Amarone's great but some are WAY better than others, you have to choose carefully.

Art Yucko (#1,321)

I'm usually had at "Corbett Canyon".

Should anyone want me to engage in unspeakables, a whisper of "Barolo/Montalcino" will do.

Art Yucko (#1,321)

There's a bottle of Bulleit in a cabinet at home, fearing for his amber Kentucky soul, lemme tell ya.

Art Yucko (#1,321)

(^ Gef.)

A.R. Chrisman (#2,964)

Winky Cat "likes" this.

Excellent choice, that is my favorite bourbon.

Old. Rip. Van. Winkle.

@Art: Hell yeah, that Bulleit is good bourbon. Nice and sharp, and you can make something called a Revolver with it, if you're being fancy.

Art Yucko (#1,321)

@Mandrake: it moved to the top of my pecking order very, very quickly.

The new cheap-drinking whiskey around the Mongoose compound is George Dickel. The best bartender I know recommended it, even though his bar doesn't stock it, and he was right.

deepomega (#1,720)

Pappy Van Winkle, 23 year reserve. Blammo.

Art Yucko (#1,321)

-rifling through wallet for research funds-

@deepomega: Goodness. I'm sure it's great, but it'd better fetch my slippers and rub my feet for me.

deepomega (#1,720)

There's a fantastic whiskey bar in Silver Lake that sells it by the glass, and wooooooweee that is a special occasion sort of beverage.

Screen Name (#2,416)

I like Buffalo Trace because they have a distillery cam and watching it calms me down. http://www.buffalotrace.com/distillerycam.html

libmas (#231)

Bulleit goes for $19.99 at Trader Joe's. At least here in SoCal. Happy days.

riotnrrd (#840)

I like Bulleit, too, but find it a bti spicy to be true love. Dickel, to echo Gef, makes a good bourbon. Currently, I'm a big fan of Ezra B Single Barrel (12 yr). It's about $35-40 a bottle and is so, so fine.

jolie (#16)

I'm not afraid of wine, but wine is definitely afraid of me. Also! SWITCHING TO GILLETTE IMMEDIATELY.

wb (#2,214)

Wine fears you because of the ice cubes, I'm sure.

HiredGoons (#603)

I have of late been loving white Cotes du Rhone.

Mmmmm. Come meet me at the next tasting at Morrell and Co.

hockeymom (#143)

Stanley McChrystal thinks that sounds French AND gay.

wb (#2,214)

White Rhones are the greatest. Especially anything with Marsanne thrown in the mix.

MollyculeTheory (#4,519)

This. I am also really into Torrontés this summer.

wb (#2,214)

Another beautiful grape, Torrontés.

dado (#102)

I purchase zinfandels based upon their high percentage of alcohol. I figure I'm getting more bang for the buck.

wb (#2,214)

I once saw a dude turn back an whole bottle of some uber-expensive white at a Parisian restaurant after receiving his mini-pour; they had opened him the wrong vintage of the wine he ordered. He was an American and didn't speak French, but he knew his shit. Seeing the totally snooty sommelier be humbled? It was totally awesome.

Oh, and this piece was great.

That is the correct thing to do. The sommelier thought, "This is a dumb American, let's see if we can pass a shitty year past him."

wb (#2,214)

True, which made it even better: the dude totally beat wine guy at his own game.

Heh. Schoolin' ya, Francois!

Art Yucko (#1,321)

-all of this.-

wb (#2,214)

The guy is my hero, really, for this episode and for his totally logical but awesome reasoning for needing 1000s of bottles of wine in his cellar, in order to have a bottle to drink every day for the rest of his life. He was a cardiologist or something too, so do with that what you will.

Keeping wine is like keeping plants, children, pets, partners in the house: living things make life better.

libmas (#231)

I get the appeal of the takedown, but if the Sommelier was worth anything, he would have presented the bottle to the customer for visual inspection prior to opening it. At that point, it becomes the customer's responsibility to notice whether or not it's the right vintage – it's right there on the label.

@Lib: I'm betting the somm "missed" this step.

hockeymom (#143)

I look forward to the "How to choose a Wine Cooler" column, sponsored by Axe Body Spray.

Art Yucko (#1,321)

!!! (Axe Body Spray is what they make out of the dregs of the Riunite "casks".)

LondonLee (#922)

"Any questions about the menu, sir?"

"Yes, what typeface is that?"

That's a Pouilly-Sans-Fumé!

I was raised by European grandparents who drank wine every day. I have been drinking a lot of Tempranillo lately and I am also obsessed with the new wines from New Zealand, and this place in Napa called Cakebread is turning out some beautiful bottles, too. But the other day I was served some Blue Nun and I really liked it. So my advice to new wine drinkers: try it all.

Or you know, fuck it, there're always martinis.

scroll_lock (#4,122)

Oh, yeaahhhh. New Zealand wines!

KarenUhOh (#19)

Few things go better with a steak than Martinis. And Tempranillo's good stuff.

@Booksy: Tempranillo is awesome, and my fave Sonoma slingers Gundlach Bundschu make a great one. They also did a Tempranillo Rose a while back.

In fact, buy ANYTHING you can find by Gundlach Bundschu.

OMG I have not had Cakebread in ages. I haven't even seen it in LA though I have not been looking for. Will keep an eye out for it now that I have been reminded.

HiredGoons (#603)

Martinis and oysters WANT.

@CR: Thanks for the rec, honey, I will look for it.

There are few things funnier to my friends than watching me shove my big nose into a wineglass, but there are only a few things in life I find more pleasurable.

deepomega (#1,720)

@kitten I think I saw it at Vendome Liquor in westside, off of olympic. Badass wine selection there!

mrschem (#1,757)

Yes, that's healthy eating. I think I could live without pain for a very long time on that diet.

tnx deep.

