In July I won a diverse case of wine from Trader Joe's in a raffle at a benefit performance for my Pilates teacher, who seriously injured herself during a performance for Brooklyn troupe STREB. Thankfully she's on the mend now.
It was fitting that I won the case, because I had just been talking to a food editor friend at Gourmet about why foodies are typically not as knowledgeable about wine (me included), and vice versa. I decided to drink the wines carefully and write down my thoughts on each bottle.
I knew I'd have no problem drinking the bottles, but I did wonder where I'd keep them. I finally decided on the window sill of our tiny kitchen, which gets no sunlight -- I know that light and temperature can affect wine bottles, but even on the hottest days this summer, the bottles were cool to the touch and shaded by the curtain. I got rid of our wine rack last year due to lack of space, and to the fact that I typically buy wine at the time that I want to drink it. Right before I won the case, I remarked to Jon that I'd like to start keeping a few bottles around, so that the white wine I bought didn't always have to be from the refrigerated section of the wine store. I definitely noticed that already having wine at home made a difference. I saved money by ordering fewer glasses out, and I had one less thing to do before having guests over. But, being that the bottles were all inexpensive and I have no self-control, I often opened the bottles on a whim. As the bottles began to disappear, the extra calories I'd imbibed began to show up!
Here are my notes, in the order that I drank them. I'll post thoughts on the other half dozen next time.
1. Espiral Vinho Verde, Portugal, 2007. Tastes like a wine spritzer. Light, with a little bubble. Reminds me of lemon-lime soda. Very drinkable. I've drunk it before and will drink it again. It's only 9% alcohol, which explains the wine spritzer similarity. Later got honey to honeysuckle notes. $3.99.
2. Rock Rabbit Shiraz, Central Coast, 2004. A lot of berry, with a taste of black cherry. Reminds me of coffee. Kinda makes me want coffee instead. Alcoholy. On a scale of 1-5, I'd give it a 3. $6.99.
3. Alois Lageder Pinot Grigio, Trentino-Alto Adige, Italy. 2005. At first struck by how dry and minerally it is -- not in a particularly good way. Also, it's surprisingly watery. It smells like apricot or other stone fruit, but I don't get the sweetness of fruit when I sip it. By chance I was eating salmon the night I opened the bottle, and fish was one of the foods recommended for the wine. I began to taste more of the fruit, but the acidity, wateriness, and dryness of this wine made it a mega-loser. $11.99.
4. La Chateau Loire Valley Vouvray, 2006. Didn't love this one either. My palate seems to be off or disagreeable when tasting some of these whites. Little too sweet, little too chewy. $6.99.
5. Honey Moon Viognier California 2005. Pleasant, drinkable. If I'd been served it at a bar with an average wine list, I'd have been satisfied enough. Fruity and sweet, some honey stickiness to it. After the last three white wines, it's starting to sound like I don't like whites, which isn't true. Maybe I'm pickier about my whites, since I typically prefer reds or bubbly? $5.99.
6. Casillero del Diablo, Chile, Carmenere 2005, by Concha Y Toro. I happened to read the label before taking my first sip, but it wasn't just power of suggestion that that had me tasting chocolate, coffee, and spices. Also, for the first time that I can remember, tasted tobacco (maybe it was the coffee) and some berries. Would definitely drink again. $7.99.
L'chaim & Salut!