The Ansonian Wine Party… but first, How to Make Friends

The Ansonian Wine Party… but first, How to Make Friends

So I had one of my best friends visiting from out of town this weekend, which is always a grand time. We have known each other since I broke his collar bone during recess in kindergarten and we’ve just sort of been friends ever since. Look, it wasn’t my fault. Ok, it was, but it was not intentional. I was 5 and I had just recently been introduced to the magical devices known as slides. It was a big slide too. It was your standard straight run slide with an accelerator hump half way down. It was steel, shiny, and obviously a gift from the gods. Apparently Zeus had shagged one of the locals and at some point blessed that child and all generations of that child with this brilliant gift of sliding perfection.

One of the things you could always count on in kindergarten was the b-line all the kids made to that slide once the recess bell rang. Kids would like climb up the two story ladder, which was probably about 6 feet up, but when you are only half the size of an adult Ewok a ladder that high is only about three steps shy of being able to grab the moon so you can use it to play catch. This slide was Mount Olympus, and then you got to the top you would look over all of the known world.

Apparently, on the day of the event I was a little imaginationly blinded. I saw the top of the slide as the one place on the planet that had to be at, as soon as humanly possible. If I was not on the ladder platform, the world was going to explode. The off switch was on the top of the slide platform and I was the only one who knew exactly where it was. I had to save everyone on the planet. So I pushed and stepped and climbed over, around and on the other kids climbing the ladder to the top of the slide so that I could get to the top. Once there I pushed the Cancel World Destruction button and saved the planet. Then I had to slide down before the platform dissolved making it impossible for anyone to ever push the Earth Self Destruct button ever again.

As my feet hit the ground I made an explosion noise and jumped away from the slide. I was safe! But something wasn’t right. There was a congregation of kids gathered around the slide, but none of them were trying to get on the slide. No, this was a group of kids trying to get a look at something that had just happened on the ground. When I got closer to see what was happening, I was greeted with a flank of little fingers pointing at me yelling, “You did it!” This was not the “Hooray you just saved us all” meaning of “You did it!” No, this was the “It’s all your fault.” translation accompanied by the finger of blame. I had no idea what they were talking about, but I did notice there was a kid lying on the ground a little dazed and a teacher was picking him up and rushing him to the small school building we had class in.

As I faced the horde of my peers taunting me with blame, and telling me I had just pushed Anson off the top of the slide, and that my teacher was going to find out, and that I would going to have to go to the principal’s office, and was going to get a spanking, and that they were going to call my parents and tell on me, I did what any hero who had just save all those people and the Earth would do, I started crying. Then I tried running away. The problem I discovered with being 5 and trying to flee the scene of a crime is… short legs. You can run has fast as you can, but you really don’t get that far.

Because I was the unintentional assailant of the whole affair part of my punishment was to face the person I had so carelessly pushed off the slide and apologize. I still claimed that I didn’t do it. I mean I honestly did not see him. The 30 eye witnesses saying contrary sealed my blame. So when my mom took me to see Anson and told me to apologize to him, I did it. No questions asked, whether I agreed or not.

Anson responded in the only way a 5 year old wearing a new cast knows how when confronted by another kid of the same age. He handed me a marker and let me draw on his arm sling. Our parents took this as a good sign that the apology was accepted, and we, not sure what apology really meant, were way past talking about broken bones and were now discussing the finer points of spaceship themed Legos. And it just sort of kept going from there. Now, 31 years later we’re still going strong, and I always try to make sure I buy him Legos for his birthday.

So now, since we has moved to Iowa to teach 3D animation, he has a sort of yearly ceremony where, when spring break rolls around he takes advantage of the off week and pops by Utah for a week of play, party, and possible parental visits. Meaning he possibly visits his parents if there’s time and not that he visits people that might possibly be his parents. He does have a lot of family in the area, so it’s always a good trip for him to catch up with friends and family. During this time my brother and I will always take at least one day (sometimes more) off of work to hang out and catch up.

