and speaking of wine…

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Have I mentioned how much I love it? No? Well, let me rectify that immediately.

I love a good full-bodied red wine, preferably low in tannins. I love it so much. So so much.

Here are some reasons you might want to develop a love affair with red wine too.

Red wine is full of polyphenols including proanthocyanidin; a powerful antioxidant.  In fact, some red wines have more antioxidants than pomegranate juice, fresh blueberries and even more than in the “super food”, Açaí.

Why do we want antioxidants? Because they are totally awesome, that’s why!

For example, resveratrol, a powerful antioxidant compound, protects your heart and arteries against the nastiness caused by saturated fat in your diet. So drinking one or two glasses of red wine a day can help protect your heart and prevent cardiovascular disease. How awesome is that?

In addition to resveratrol, red wine also contains several other antioxidants, which can slow the signs of aging and prevent a number of degenerative illnesses like type 2 diabetes and osteoporosis. Studies also show evidence that it may help prevent Alzheimer’s and cancer. So, drinking one or two glasses of red wine each day can help protect you from many of these diseases, all while keeping you looking younger, longer.

It’s like a miracle drug, I tell you!

So…have I convinced you yet? No?

Before you scrunch up your face and say that you’ve tried red wine, and you just don’t like it. And that its lame-ass step sister, white wine, is your favourite, I implore you to give it another shot.

Okay, that was a pretty harsh criticism of white wine. Let me backtrack. I do enjoy white wine (under duress, and when red wine is simply not available); and have even been known to voluntarily order a white wine spritzer on a hot day.

But I find white wine… meh, at best. As in, it’s not great, it’s not horrible. It’s just meh.

Red wine, on the other hand…well, as I’ve pointed out – pretty much cures whatever ails you. 😉

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If you’re confused by all the choices, and have been disappointed in the previous red wine selections you’ve made, I suggest using the experts at your local wine store, go to tastings, ask friends for recommendations. Find out what your palate responds to through trial and error. That’s the fun part!

And while it’s easy to find a good expensive bottle of red wine, the real magic is in sourcing good inexpensive one. Anyone can drop $50 and bring home something tasty, smooth, aromatic… But, when you can find a great wine for less than $20, or better still, less than $15 — HO HO!! Now, that, my friends, is impressive!

If you want to hedge your bets, then just focus on wines that have been rated. Anything in the high 80’s should be a good wine. Anything over 90 points should taste like the nectar of the gods. Finding a wine that scored over 90 points for less than $20 is my favourite game. I will caveat this by saying that at home in Toronto, where the government controls the sale of all our alcohol, this is a difficult game to play well.

Alcohol here is taxed at ..oh..about a million percent – so if you were to comparison shop a bottle from pretty much anywhere in the U.S. with the same bottle here in Canada, you would see a crazy price differential. But we have free healthcare. 😉

With the stage set, you can now perhaps appreciate why, during my most recent visit to my vacation home in Vegas, I took advantage of the fact that we were driving, not flying, and brought back a couple of cases of the good stuff. 🙂

I decided to up the ante, though, and changed the game to: “Find a >90 point wine for less than $10”.

What’s that? Did I hear, “It can’t be done, Nancy!”?

Oh thee of little faith.

Mission accomplished!!!

And, even with the duty and taxes my lovely government required me to pay upon re-entry into my homeland, my average cost per bottle ended up being $13. For wines that scored > 90 points!  My wine fridge here at home in Toronto is now replenished – and my wallet is happy.

A restocked wine fridge is a happy wine fridge.

A restocked wine fridge is a happy wine fridge.

All is right in the world.

Be good to yourself; drink red wine!

Get moving!

xoxo nancy

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57 thoughts on “and speaking of wine…

  1. hahahahaha 😀

    I could have written this!! word for word exactly what i think!! (apart from the bit about Canada and tax…I don’t live there so I have no idea…but UK alcohol tax is pretty high too)

    • I bought several different ones, Christine. And my secret weapon…Costco! Yes, you read that right, Costco. In Vegas, the Costco carries booze, of all sorts, but their wine selection is exceptional. I literally honed in on any bottle marked at $9.99 or less, which had a rating of 90 pts or better. Here are some of the ones I bought:
      *2009 Chateau Chantemerle, Bordeaux (France)
      *2009 Prieure de Cenac, Malbec-Merlot blend (France)
      *2007 Las Acequias Mendoza, Cabernet Sauvignon (Argentina)
      *2007 Viña Eguía Rioja Reserva, Tempranillo (Spain)

      I’m missing a couple (sorry..already finished and recycled the bottles!). I know there was another Malbec from Argentina.

