Archive | 10:49 pm

An Afternoon of Wine

24 Dec

I am fortunate to have had a few good drinking buddies over the years. One of them, Alex, was a fellow Resident Assistant at Clark Kerr Campus. Being German (or Bavarian, more properly) he was quite fond of drinking. Being in a fraternity (and Korean) I, too, was quite fond of drinking. Unfortunately, with the exception of Brian and Diane and a few others, there weren’t too many drinkers on our staff.

No matter. Drink alone and you’re an alcoholic. Drink with someone else, even to the point of utter disregard for personal safety, and you’re just being sociable.

Alex was home for the holidays and decided to take the Amtrak down to Burbank, where I picked him up. We headed promptly to the Los Angeles Farmers Market on Fairfax, where we lunched magnificently at Moishe’s–he had the falafel plate while I had chicken shawerma. Afterwards, we went to Monsieur Marcel for a post-meal glass of wine. As we fully intended on drinking much more during the course of the day we decided to start with whites.

Continue reading

Three-Buck Gewurztraminer

24 Dec

I’ve gotten my first ribbing from a college friend who for privacy’s sake we’ll call Matt D. (no, that’s too obvious… let’s say M. Dally). Verbatim off my Facebook wall:

Could you possibly cover best wines for $1.99?”

The answer M. D. (that’s better!) wants is Charles Shaw, the wine we know and love (or hate) as “Two-Buck Chuck.”

There are legions of people who love Charles Shaw–there are even apparently wine critics who like Charles Shaw. I personally don’t like Charles Shaw (though their 2005 Nouveau Gamay Beaujolais Valdiguie was actually not bad–I must add the disclaimer, though, that the Shaw version of beaujolais is NOT actually made from gamay and is instead made from the valdiguie grape, and that it is not nearly as delicious or refined as actual beaujolais from France) because it just tastes watery and cheap, off-balance, and “out of whack” if you will. Of course, I don’t have a degree in viticulture from UC Davis, so this judgment is a matter of opinion.

Trader Joe’s does have a *decent* gewurztraminer from J.W. Morris, a subsidiary of JFJ Bronco Winery (which is owned by Fred Franzia, the man behind the college staple of Franzia, the wine in a box, and the Trader Joe’s incarnation of Charles Shaw). It’s very sweet–maybe a bit too sweet–but surprisingly doesn’t suffer from that plasticine taste so many cheap white wines have. You could probably spend more money and get a worse wine.  Besides, you could throw it in the fridge for an hour and the cold will mask the imperfections!

Also, M. D., this wine retails at Trader Joe’s for $2.99!!! It’s not $1.99, but hell, it falls in the lower range of the venerable $2-$5 price category.