There are always three things that always happen when he visits. One is that we go out and eat epic amounts of sushi for dinner one of the nights he in town. Second, we always watch at least one MST (or MST subsidiary). And last, we have a party. As it worked out, we were having the monthly wine party the same Saturday that he was going to be in town. Granted it worked out that way because we planned it that way, but when given the opportunity to go with a “happenstance” explanation vs. a “we planned it that way” explanation, I’m usually going to go with the “and it just so happened that…” version of the story.

The Anson wine party was brilliant, and I’m tickled with the new people that are becoming more regular wine party attendees. Although, I did experience a wine party first this past party. We actually had some wine left over. In the four or five years we’ve been doing it, it’s never happened. I mean sure there have been cases were there was one or two half bottles left by the time people were sober enough to drive home. But as it turned out, we had 5 unopened bottles left! When I got up Sunday morning I walked downstairs and saw the dinner table covered with wine bottles. Then, I noticed it. There was only one at first, but as I started examining the collection of empty bottles I found that there were 2, no 3, no 4, no 5… yes 5! There were 5 bottles of unopened wine. Ha ha ha. (Count von Count would be so proud.)

Traditionally the recommendation for our wine party is to bring a side dish to share and bottle of wine for people to try. This applies to couples and singles, meaning that if you come as a couple you bring a bottle and if you come alone you bring a bottle. What happened is that people were in a “let’s try wine” mood. Instead of one bottle per couple, we had each person bring a bottle. We even had one friend bring three bottles just from him, the little sweetheart. I tried too. We were all for trying every wine that graced our presence that evening, but I’ll tell you, after 16 bottles of wine, and one small bottle of 12 year old scotch we reached a universal “I’m done” point in the evening 5 bottle shy of completion.

As for the wine of the month, I believe I’m going to have to go with the 2007 Trapiche Broquel Malbec, although we did have a 2008 there as well. Both were yummy, but if given the choice, I recommend the 2007 over the 2008. It’s an Argentinean red wine that upon the first sip, asks your mouth if you’d like to dance the tango. I recommend that you speak for your mouth when this happens by nodding yes and then take another sip. After the third swallow of this wine your tongue will stop prancing around your mouth and begin to get the hang of the rhythm the wine and tongue need to make together to fully enjoy all of the flavors and depth that this wine brings to the table. At only $14 a bottle, it’s a fabulous wine for a very reasonable price.

I did have one kind of, sort of epiphany like thought during the night. One friend brought me a wine in hopes that I could save it. He claimed it was one of the worst wines he has ever tasted, ass wine if you will, and wanted it out of his house forever. He thought it was sacrilege to just dump it. So he was hoping I could work some of my drink mixing magic and get it to a point where people might actually enjoy drinking it. Well I do love a good challenge and after 2 lemons, some strawberries and pineapple, a hint of honey, and a handful of a cinnamon and sugar the wine abomination did become quite drinkable, in a “no too bad” kind of way.

Well when my little sister arrived someone handed her a wine glass that had a tiny bit of the pre-surgery ass wine. Her face, after tasting the wine, announced to everyone in the house that she agreed that it was one of the worst wines every made. The thing was that every other wine she tried that night was “fabulous” according to her. So this was my though, if you are sharing wine with someone who is trying to work their way up to drinking and appreciating more wine, a tiny sample of ass wine might be helpful. For the sheer fact that anything else you try the rest of the night is going to be so monumentally better that you sort of shock a struggling palate into appreciation. I think it could work, then again it just might be one of the “seems like a good idea at the time” ideas, and we all know how those usually end.

As with all my wine reviews, what are some of your wine suggestions? I’d love to hear them… the good I mean. Thanks.

Image Sources:
Google Images, key words: Trapiche Broquel Malbec 07, playground slide, running kid, save the world, broken collarbone, bad taste face, and bottles of wine.

The Ansonian Wine Party… but first, How to Make Friends

A Reunionful Weekend and Wine Review

Saturday proved to be a rather delightful day dedicated to catching up with old friends. Some dear friends from my coffee shop past just so happened to be in town this weekend celebrating their birthday. Only one of them was having their birthday, but since they were married, it made sense that they should celebrate it together. They wanted to get together and catch up, and they wanted to eat some really good Mexican food. So we killed two stones with one bird and Angela and I met Jules and Brandon and their ridiculously adorable kids at one of the best, if not the best, Mexican Restaurants in Salt Lake, The Red Iguana.