      Anyway, moral of the story is that I bought wines ranging from $7.99 to 9.99 all with ratings of 90 points or higher. And so far, not a single one has disappointed. 🙂
      Happy shopping!

    • I like beer too Carrie! There’s something about pairing a great wine with the perfect meal… Or with dark chocolate… Or with aged cheese. Oh my, I’m getting thirsty. And hungry. 🙂

  2. May I suggest a wine from the oldest wine producing region in California? Wente Brother’s Crane Ridge Merlot is one of my favorites. It also happens to be made here in my hometown. Wente Brother’s is the only winery that remained in operation in California during prohibition. They produced the sacramental wines for the Catholic Church.

    • Pat, wine suggestions are always welcome! 🙂 I will definitely check this out. I’m overdue for a trip to wine country. It was this time last year I made it to the Russian River Valley/Napa. I look forward to trying this one! One of my absolute favourites from the region is Sunce, a tiny winery that only produces small lots. Their prices aren’t super cheap, but the wine is truly exceptional.

      • A really great place to stay in the Sonoma area is a little town called Occidental. They have one of the best hotels I have stayed at (they are as good if not better than the Mark Hopkins in SF). The Union Hotel has a great Italian dinner and Howard’s Cafe servers up a locally grown and organic breakfast (includes a juice bar). The Armstrong Redwood Preserve is about a 30 minute drive away and has some great trails to hike.

  3. No need to convince me – I love wine (and Costco)! If you are adventurous and want and a chance to try wines from all around the world take a look at this Seattle company: http://garagiste.com/ I have been ordering from them for a year now and have yet to be disappointed! They have a fantastic start up story and a devoted following. Of course we can pick up our orders and don’t have to wait for shipping but their reputation is fantastic…

    • I’ll definitely check them out — thanks Lisa! Unfortunately I can only take advantage while I’m in Vegas because shipping across the border is a joke in terms of time and expense. Thanks for the link. Can’t wait to investigate!

  4. My pallet is not a discriminative one. I will drink pretty much whatever is set before me. On one hand, that’s pretty unsophisticated. On the other, I have no problem finding a wine under $10. However, I am going to try and develop my pallet and search for the higher rated wines. There is a very nice wine store, I am told, only blocks from me. I’ve felt too naive to walk in there before, but I’m feeling a little smarter after this post. Thanks!

    • The wine snobs can be pretty intimidating. (I have several in my life… :-)) Honestly, go to that wine store. I found that at Total Wine (in Vegas) – my wine mecca, not only do they have things laid out really clearly, including ratings where applicable, but they’ll also have “Tom’s Pick” or “Sue’s Pick” (staff favourites). Just read the tasting notes (if they’re available); if the stuff listed is stuff you think you’d like (Finishes with a strong black cherry note and a hint of licorice, for example) then give it a whirl. 🙂 They’ll also often include ideas on what foods it best pairs with. Good luck!

      • I’ve been meaning to come back and let you know. I was not impressed. The wines were not well organized at all. There were bottles and cases all over the place, and we would have absolutely needed to ask for exactly what we wanted. No signs, no suggestions either by signs or verbally. Not a place to browse at all. He was not very receptive to company, eating his lunch with the dirty wine glasses from the tasting the night before still sitting out. He said, “If you tell me what you’re looking for, I can help you, but most of my people drive a long way and know exactly what they want.” He did say he specialized in reasonably priced wines, but had no interest in drawing us in. So we left and I will never go back there. BUT that will not stop me from checking out other wine shops. Thanks again for your information. I look forward to using it in a more friendly setting!

      • Wow! That sucks!
        I’m not sure where you went – but …don’t go back! 🙂
        Total Wine here in Vegas is massively large, so they’ve always got at least 10 people working at any given time. I find their layout very easy to navigate: wines by varietal and wines by region. If you don’t know what you’re looking for, they usually have displays at the end of a few aisles with displays featuring highly rated wines (eg Top 10 wines of 2013), along with index cards describing the tasting notes, etc. Sorry your wine outing was such a disappointing experience. Glad to here you aren’t giving up on the quest!

        *and final thought: All the wines I bought and referred to in this post were actually purchased from Costco. (Costco in Vegas/NV sells alcohol; I know many other states don’t allow Costco to). Costco is an example of a place where you are definitely not going to get any assistance or any questions answered. That said, the bottles with ratings were clearly marked, and I bought them blind (based on my criteria of > 90 pts and < $10). I bought 5 or 6 different wines that trip, and all but one were exceptionally good. And even that one was good, just not great. But at $7.99, I wasn't that broken up about it. 🙂 Trial and error!

