I heart wine
I love wine. Looooove wine. I like to smell it, taste it, roll it around in a glass. My relationship with wine is very similar to the one that women on television have with designer shoes - I window shop for bottles, fantasize how I will impress guests with it at the next party and take pictures of every bottle I drink so that it is easy to pair bottles with food. I love wine.
That said, I am one of the relatively uneducated masses. I am neither a serious connossieur nor even a regular reader of reviews. Actually, the scientist in me finds the multitude of nouns and adjectives channeling everything from cigar smoke and blackberries to leather and soil kind of humourous. I understand that some people take wine very seriously and some even develop a career purely in the service of wine distribution, menu design or even creation. I am not that person. Wine is at my dinner table, my parties and sometimes my cafe table with only me. I have little to no patience for the kind of pretension required to elevate a $20 bottle of wine to a McQueen ballgown or decimate it to the wellington's worn by sewage maintenance workers. Wine is to be had - what matters is that you like it.
All of that said - I have a very small budget. A budget that can put me in batch mixing, chemically altered wine territory...not a nice place to be.
...which is why the Trader Joe's wine shop is the perfect store for me to choose wines right now.
From here on out my recommendations will be brief. My first recommendation is a pinotage. Pinotage grape is a hybrid of Pinot Noir and Hermitage grapes (known as Cinsault grapes everywhere else). I've had many and loved many a Pinotage, but these days I'm on a serious budget...so my recommendation is
Zafrika Pinotage, Western Cape, South Africa 2010 - ($4.99- $7 depending on time of year)
Light-medium bodied red. Long finish. Dry, tart, berry flavour with some vanilla and ends with spice. To be honest, vanilla is the only word I could think of - the note isn't exactly vanilla.
It needs to breathe
The nose on this wine, and all Pinotages I've had to date, is rubbery. I mean it literally smells like rubber. This wine is also really alcoholic (14%). You can't really drink this stuff straight out of the bottle - it really needs to be decanted and allowed to breath. Pour it into something else and give it 20 minutes and it evens out and becomes quiet tasty.
Soooo good with hamburgers and pizza
Pinotages pair really well with hearty stews and game. One of the reasons I love them is that they are a great wine for low down dirty food options that most of us love but do not eat all that often - like hamburgers, pizza and cheddar cheese. Given breathing time, this is also wine that can stand on its own.
Again - in case you forget...decant, decant, decant.