It had only been about 12 or 13 years since I had last seen Jules and Brandon, but I can always count on a clever and well written Christmas letter from them when the holiday comes along. Now there are a few things that happen when you first learn that you will be having lunch with your old friend’s kids. I mean your friends will be there too, obviously, but it’s the unknown element that kids seem to always be bring into any equation that gets you initially a little unnerved. When it comes to old friend’s kids there are really only two possible outcomes, well behaved fabulous children, or misbehaved complete and total bastards. There is also that inner little person filter that you need to remember to pay attention to. I did a fairly good job keeping my language at least at a PG-13 level through the entire meal.

As for the kids, they were grand. There are a lot of little people (I mean children for those of you that don’t know I call all children little people) in Utah. Making babies is kind of a… a hobby for a fair portion of the inhabitants of this state. In my experience I see a lot more ill behaved kids than well behaved kids. So anytime I run into well behaved kids, I always feel like I’m in a Ripley’s Believe It or Not episode. It’s just commonly so uncommon that I’m usually befuddled for the first 5 to 10 minutes. It was unbelievable. The kids just sat in their chairs, eating their food, and giving the adults a chance to catch up. Well done Jules and Brandon… well done Jules and Brandon’s little people.

After lunch and a huggy farewell, it was back to the house to get things ready for the wine party that was to start at 7PM. Oddly enough, to keep in tune with the reunion motif that was lunch, I had two old friends that I had not seen since 2002, at my ten year high school reunion, show up at the wine party. They live in the area and ever since we agreed to be friends on Facebook I have invited them to a number of wine parties, but it just never worked out.

So yeah, the wine party had its own reunion element with these old high school friends showing up for the first time. It’s always nice to catch up with old friends and realize that you have more in common with them that you thought you might have. Conversation definitely evolves to new levels of sharing when you hit that point. I did hear some stories about other people in high school that I never really cared to know, but alcohol has a way of enabling people to share stories that you normally wouldn’t. Still, all in all, it was a lot of fun reminiscing and being reminded of things I had completely forgotten about… such as the Samantha Fox lip syncing video that I shot at my with all the girls at the 8th grade graduation party while all of the boys sat in the next room watching Aliens or some Arnie movie. I have no idea where it is and for the sake of all of us, let’s hope I never find it.

There were a few other first time wine party friends there as well, plus the always reliable wine party regulars that are truly the friends I refer to as my other family. We did have plans to have a Earth Day moment. For some reason that seemed like a good idea at some point in the party planning, but it sort of got lost in the evenings consumption. I think the forgetfulness could be connected to the 15 empty wine bottles that covered the table be the end of the night. That doesn’t include any of the mixed drinks that were being enjoyed throughout the night as well.

I think for the Earth Day thing we were going to turn off all the lights in the house for a moment a darkened Earth appreciation and meditation for those that were coherent enough to meditate. When we finally remembered that we had forgotten we decided that since so many people were at the house that meant their houses had all the lights turned out, thus conserving a lot more energy than if we had simple turned out our lights for a few minutes. I believe it’s called proxy energy conservation. It’s a new theory. I mean brand new… as of Saturday night at 11:37PM, but I think it’s going to catch on.

I do have two favorite lines of the night that I wrote down so that I would remember to share them with all of you. They consist of:

  • One friend arriving late so there are only a few bottles left that have any wine in them. Once he helped finish the last of the bottled reds, he notices a box of Sangria, pours a glass. He takes one sip and replies, “Ew, if I’m willing to drink that, it’s time for me to stop drinking.” That about an expected profoundity, profan… talk about a profound moment.
  • The other was mostly an observation said with the desire to get a friends to smile who was going through a spell of drunken melancholy. The line was, “You know, if urine smelled more like lemons, bathrooms would get cleaned a lot less.”

Yes, I know boys and their toilet humor, but hey after 15 bottles of wine there’s a good chance that even you would be giggling at either one of those lines. Well if you hadn’t already passed out that is.

