If you've ever walked into a wine shop, took a look around and made a beeline for the nearest, cheapest bottle of Chardonnay you can find -- because there are too many decisions and the guy behind the counter is eyeing you suspiciously, as though he thinks you're nineteen and you probably do look nineteen because you didn't wear make-up today -- then you'll probably want to start hanging around my corner of the internet more often come the middle of the week.
Today, and every Wednesday for the foreseeable future, we're talking vino. We'll talk with some pros who can teach us about wine, we'll sample some wine, we'll talk about the wine we've drank. We'll even talk about what happens when we drink too much wine on Saturday nights with our friends...
I'm kidding about that last part. Let's just talk about wine now.
I am a white wine drinker, through and through. There are some winter evenings when red sounds warm and inviting and while I'll drink it and enjoy it, reds were never my favorite, until a friend brought a bottle of Gnarly Head Old Vine Zinfandel over to a dinner party.
Why should you drink this wine? If you're lingering somewhere between being a white-drinker and a red-drinker, a balanced red Zinfandel is a great way to segue from crisp, classic white wines to well-rounded reds.
When should you drink this wine? It is versatile enough to pair with dinner but will stand alone during happy hour, too. It has a balanced blend of spice and fruit that won't overwhelm you if you ordinarily find reds too heavy. Sip on this when you're craving aromas of blackberry, raspberry, spicy oak and jam with a smooth and juicy finish.
How should you drink this wine? Most reds are served room temperature, but for best flavor, serve this one slightly cooler than room temperature – after about 20 minutes in the refrigerator.
How long should I age this wine? Don't be fooled into thinking that all wines get finer with age. Gnarly Head winesare crafted in a "drink now" style so they won't get noticeably better over time. Drink within three years of the date on the bottle.
Food Pairings: Rich pasta or beef dishes will stand up well to this wine's robust flavor. If you happen to pick up a bottle of Gnarly Head next time you're at the store, try one of these recipes for a perfect pairing:
Classic Italian Meatballs from In Good Taste
Baked Rigatoni with Kale from In Good Taste
Spinach & Prosciutto Lasagne from In Good Taste
Big Bob Gibson's Barbecue Ribs from Use Real Butter
Spicy Chicken, Kabocha Squash & Roasted Garlic Rice from Chez Us
[photos courtesy of Goog Images]