Jun 3
The Question I Hate
posted by: dawn in Wine Tasting on 06 3rd, 2009 | |

This may seem like an odd post coming from a whineaux but the question I hate most at a restaurant or dinner party is … can you pick a good wine for us.

I feel like saying “maybe.” It’s not that I don’t know my way around the carte vin (wine list) and it’s not that I can’t pick out a wine that Bill and I will enjoy. It’s that a good wine isn’t a wine that someone else tells you is good, it’s a wine you enjoy.

One of my good friends has spent her entire life working hard and now she’s in a position to afford to drink any wine she wants as her “regular glass.” I see some of you oenophiles in the back practically salivating — you want to know what her wine of choice is.

Ok, here it is, Fish Eye Sauvignon Blanc, with ice which is about $9 per bottle in the grocery store and frequently served on airplanes. I know some of you are cringing, but let me take it a little further — Fish Eye Sauvingon Blanc with ice.

Before you dismiss me — here’s the point. That’s a good wine to her. The question can you recommend a good wine is a tough one to answer because it depends on your definition of “good.” Does good mean sweet or dry, fruity or spicy, do you like old world or new world (or do you even know what I’m talking about), white, red or rose? (And I have issued a fatwah against white zinfandel and all “pink” wines in our house so if that’s good to you, I’ll never recommend a wine you like)

Wine used to be for everyone, then we had two categories — the confusing, pretentious and intimidating expensive wines and those from places like Madera California that were sold in over sized jugs for $3 and all but guaranteed a life threatening hangover.

That’s no longer the case. Production techniques have reduced the cost of making wine. There are some very affordable $10 – $15 wines that are consistent and very nice options for pairing with a cozy dinner at home.

One of my favorites is from Turnbull Vinyards in Napa, it’s their Old Bull Red, and it’s what the family drinks as their go to glass.

I am also not a huge fan of tasting notes. “Oh it smells like Forrest mist, black currant and leather” No it doesn’t, somebody told you to say that. It smells like wine. However I have to have some way to tell you what Old Bull Red tastes like.

Here’s how they describe it:
The 2006 Old Bull blends the lush berry flavors of Merlot (44%), the lighthearted red fruit of Tempranillo (18%) and Sangiovese (16%), the power and richness of Cabernet Sauvignon (9%), Cabernet Franc (5%), the black fruit of Barbera (6%), Syrah (2%)

Blends are a nice option because the winemaker can more easily produce a balanced wine that is easy to drink (meaning you don’t have to “acquire” a taste for it) Tannins (the bitter dry taste that hit you as you swallow) are typically lower in a blended wine and no one flavor or note will overpower the glass.

To me Old Bull Red it’s fruity but not sweet and it’s not spicy. It’s light and it pairs well with meat, pizza, Italian food and BBQ. I find I like it best when paired with a large glass.

You have to order this wine — but it’s worth it I think you’ll enjoy it.

Visit the Turnbull Winery website to learn more.


Bill and I at Turnbull

Bill and I at Turnbull

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