Once upon a time, I enjoyed glasses of Rombaur and Ferrari-Carano. I couldn’t afford it then anymore than I can now, but at least the $18 glass of wine didn’t come out of my kids’ diaper fund. Indulging occasionally in a really great bottle of wine was the equivalent of shaking my silky, blond hair (in my dreams!) at a camera and saying, “I’m worth it!”
Now, I’m worth it, but so are my kids. They’re worth cutting back and searching the bottom shelves for great deals on, hopefully, great wines. I’ve come to believe that smart shoppers can find good wine for $10 or less, and I stick to that rule pretty closely. But I do still miss being able to experiment and buy whatever bottle I want. I miss going to wineries and buying multiple bottles rather than one token low-budget vintage.
So on my last wine-tasting trip to Sacramento (we hit wine bars rather than tasting rooms), I asked the wine-tender to surprise me with something different. Tall order, right? I told him I wanted to try something GOOD in the area of dry and oaky. I told him I like zinfandels but wasn’t feeling like something quite that spry and tangy. I’ve gotten a little tired of pinot noirs; for a while that was all I drank in a stand of solidarity with my Oregonian family (ok, my motive was a little more boring that that – I just liked pinots a lot).
The helpful gentleman suggested I try a malbec. He was the second person within about three weeks to tell me to try malbecs, so who am I to argue? And what do you know? It was just what I was looking for. Full and dry like a cab but with a splash of tang like a zin.
Whatever he poured for me was wonderful but definitely not under my $10 limit. So my last visit to the grocery store included an in-depth look at the wine shelves, and I found an interesting malbec. Alamos 2008 malbec – on sale for about $9. It’s from Argentina, as I’ve learned that the best malbecs are, and it’s the perfect winter wine. Pinot noirs are too thin for the cold January nights. Sure, a merlot would be ok. But dammit, I’m not a boring mom. I don’t want a plain ol’ merlot. I want something exotic. I want something different. I want a malbec!
Yes, you can call me a snob. But at $9 a bottle, I don’t think that name would stick. Besides, next week I’ll probably be over my malbec kick and ready to try something new.