My dear friend and fellow (much better!) blogger Steph Miller provides the following wine musings. She writes Collecting Talents, a hilarious and often introspective look at everything from parenting to cooking to knitting to walking her bad-ass dog, Koa. Enjoy!
There are few wine lovers who are more novice than myself.
I came late to the wine game, “discovering” Trader Joe’s Charles Shaw (after a frantic search through the store for something called “Two Buck Chuck”) in my mid-20s. It was my wine crutch for years–I always had a couple bottles on hand. I weaned myself from it with low-shelf grocery store wines until I discovered Folie A Deux “Menage A Trois” for $6.99 at Costco.
“Menage” had all I was looking for in a wine: Inexpensive, smooth, delicious and red. I’ll hit up the Bev Mo sales now and again, but it’s a safe bet that my pantry has at least one bottle of “Menage A Trois” at the ready.
Until last Friday, when I discovered that my husband used the last of my wine stash to make a marinade. It wasn’t until Saturday night that I could head out to Costco to pick up more of my beloved red … but when I pulled up to the store, it was closed.
Leaving me wine-less. On a Saturday night. Before settling down to watch “The Pacific.” Unacceptable.
Thankfully, there’s a Trader Joe’s just down the road from Costco, and I remembered their extensive wine selection (Hey, you get in a rut and you forget things). So I zoomed over there and called my favorite wine blogger: Mama’s Wine Rack.
“I’m at Trader Joe’s,” I said. “What’s good?”
Then, despite Bethany’s willingness to stammer out a few recommendations on the spot, I had a better idea.
“Let me try one, and I’ll tell you what I think.”
I hit the shelves. I had few requirements: It has to be inexpensive, red and NOT Merlot or Cab Sav. After a few minutes of searching, I glanced at a name I’d never heard. “Cotes du Veritoux.” The price was right ($4.99) and the description was intriguing: “Pairs well with pizza or BBQ.”
I like pizza.
I like BBQ.
I opened the La Ferme Julien Rouge Cotes du Ventoux tonight, with salty-sweet teriyaki barbeque chicken and grilled artichoke. While I’ve never had any formal education on wine outside of “tastes good” or “forces me to make that grimace when the aftertaste reaches back to bite,” I wish I had words for this one. I’ll try:
Smooth. Deliciously fruity. It reminded me of a tart cran-grape beverage, with a velvet texture to warm my throat on the way down. It even smells light and fruity. I had to double-check to be sure it was a red. This wine is an ice-cream social at chuch in June. It’s Billie Holiday and Dusty Springfield. It’s apple blossoms. It’s …
It’s almost gone, is what it is.
I’ll be right back.