As for the party’s wine winner, I give you the 2005 Castello di Gabbiano Chianti Classico Riserva. It was a bit of a fixed win though. I hold a very special place in my heart for this wine. It was the wine Angela and I had at our wedding. Regardless of that little fact, the wine is still an amazing wine. I was first introduced to it when we first started the wine tasting group all those years ago. They were 2003 bottles at the time though. Still, the 2005 release has kept the flavor and depth that caused me to fall in love with the 2003 release in the first place.

It is one of those wines that after I take my first sip, my eyelids automatically shut as my eyes roll to back. Then, ss the wine hits the back of my throat I unconsciously begin smiling. And as I let it roll down my throat a small, “Mmm.” involuntarily escapes signifying to everyone in the room that yes, the wine is that good.

The key thing to remember is that it is the Gabbiano Chianti Classico Riserva, which is the bottle with the black label. The regular Gabbiano Chianti is ok, but pales in comparison to the Riserva. It’s a $20 bottle of wine, but is definitely worth it, unless you are a fruity wine person. The thing I like about a $20 bottle of wine is that if you are a posh wine consumer, sure it might be a little low end for you, but it’s still in the high low end range instead of low or medium low end range. And even if you are a two buck chuck drinker $20 is something you could do and be ok with once a year, like on your birthday when someone is buying a bottle for you and you want to try something that is an experience to remember.

It was a good Saturday all the way around, and on a groovy note, the next wine party is in two weeks. I have one of my best friends visiting and if there is one thing I know for sure its when a friend is visiting from out of town, you definitely have a party.

Any good wines that you’ve tried lately? I’d love to hear about them and add them to my list of friend recommended wines.

Images Sources:
Google Images, key words: red iguana, 2005 Castello di Gabbiano Chianti Riserva, good kids, friends laughing, and lemons.

The Ansonian Wine Party… but first, How to Make Friends

A Smirk Wine Review – Castello Monaci Liante 2007 Salice Salentino

With this months wine party over and done with, mostly, I figure it’s time to talk wine. I don’t consider a wine party officially over until the last of the wine is drunk, drank, drunken… gone. As of today, I have one bottle to go. A half bottle of merlot and a half bottle of Pinot. Better make that ¼ bottle of Pinot. I call it palate motivation, and it adds a certain regalness to my desk. Besides I like the way the light of my monitor reflects through the wine, well did thirty minutes ago. I’m sure the wine party will officially be over sometime Friday… night.

So the wine I want to talk about was actually a wine that want not intended for the wine party. It was just finished at the wine party. It all started on the Thursday. You know how some days are really crappy and the idea of liquid libations start to tickle your senses, much like a sneeze during allergy season in a field of whatever the hell it is that give you allergies. Yeah, Thursday wasn’t like that at all. As far as Thursdays it was rather lovely. I remember there was some sunshine and smog, but low smog.

In route from work I just so happened to be driving by the liquor store. It took driving six blocks in the opposite direction I normally drive, but it was the… scenic route. There are two, three, ten… there are a number of things that I absolutely love in life. Turns out one of them is when you go into your local liquor store and discovering that the Italian wine section has almost doubled since the last time you were there… and I didn’t even know that I loved that until last Thursday.

I knew what I wanted get for the wine party, but, but, but there were so many new ones! Besides wine should always be purchased in pairs, well you should always buy at least two bottles at a time. There are reasons for this. Mainly, it’s the brown bag thing. If you get two bottles you get a bigger bag, almost grocery sized. There’s a bigger sense of purpose, better yet, accomplishment.

But, if you only get one bottle you’re stuck with one of those small bags that wrap around the neck of the bottle. Whenever I walked out of the liquor store with just one bottle I always felt like I needed a hobo jacket and a park bench to sit on. Oh, and if you get two bottles, or more, you always have the option to compare, and then compare, and then compare again.

The first bottle was something tried and true, a lovely Chianti Classico that I have savored on more than one occasion. Then, because there were so many new flavors, most of which I had never even seen before… let alone pronounce. That’s one thing about loving Italian wines, I can describe the label simply enough, but I’ll be buggered if I can tell you what it’s called.