      • And I am all about the trial when it comes to wines 😉 Trial with friends is even better! Trial with friends and food? Sublime!

  5. You had me at ‘And speaking of wine”. Hell, I love red wine so much I don’t even discriminate between those rating > 90 and those which don’t rate at all. I’d even drink cask wine and clean skins. But a great bottle of Australian red from Barossa Valley sided next to a hearty Italian pasta with insalada caprese – forgetaboutit!

    • Dude, I have been known to partake in wine-in-a-box. Not proud of it, but hey, a girls gotta do what a girls gotta do. 🙂
      ps I love Barossa Valley wines, in particular the Shiraz. Love!

  6. I love this post! I feel like red wine is like a cat. Some people don’t realize they are a cat person until they find the right cat for them. There’s a winery near my dad’s in Florida and I love their reds. It’s well worth it to me to have those babies shipped here to Virginia.

    PS – anyway to make booze a healthy aspect of your life is A-Okay with me 🙂

  7. Pingback: And speaking of wine… | melaniejomoore

  8. Red wine is the nectar of the gods. Have you tried Tikal Malbec? It’s about $17.00 here in New England. I used to drink almost exclusively bordeaux, but was priced out. Super seconds are so expensive now and just not worth the price. I really love Aussie wines. The Mollydooker line is fantastic.

    • Haven’t had the Tikal – I’ll look for it. Love the Mollydooker – good choice! I just got an absolute steal on a Muriel Rioja 2008, rated at 92 points, for $19.99. Love it when that happens!!

      • Nice deal! There’s a place nearby where I work that is liquidating both the Mollydooker Carnival of Love and Enchanted path. Both are usually 89.99, now on sale for 34.99. Sweet!

      • I have half a case of the Carnival of Love. They sell The Boxer for 19.99. However, their prices for high end Cali is steep. Phelps Insignia is through the roof and even what used to be reasonable priced wines like Pahlmeyer are very expensive.

      • So weird how different parts of the US have such huge variances in the prices of wines from different regions. A new colleague of mine in the NYC office, and a huge wine snob, was explaining that French wines are very expensive in his area, but Italian wines are very cheap.

        In Vegas, where we have our second home, I am just thrilled with ALL wine pricing, because in Canada we are hostage to the crazy taxes and limited distribution (i.e. We can only buy wine (and all booze) at the government-run liquor store, where it’s taxed at 50% or some such nonsense.)

      • That’s incredible to have a 50% tax on wine. Ouch. I’ve always wondered about pricing. You can buy Bordeaux at K&L in California cheaper that you can buy it in Boston. Go figure!

      • And what about how cheap you can buy it in France? For Ed’s 40th, I took him to a bunch of awesome places in Europe, but the trip culminated in a drive through two wine regions in France (the Alsatian region along the Route du Vin from Strasbourg to Dijon, and then the Burgundy region as we made our way from Dijon back to Paris). A wine tasting we did at the Marche au Vin in Beaune was the highlight. The winery is in a converted 13th century monastery. I bought a 1984 Nuits St George for the equivalent of about $40. Makes me want to cry that I can’t just drive there once a week to restock. 🙂

      • That must have been a trip for the ages. I’ll assume that you paid for it using a typical Nancy closing at work. I simply love white burgundies, especially puligny-montrachet. I love the buttery viscous sensation in my mouth. Too pricey these days, and there really isn’t a reasonable substitute for it.

      • By then I was knee deep in my bigger career at the software behemoth and making stupid money. It was a wonderful trip.

        Poor bastard is turning 50 in October, and I’m planning a trip to Peru to trek to Macchu Pichu. Needless to say it won’t be as relaxing as the trip to Netherlands, Belgium and France he got for his 40th. 🙂

      • Are you kidding me? Macchu Pichu is on my short list of must see places. He’s a luck man! I’d love to see Puma Punku in Bolivia. Making stupid money is very good for site seeing. 🙂

      • I’m sure he’ll love Macchu Pichu; just not sure he’ll be thrilled with the 80 kms we’ll be hiking to get there. 🙂

        The big paycheque was pretty awesome, but came at a price. I was a monster bitch, raging hard, all the time. Also I gained 40 lbs in 5 years, so there’s that.

      • Hell, I gained 40 lbs at my worst and didn’t get a cool vacation out of it. I trust that you’ll take oodles of photos at Machu Pichu and post them on your blog!

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