Wino Night Part II: New Year’s Cheer

Happy New Year 1923 Public Domain

I had one of the best New Years in a while. It was unfortunate that a few of my friends could not make it, but an intimate laid back but merry gab fest was exactly what I needed.

Better yet, there was wine. A whopping four bottles worth… and fortunately we had numerous people to share it with, so I did not get disgustingly drunk, but only slightly altered.  Things were further made fortunate in that my friend graciously let us stay the night. A work of heroic virtue that, especially since she’d gotten back from Christmas not that long before.

So… Wine #1 was a red, mostly because it did not need to be chilled. We had… Red Rock Merlot. I felt an overwhelmingly hipster urge to watch Sideways again, with careful attention to the Merlot rant.  This is not to say anything about the wine, per se, but I can never drink or think of drinking Merlot without it.  What can I say, I hate hipsters ironically.

However, this trend of visiting restaurants ironically and actually giving someone money to eat food you know you don’t like is just wrong– an excuse to be rude to wait staff and leave lousy tips. If you absolutely must pay to eat food you know you won’t enjoy– at least be a gent and leave a decent tip. It is what actual human beings live off of, after all.  Wait staff “salary” is, well, a decorative excuse to have one.

Indeed, most bad service in restaurants boils down to, if they pretend to pay us, we will pretend to work. Unfortunately, this wage slave mentality fails to acknowledge that one’s efforts might lead to better tips, and better tips, might lead to enough extra dosh to find a better restaurant to work at. Ok, rant is done now. Mostly.

Red Rock. Photo taken by Husband.

Red Rock. Photo taken by Husband.

At any rate, we were talking about wine.  So I was about to tell you about Red Rock. The only reason why I remember is that I now have a tasteing book that I carry around in my purse. It  was a cause for comment among my tribe… alas, one step closer to snob-dom.

Well… remember that thing about a wine book?  Well, let’s just say I’m winging it this time. I’ll come back later if/when it turns up and update precipitously.

Frankly, it was nice, but not remarkable.  Not too sweet, not too dry, just… well not quite perfect, but still it worked for me. This is not a big fruit wine. It is kind of dry and interesting (a good thing in wine, usually) and the only red so far to combine raspberry and asparagus in a good way. Don’t try that at home.

It was what I’d call a “black wine” because it looked totally black… the red only comes through in the sunlight. And we were vampires drinking in the dark.

So it was black, even under our brilliant electric lights.  It has more body and sweetness than H M S Rattlesnake, but this is more of a middle of the road semi-dry that emphatically doesn’t scream “I paid $5 bucks for it”. It does not come off as cheap.  Because it was offered by mine host, I have no idea how  much they actually paid for it.   There is a nice warmth at the finish.  It also had a nicer boquete. Almost velvety and slightly floral.

taken by Husband

taken by Husband

The next wine I tasted probably qualifies as the sweetest wine I’ve ever actually liked.   Yes sirree, this is going to have a real reputation someday. Rex-Goliath wine– for big sweetness. Unfortunately the big sticker saying “Sweet and Delicious” is cut off.

My typical palette tends toward the mellower, sweeter wines, but after optimal sweetness, the cliff is steep and sudden that has a pile of my least favorite wines at the bottom. This is not a sophisticated wine, and the label warns one amply.    I mean, it has a ginormous Mothra-sized rooster on the label. Um, okay, that’s what we thought that night– and I’m sticking to it. (We read 47 story rooster. So sue us.  It is more fun our way.)

The flavors are dragon fruit and grapefruit. It is not syrupy at all, but somehow manages to be weightier than water without too much coating action that ‘sweeter than thous’ can err toward. The color is a rich gold which sparkles in the light. I wish I had a picture of it.  But it disappeared rather quickly. I’m assured that this is not an expensive wine. But you don’t really mind. It is too charming and easy drinking for you to care.

The bouquet does have some honeysuckle and pollen as well as the sekel pear and dragon fruit with a little tease of grapefruity bitterness. Though admittedly, in the wine itself, the bitterness is less apparent, and indeed is a relief against the background of sweet punch.

I would totally make a cocktail out of this stuff… or, say a wine compote for plums and blueberries and strawberries or something. Adding more pears would  loose something… what this wine needs is contrast. Maybe a dash of bitters or Vermouth, and some sparkling water to make a sodie pop for adults.

Taken by Husband. Says "Vance Vinyards; Floyd, Iowa" Yes, its a real place. Fun-sized, but real.

Taken by Husband. Says “Vance Vinyards; Floyd, Iowa”
Yes, its a real place. Fun-sized, but real.

However, the next wine was exactly what this wine was missing… it was dry as a desert. And yet –somehow– I liked it even better than the HMS Rattlesnake. It was so complex, with so many flavors I spent 15 minutes writing them all down. It sure is a shame that I don’t have that in front of me. Also, my friend’s house is now unavailable for at least a week… so the upgrade will take a while.  It was a radical contrast to the previous wine, and I was sorely tempted to blend them together to make something awesome.

But it was a thing in and of itself. It had a note of hay, enough but not too much sorrel, fiddle head fern, asparagus, some mineral notes that neatly avoided being metallic, an ozone/pine note that the uncharitable would call “windex-y”, but in a good way. You have to try it to believe it.

It was way outside my comfort zone on the dry area, but I think that people who like the really dry wines will love this stuff.  Hey, I don’t and I really enjoyed this, so it’s possible I may have to revise my thoughts about my own palette.  I’m still pretty new at this.

This last one is the start-up vinyard that I was talking about in my prelude to a wino post, back before I realized my time would be eaten up by return of the living dead project part II.  I had to revise that thing about 30 times, but that was partially my own fault.  To make a long story short, it got done– eventually.  And there was much rejoicing.  Sorta like this post.   🙂

The last wine was the Orange Label Champagne.  Since I doubt I could even spell the name of it properly without my little book, I will have to wait until then.  I will only say that it avoided all the major sins and yet managed to be unremarkable.  IT was good, but not memorable. That was left to the company and the other wines, all of which did a fine job.


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