As for how I made this brilliant wine selection. I relied upon a tried and true method of decision making. I used that rhyme, the one about a guy named Moe and he was a meeny, or something. The rhyme ended and my finger was pointing at a bottle of 2007 Castello Monaci Liante Salice Salentino… I have the empty bottle on my desk as I type this to make sure I spell it right. It’s made with Negroamaro (80%) and Malvasia Nera (20%) grapes and Castello Monaci is located near the bucolic town of Salice Salentino in Puglia, or in common English, the “heel” of “Italy’s boot” .

As for my review, I’m going to get very technical and tell you it was “yummy” no, better make the “super yummy”. Everyone that tried it made the Oooo sound. You know, that sound that says, “That just exceeded all my expectations I had for this.” It was only $13US too. There’s a saying about wine (that I just made up), which is, “Never underestimate the flavor of a cheep wine.” Besides, it easy economics, why send $130.00 on one bottle of tasty wine when you can get ten bottles of something that is just as likely to make you say “Oooo, that’s nice!” ten times more.

If you dig red wine, find a bottle of this and enjoy. And if you don’t like red wine… get a bottle of this and send it to me.

Oh, and I also learned if at all possible, always purchase the 2007 Plungerhead Zinfandel before the 2008. The difference is sippingly noticeable, and more so if you actually take a mouthful of the stuff. So to recap, in a Frankenstein monster kind of way, 2007 Goood! 2008 Baaaad. I mean it’s drinkable, just not nearly as drinkable.

You know, I don’t think I’ve yet to ask this, but to you wine drinkers out there, do you have any red recommendations? I’d love to hear them.

Image Sources:
Google Images, key words: wine and PC, Castello Monaci Liante 2007 Salice Salentino, and wine store.

The Ansonian Wine Party… but first, How to Make Friends

A Fruity Resurrection

There is something eminently satisfying when friends are over and you’re enjoying a collective collaboration of wine and one of the wines are being a little stubborn about wanting to open up so you pull out a decanter, which is not to be confused with a decatheter (which is actually nothing, but sounds like its related to a catheter, which does give one a moment of pause). You’d be amazed at the looks people give you when you mispronounce one for the other.

I’m a great fan of the decanter. Essentially it’s the masseuse of wines. When a wine is a little to tense and just can’t relax enough to let’s its true potential come out to be shared with others, the decanter, removes the “can’t” and makes it a “can”… usually.

A few weeks ago, there was a lovely little gathering at the house, were I had an old friends, who had just moved back to town, meeting new friends, because I’m a big fan of my friends being friends with my friends. Sure it’s a bit redundant sounding, but I think it makes sense. One of the wines that gathered for the occasion was a short life wine, meaning that it was designed not to last very long. It was only a year or two old and it had already peaked within that time. A peak is when everything comes together in the wine just right so that the flavor is at its perfection point. If you wait to long though, the peak expires and the flavor of the wine begins to pass away into a vinegary death.

The wine had peaked in November, and the friends that tried it over Thanksgiving were so smitten by the taste that they grabbed a few bottles to take home with them. You would think that two months would not make much of a difference, but then we popped that little tyke open and gave it some time to breathe, the wine had already entered retirement.

Still there was hope, there was the decanter. We unsheathed this tool of spirited divinity and… seriously? Spirited divinity? I’m really getting into this aren’t I. Ok so maybe I read a little too much Rilke this weekend, but it was worth it damn it… besides, can one really read too much Rilke? Answer now or answer later, but it is worth answering. Even if you’re not a fan, it can always be said that at least it’s not Vogon poetry.

Right, so we poured the entire bottle into the decanter and gave it another 30 minutes. The wine refused to revive. In events like this, there is one key ingredient that can usually bring wine back to life, and no, it’s not lightening, no matter how many mad doctors tell you contrary. When a wine fails, I say turn it into a wine that almost always succeeds. Turn into sangria… just add fruit.

There is something incredibly dreary about seeing a near full bottle of wine being emptied into a sink, never to be heard from again. So, I took the decanter of dying wine and added two oranges, one lemon, two limes, a handful of frozen blueberries (because I found them in the fridge), and about two cups of Sprite. I’m not sure why, but it seems there is something amazingly compelling about a container of liquid that is filled with fresh fruit. Ten minutes later, the decanter was empty, except for a few orange wedges.