Thanks CR! We appreciate the love for GB very much. FYI we still make the Rose every year, only ~200cs, vs 800cs of the red tempranillo. Never on a wine list though, sorry, only from the winery.

KarenUhOh (#19)

I actually had to retain a Master for a case (lawsuit, silly) I work on. He's one of the nicest, most humble guys I ever met.

Seriously? When you're out, and you want to order something, just be straight out upfront about what you like (don't worry about specifying your fondness for "notes of burnt rubber–except I mean the kind on cars"), what you're eating (or, if you could care less, what you like), and, critically, $$ available.

If they give you attitude, favor them with a tasting of eau de ureter.

blily (#1,411)

This is really awesome advertising. I hope more of it happens — here at The Awl, and elsewhere. It actually creates positive associations in my head between some random company and things I like! It's sort of like Mutual of Omaha sponsoring Wild Kingdom– except I actually know what Gillette does, and might even pick their products over another brand now.

In fact, if corporations are going to be treated like people under our legal system, more should become patrons of the arts (and letters). And straightup cash for logo placement is way more efficient and effective than the current standard system where the corporation tries to produce their *own* content and place it in competition with the content I've gone actually gone to the website to look at.

Neopythia (#353)

I leap at a Viognier whenever I encounter one. Though they seem to be rare in the wild.

KarenUhOh (#19)

If you ever bump into one from Alban Vineyards, do purchase. Incredible.

Kevin Knox (#4,475)

Cono Sur makes a beautiful (and bargain) Viognier as well.

cherrispryte (#444)

I have been upset with Gilette ever since they stopped making the handles for Sensor Excel blades. But now I *might* switch back.

Bittersweet (#765)

They did? Does that make my Sensor Excel an antique? Whoo hoo!

libmas (#231)

No "Not Afraid to be Servicey" tag?

RocketSurgeon (#1,632)

Casa Lapostolle Cuvee Alexandre, any style. Chilean wines can be uneven, but these are a great value. Particularly like the cabernet sauvignon. Bonus trivia – the vineyard is owned by the same family that makes Grand Marnier.

MattP (#475)

Aren't the food articles on the awl supposed to say fuck more than this?

HiredGoons (#603)

the fucking comes after the wine.

Balk's working on a "How to Open a Fucking Bottle of Wine" article.

Art Yucko (#1,321)

If there's one thing we can be sure of, it's discussions of alcoholic beverages bringing All the Awl Kids to the Yard.

also, last.

HiredGoons (#603)

Yes, posts about booze, sex, and furniture do seem to rack up the comments nicely.

(lasterish)

A.R. Chrisman (#2,964)

Not so last.

deepomega (#1,720)

The triumvirate!

scroll_lock (#4,122)

Last, infinity squared.

( * ) ( * ) or go home, scrolly!

scroll_lock (#4,122)

responded below, silly me!

Art Yucko (#1,321)

-shakes empty bottle into mouth for LAST drop of wine.-

scroll_lock (#4,122)

You first! And have fun tonight *sob*.

scroll_lock (#4,122)

*obvs to Booksy, not Art!

A.R. Chrisman (#2,964)

I'm dedicating this one to my favorite movie: The Last Picture Show.

scroll_lock (#4,122)

Saw that *last* week.

shostakobitch (#1,692)

What wine should I drink before I try to slit my wrists with a Gilette End-It-All XL Mach 8? This whole thing was written by marketers. I'm a marketer and I'm writing this? What's going on?!

roboloki (#1,724)

mad dog 20/20

OK, LISTICLE:

* Favorite hot summer whites: Gruner Veltliner, Albarino, Viognier
* Favorite rose: Pinot…from Germany
* Favorite regions: Rhone, Languedoc, Sonoma, Priorat
* Favorite red: Priorat
* Favorite winery: Gundlach Bundschu
* Favorite whiskeys: Old Rip Van Winkle Rye, Michter's Rye, Bulleit, Balvenie Double Wood
* Favorite hot summer drink: Vesper
* Favorite beer: Anchor Liberty

deepomega (#1,720)

If you like Rip Van and also like scotches may I heartily recommend the Ardbeg 10. It is insane how good it is, way more enjoyable than a lot of 15s or 25s I've had. Madness!

Yay! A shopping list AND it's Friday!!!

riotnrrd (#840)

Also: if the girl in that picture was sitting across from me, giving me that look, I would order her any damn bottle of wine she wanted. That nail-polish! That smile!

A.R. Chrisman (#2,964)

FIRST!

A.R. Chrisman (#2,964)

Shit.

lbf (#2,343)

podium

Christy Krumm (#5,749)

Loved the part about the state of Oregon cause it seems to be true! Even though I'm from California and would like to believe that our winemaking skills are just as great :-)

lbf (#2,343)

France or Loire? You're spoiling us!

Tip: if you're having hearty food, get the Côtes-du-Rhône and keep the oenophile schtick for another time.

lbf (#2,343)

oops, southern france. read too fast. that was totally correct.

lbf (#2,343)

and that was a good article.

750 mL (#5,726)

I'm glad you were able to resolve that for yourself :). I dig CdR as much as the next guy, but I think they're too unpredictable at restaurants. Very easy to pass off a poor one because people will order it anyway. And Rhone is too vast and complex a region to know what you're really getting in that bottle unless you know the producer well. I think when you go more into the coastal, west, and Spanish-influenced regions, you typically get much more depth and value.

Carol Yelverton (#5,775)

Great post! Thanks for your honesty and your insights into finding really great wine!
– Your friends at Vinetown

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