In Vino Veritas

I’ve never been a wine drinker. Many times I’ve tried, and many times I’ve failed to enjoy it. But through the years, I’ve made it to the point where I can drink a glass of Champagne (or other non-Frenchy sparkling celebration wine) without trouble.

But still, wine eluded me.

That is, until we went to Texas de Brazil, our favorite churrascaria in the world, with a wine drinker. He ordered a bottle of red wine (I had no idea what variety) and offered me some. I decided, why not, I’ll try a splash.


(This picture of my trip to the Texas de Brazil salad bar reminds me that Scott still has his birthday coupon for a free dinner. I think it expires in a week and a half. Which means we may have to go have a meat festival in the very near future.)

Maybe it was the combination of red wine with all of those delicious meaty foods. Or maybe it was just the right kind of red wine. Turns out it was an Oregon pinot noir from King Estates. And immediately, I was on the hunt for other (less pricey) red wines that I might enjoy.

I’ve tried a number of things so far, and pinot noir is definitely one of the styles that’s up my alley. I’ve tried bolder wine, but can’t handle the tannins (which has always been my problem in the past) — that sharp bite that makes my tongue want to curl up and die, and makes my mouth suddenly feel dry as a desert.

I visited our local Total Wine superstore, where they also pointed me toward a variety of red wine blends. They’re meant to be lighter, fruitier, “juicier” (as the lady at Total Wine said, which is kind of disturbing), and generally meant for casual drinking without having to pair them with any particular food.

So far, my favorite is from Costco — the MacMurray Ranch Central Coast Pinot Noir, 2010. (That’s MacMurray as in Fred MacMurray, actor from days of yore.) But I also enjoyed Sexy Wine Bomb, one of the red blends. I’m in the middle of Ecco Domani’s pinot noir right now, and have blends from Barefoot and Fancy Pants (as well as a fresh bottle of Fred MacMurray) waiting in the wings. I got the Fancy Pants pretty much for the name, although the description on the back sounds good.

It’s cheaper for me than even cheap beer (and I like the cheap beer) — I can make a $10 bottle last two weeks, because I only have a half-glass or so at a time. And since our room temperature here is usually 76 to 78, and red is apparently meant to be consumed at cellar temperature (more in the 58-65 range), I drop in a couple of those plastic reusable ice cubes and it chills perfectly.

(I still haven’t bought wineglasses, and I doubt I’m going to. I just use our regular glassware (Old Fashioned size) from IKEA. I believe the product name is GODIS.)

So let me know, one and all — any red wines to recommend? Especially if they clock in at under ten bucks.

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  1. We enjoy the Francis Coppola Rosso.

  2. Not a wine recommendation, but an accessory. Get yourself a VinVac (or its equivalent).

    missy Reply:

    The Vacu Vin will be arriving from Amazon on Wednesday. 🙂 I’ve been using the Rabbit stoppers, but with the Vacu Vin, I can have more than one bottle open at a time (since I’m a one-glass per night girl).

  3. I started as a sparkling wine “enthusiast” as well, because whenever I had wine at a party, it would never tell me when I’d had ENOUGH… and then I’d end up on the floor. Stupid. But I knew red wine was supposed to be good for me, so I switched to SPARKLING reds. Then I found a bunch of REALLY cheap, REALLY good wines at Trader Joe’s, as well as REALLY good information from the wine geeks that work there.

    WHEN you get your nearest Trader Joe’s (Winter Park, coming soon), you can hit them up for a PLETHORA of under-ten-bux wines that you may very well enjoy. My hubby was more of a Cabernet fan (MUCH too dry for me), as the Merlots and Pinots were too “sweet” for him … ennyhoo, we wanted something we could both drink on a more-or-less nightly basis, and not with FOOD, per se, but with a couple of TJ’s Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups. Yeah.

    So far, at $3.99/bottle, we like La Finca Tempranilla (from Argentina), particularly if we’ve just had STEAK, Purple Moon Shiraz if we haven’t, and the Green Fin Red Table Wine (a peppery-finishing fruity blend that works well with or without food). Yes, they are ALL available at $3.99/bottle at your local Trader Joe’s (when your store finally arrives). I like picking wines that have a fun label (I used to drink the Barefoot Bubbly for that reason).

    missy Reply:

    I know you didn’t mean it as such, but all of these mentions of “when we get a TJ’s” are kind of torture. I don’t think that new location is opening until 2014. 🙂

    But don’t you fret! As soon as that mother opens, we’ll be there! Not only for the wine, but for every other damn thing I miss so dearly.

    (Maybe we’ll have to road trip to Gainesville soon for a TJ’s run. It’s only 90 miles away.)

    BI Fan Reply:

    OMG, I am so sorry! My daddy lives in Sorrento, and he’s desperately waiting for the Winter Park location… I assumed since everyone was ready for it that you’d have it in the next few months! I’ll have to tell him about Gainesville, in case he decides to go road-trippin’.

    I had to move to NC from Cali, just as a new store was opening in the area I now live, so I didn’t have to “miss so dearly” all those things all of my friends have to miss. There were a lot of debates about our particular location (a whole CITY away was supposed to get it but put up a fuss, thinking it would drain biz from Whole Paycheck), so there were delays getting ours (no delays for me, thankfully). Hopefully, Winter Park will not do what the Greensboro folks did, and you’ll get yours TOOT SUITE! (or however that little phrase is spelled)

    Again, sorry to torture you. No more TJ’s comments from me. Thank you for your time. 🙂

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