I’m not sure if fruit is universally the great liquid rejuvenator. I don’t think a splash of lime juice would correctly accent a twenty year old scotch. Nor do I think a tablespoon of puréed strawberries would compliment a dirty gin martini. In vodka’s case, yes, fruit always helps. In the case of beer though, it’s a bit of a hit and miss. An orange wedge in a pint of Blue Moon receives the type of praise that some people only reserve for masterfully performed opera. At the same time, if you were to ask for a lemon wedge to be added to your Guinness, there’s a chance that some Irishman might smack you in the face due to your flagrant sacrilege toward the perfected stout. But for wine, it’s a life saver.

You know, I had a reader recently ask me if there was a point to my writing. I mean for me yes, there is always a point… the point is to write it. Then there’s the hope that the person reading it is entertained enough that at some point they smile or even laugh to themselves. For the reader though, I think that sometimes there really isn’t a point, or message. I think message is more of what they meant. And I think sometimes there might not necessarily be a message, just an observation. But today, there is a message, and that message is:

If your wine sucks add some fruit and maybe a little sugar and make that bugger into sangria.

It might not be very poetic, but it’s pretty damn useful… and it makes me happy. If I can save just one crap wine from the disheartening pour down a drain, then my mission today has been a successful one.

And to those of you that don’t drink wine, a little wedge of lemon can always add a little pep to whatever your drinking… except coffee maybe. That hurts my brain to even think about that one. You never know though, there might be someone out there are not only has tired it, but loves it. Still, I hope I never have to have that conversation.

I guess there’s only one thing left to add… Cheers!

Do you have any “save a dying wine” formulas that have worked for you?

Image Sources:
Google Images, key words: decanter, wine with friends, Rainer Maria Rilke, blue moon with orange, and sangria.

Wine Time – 2007 Pinot Noir Edition Maximilian

Wine Time – 2007 Pinot Noir Edition Maximilian

rheingauWith the November wine party now over and done, and with all the bottles still sitting on the kitchen table, I figure there is no better time than now to do another installment of Something to Wine About… a Smirk wine review.

The evening consisted of seven bottles of wine (one white, six red), a pitcher of a lime green colored alcohol blended concoction, and a wine sized bottle of high octane beer that someone brought from one of our local micro breweries. Now considering there was only eleven of us, one of which was not a wine drinker (hence the pitcher of whatever it was that I put in there) that meant there were ten people consuming the eight bottles… not too shoddy of an accomplishment.

Of the six reds, three were Pinot Noir. Of those three, the one that created the most notable “Mmm” from a majority of us was the last bottle of the evening. Yes, yes I know. At the end of an evening of drinking multiple bottles of wine, there is always going to be a unifying “Ahh” as the last bottle is opened and consumed. There are a few reasons for this actually. First, it’s a result of that glorious popping sound the cork makes when it’s removed from the bottle. I love that sound. Every time I hear that loud pop, I can’t help but start smiling.

seven_bottlesSecondly, there is a certain amount of haze inspired yumminess that occurs after six bottles of wine, meaning the more wine consumed over the span of an evening the better all the wines begin to taste. You sort of lose your unbiased opinion/observations about the wine you are drinking.

It’s an age old practice, some wines need to be saved until after the first two or three bottles, then the wine is much more drinkable. If you start with those wines, there’s a good chance the bottle will remain half to mostly full the entire night. For that reason alone I did recork the last bottle once everyone had tried some. There was only half a glass left, but at least there was enough for me to have a few more swallows the next day so that I could have a few uninhibited tastes and tell you if it was a good as I thought it was the night before.

After my sampling, here’s what I can tell you about the 2007 Pinot Noir Edition Maximilian (Rheingau). First of all it was purchased at Trader Joe’s for $5.99. bootleggersOk, no, I couldn’t tell that from tasting the wine, the friends that brought it told me that. Trader Joe’s is a store a have much love for, and am greatly saddened that there are none in Utah. Which means… yes, we drank bootlegged wine that was purchased in Nevada and smuggled into Utah for our drinking pleasure. Who knows, maybe this knowledge helped heighten our experience drinking it. I know I for one was downright giggly at the thought that I was breaking the law with every sip of that bootlegged hooch.

