Blackberries with a hint of chocolate. Hidden notes of tobacco and manure. Flabby mouthfeel. Lightly tinged with Leechee nut. What the hell am I talking about? Wine!
Well, no, more like stuffy wine writers and the bull crap they spew when tasting wines. OK – they do actually know what they are talking about but they refuse to speak English that a regular Joe momma can understand. It’s frustrating and then it leaves me dumbfounded when I go to the store and choose a wine. I tend to stick to what I know, which is predictable if not a bit boring. Enter Carolyn Evans Hammond and her book Good, Better, Best Wines: A No-Nonsense Guide to Popular Wines.
This book takes the mystery out of buying perfectly good (or better or best) wines for dinner, dinner parties or just plain old get-togethers. It’s short, sweet and to the point. Her motto is “I sample, you drink.” Done!
Now, I love a good wine and I especially love a good wine that is effortless to buy. Add to that buying it at the regular grocery store (or ABC store is that is the alcohol arrangement in your state), and I’m delirious. Unlike some wine guides that talk about rare vintages that you’ll never been able to locate, let alone afford, Hammond’s book is all about wines that you can easily find in most stores for under $15
She breaks wines down by grape, explains a little about the grape and tells you how to consider the wine. Take, for instance, Merlot. She describes the essence of Merlot (chocolate covered cherries) and explains that while super expensive Merlots are the stuff of legend, there are some great affordable ones as well.
Only beware, cheap Merlot is usually not all that good, so stay above the $10 price point and you should be happy. Now, that’s good solid information! Then, she goes on to describe a ton of options that you are likely to find where you typically shop.
Makes a momma feel downright confident about choosing a good pairing of wine and food.
photo credit: delphaber