About 20 years ago, I heard red wine is good for you. Probably bullshit, but that doesn’t keep me from drinking 2-3 bottles a month.
And not that good red wine either. I drink the cheap shit — straight from Trader Joes. Get ready to bend down low, because my bottles are on the bottom shelf.
I can’t tell the fucking difference and neither can most of you. I’ve heard about wine snobs, but I have yet to meet one.
At our Savage parties, we pour out our cheap bottles and no one complains. The Bear and I put ice in our wine, which gets raised eyebrows from my father and a few other fuckers. But try it — you’ll like it.
We live in Arizona, where 6 months out of the year “room temperature” can be 80+ degrees. We need that ice like grocery stores need refridgerators.
Don’t laugh, soon climate change is going to make the rest of you drop what’s left of the Earth’s precious ice in your wine too.
With the mountains of brands, picking a wine can be a damn nightmare. They say most people end up picking a pretty label.
My (illegal) Alien Friend
A long time ago, I met an alien. He said he was “from France”. Maybe he was illegal, maybe he wasn’t. I heard he was working on a student visa, and like all foreigners, I figured he was a liar and a cheat — why else leave a country with free college and health care and come here? It’s because we make liars and cheats President.
Turns out I was wrong. He was funny, smart, worked hard. The programming team in Dublin called him “that fucking French Genius” (must be said with an Irish accent).
He married an American or two, (not at the same time) had kids and became a full citizen a few years ago.
He grew up outside Lyon. In one way it’s like Iowa — sooner or later every Iowan husks corn. Go Huskers. Well, every kid in Lyon picks grapes.
Alle Cueilleurs? (yeah I used Google translate to make that shit up).
“We smoked weed all day, and they gave us bottles at night,” my little alien friend said. “Some really great and expensive bottles too.”
Why did he leave this high life?
“I started dreaming about picking grapes,” he said. “It was all I thought about day and night.”
He had the Bear and I over to his house one night for dinner. He opened the wine, I got the ice and was busy slogging the first few swigs down my gullet. Tasted a little like liquid dog food. A little bitter, a little stinky — but palatable in a pinch.
“Let it breathe,” he said.
What the Fuck? He poured in a “decanter” (oooh aren’t we fucking fancy) and we waited.
Sure enough, 20 minutes later it was smooth and tastey and slid down like… really good wine. (The simulation we are living in doesn’t have any similies for wine).
He later explained the regions in France — you know Burgundy, Bordeaiux, Champagne… well Cotes du Rhone near Lyon is one.
“They are really good red table wines, and there are some excellent wines from there,” he said.
The next week at Trader Joes, the Bear and I found a bottle from Cotes du Rhone for $4. Didn’t kill me. Twenty years later, I’m still going back a couple times a month for more.
Every once in a while, I’ll go up to $8 a bottle, but that’s only when we are having company and they demand the “high end” stuff.
One day I was in Tucson and hauling up my bottles from the bottom shelf. There was a young couple staring at the shelves.
“You look like you would know about wine,” the skinny fuck with brown hair said. The big port belly, santa gray hair and sallow look from the liver damage must have been his clue.
“This is what I know,” I said. “French wine, Cotes du Rhone, bottom shelf. It will never be terrible, and you won’t go broke.”
His girlfriend flashed a quick look of horror, and they stepped to top shelf from California. Your student loan tax dollars at work.
My One Mistake
I’ve made only one mistake with my strategy.
We were in a restaurant in Dublin with my French friend, and this giant Canadian. We were on a trip for work and had brought the wives.
I was the oldest man at the table, and they asked me to order wine for the 6 of us. Shit. I should have delegated to Frenchie. The Canadian’s wife would only drink white. Fuck.
There’s no Cotes Du Rhone white at Trader Joes. But then I spotted something similar on the menu, and told the waitress we would have the Cotes du Rhone white. She looked at me funny, but quickly brought back a bottle.
There was a little goat on the label. She poured.
Apparently a little smell of cat piss can be a sign of a fine white wine. But this shit went the full 9 yards — they may have been making it with water and the alley cats out back. Smell, taste, aftertaste, all the way to next morning breath. Cat piss.
Read the label — Product of South Africa — “Goats Do Roam.”
That was the day I knew I had to break down and buy a pair of reading glasses.
Now I can always check the label and see; you can’t go wrong with Cotes du Rhone.