The wine was of Germany decent, but the only way I was able to tell you that was from reading the label, I really didn’t get any German vibes while tasting this wine. Unlike most Pinot Noirs though this wine was very light in its tannins and acidity, which gave the wine a very fruity initial and after taste. In fact, sweet and fruity consistently describes this wine from start to finish. It was missing the added flavors of wood barrels and a nice dry after taste that has been more common in other Pinot Noirs I’ve enjoyed. Had I closed my eyes and drank this wine without knowing it was a Pinot Noir, I would have sworn it was a white wine.

Taking all things into account, this would be a great red wine for people who commonly drink and enjoy sweeter white wines. It would allow the drinker to try something red, but the flavor and experience would be closer to the wine flavors they are use to and enjoy more.

To you dry red wine lovers, this is a Pinot that you probably want to skip.

And to the wine party, I thought this red was a lovely finish to all the wines we had that night. sidewaysIt was refreshing, and I enjoyed the way the fruit flavors playful danced around my tongue. Also, it did nicely accentuate the food we were munching on throughout the evening. If I had to sum it up in a Sideways inspired phrase, “Tastes pretty good to me.”

The Ansonian Wine Party… but first, How to Make Friends

Wine Time – Querceto Chianti Classico Riserva 2003

Querceto_ChiantiAh, wine. Since its conception over 8,000 years ago, wine has been a unifying staple in papers of the human experience. Yes, the art of fermenting grapes to create the heavenly concoction of wine has enabled its consumers to accomplish so many things. For one, it helps millions of people every year muster up enough courage to go to confession. It also helps the watchability of all sporting events (although beer seems to be the master of this).

Bored_fanThink I’m lying? Trust me, three bottles of wine helped enabled me to watch an entire professional baseball game, and all I can really say about the experience is, “It could have been worse.” This is something that would have been impossible for me to accomplish without the wine. Granted, I’ll never do that again, but I blame that solely on the sport and not the wine.

redWineMy preference for wine consists of red, although there are some tasty whites out there. In addition to my love of red wines, my favorites are traditionally Italian, but that might have to do with me being in Italy when I first started drinking wine.

So for my first “Something to Wine About” wine I thought I’d introduce you to Querceto Chianti Classico Riserva 2003. My introduction to this wine began shortly after one of my best friends, his friend, and I finished having dinner and headed back to my place to drink, reminisce, and possibly play the Wii, because wine makes playing the Nintendo Wii more entertaining as well.

The Querceto Chianti Classico Riserva 2003 is $20-24ish a bottle. The price will vary depending on the tax your state puts on alcohol. If you enjoy Chianti’s this one is superb for the price. Some of the sentiments that either I or my friends expressed while drinking the wine were:

“That’s really nice.”
“What is this called again?”
“Oh no, I’ll wait until that’s all gone before I start drinking beer.”
“This wine makes my entire existence happy.”
“Damn it, it’s all gone already.”
“We really should have gotten a bottle each.”

Here is my recommendations for drinking the Querceto Chianti Classico Riserva 2003:

  1. a-wine-tastingThe wine has some very nice berry aromas in it to, I do recommend sniffing your glass of this wine before drinking it.
  2. Let it breath (open the bottle and let it sit for 10 to 15 min before serving, this oxygenates the wine and gives the wine a fuller flavor).
  3. Take a slow sip and let the wine cover your entire tongue. The initial flavor fills your entire mouth, kind of like when you take a shot of breath spray, but in a good way instead of the eye waters “oh god why do I keep spraying this stuff in my mouth” kind of way.
  4. Wine_TastingPause after your initial and all yourself to experience the wine’s finish. The finish, or lingering flavor of the wine after you swallow it, was soft and lasting, which is what I enjoyed most about this wine. Like when you eat a warm cinnamon roll out of the oven, and the flavor is warm and lingering. Even after you are done the cinnamon at the back of your throat keeps reminding you of that perfect delight as you get to experience the flavor over and over again even though it’s all gone.

On a side note, the wine bottle also makes a fabulous prop for your singer if you happen to stay up until 5 in the morning playing Rock Band with two drunken friends and one sober high school friend that you haven’t seen in about 10 to 12 years. But, that’s a different story altogether… even though it happened the same night.