DRINK MORE WINE. HAVE MORE FUN.
This self-proclaimed neighborhood sommelier is a connoisseur of the $8, or less, bottle of wine found at your local grocery store, bodega or corner store. Because sometimes you just gotta be cheap and easy.

1
Jam Jar Sweet Shiraz 2013
2
Kung Fu Girl Riesling 2013
3
Le Altane Prosecco
4
Coppola Rosso 2012
5
Alamos Torrontés 2013
6
Joseph Drouhin Macon-Villages 2012
7
La Grande Ribe Côtes du Rhône Villages 2009
8
19 crimes Red Blend
9
Montmassot Picpoul de Pinet
10
Charles & Charles Rosé 2013

Jam Jar Sweet Shiraz 2013

South Africa
$8.49
Great name, nice label — love the typography and design — plus it’s organic and from South Africa for goodness sake! But it’s not kidding with the sweet in its name when it says “Sweet Shiraz.” It’s friggin sweet y’all. At first I thought it was a bit much for me.

When accompanied by savory nibbles it did balance out into something tolerable, drinkable and a bit more nuanced. But still, this shit is sweet. At first I thought, damn, this is NOT my jam.

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Kung Fu Girl Riesling 2013

Washington State
Splurge-y
$11.99
This was the first time for me that a wine’s name so perfectly captured the taste of it.

Fresh and crisp and mostly pretty dry. Not particularly nuanced but still it was a lot of fun. Just as fun as the way cool label that reminds me of comedian Margaret cho.

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Le Altane Prosecco

Italy
$9.99
This bubbly is the perfect way to celebrate anything. In this case the end of a particularly tough work week.

Like Champagne, Prosecco takes its name after a geographical region. The white wine grapes are grown primarily in the eastern part of Italy’s Veneto region.

The Humboldt Fog cheese I grabbed along with this bottle was delicious all on its own but with the Prosecco it cut through the pungent and flavorful cheese in a way that made every bite and sip perfect for each other. Heaviness and lightness — the one lifting the other and the other lending weight to its counterpart. I could not stop. I simply couldn’t stop until most of the cheese was eaten and the last drops of the bubbly were poured into my flute.

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Coppola Rosso 2012

California
Red blend
$8.99
I prepared a simple meal while listening to Liszt, From the Years of Pilgramage and Thelonius Monk, drawing inspiration from the latest Haruki Murakami novel that I’m reading. His stories are always full of delicious meals, drinking, music and long late night conversations. He sounds like one cool cat I’d love to hang with.

Very oaky to start, the wine mellowed with time. The medium body was smooth but still a little tangy with alcohol on the finish and bright around the edges with minerality. Grounded and earthy but not heavy, a nice lightness kept it from dragging too much.

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Alamos Torrontés 2013

Argentina
$7.99

I’ve had good luck with this Argentinian winery in the past. Tasty and inexpensive, it has never disappointed. I’ve especially been a fan of their Malbec for a couple of years now.

When I saw this white wine from Alamos, the first time I’d ever seen it, it was with that trust that I plucked it off the shelf and put it in my basket with the other bottles that were heading with me to the checkout counter.

Curiosity also played a part. Torrontés? What was that? I had to try it.

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Joseph Drouhin Macon-Villages 2012

Burgundy, France
Splurge-y
$11.99
Ah, yes, memories. They have a way of being called back from the depths by a scent, a song, or a meal. And of course, also by a few precious drops of wine.

When a sip from this Joseph Drouhin wine alighted upon my fleshy pink tongue it was Paris in the springtime that came bursting out of the folds of my gray matter.

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La Grande Ribe Côtes du Rhône Villages 2009

Côtes du Rhône, France
Splurge-y
$9.99
Listened to the ‘Women of Country’ playlist on Spotify while I cooked my supper. Kitty Wells and Dolly Parton kept me company and told stories of their heartbreak and strength.

The Côtes du Rhône was so smooth, no rough edges. The more time exposed to the air the better it became. It was constantly changing and evolving in the glass. It’s amazing what a little time will do, mellows out most anything (that applies to myself as well).

Minerality is smooth, acidity low, body medium. Alcohol lifts off your tongue on the finish but it’s soft. The smell of the round smooth stones that gives it that nice minerality nearly brought a tactile sensory memory – smooth, flinty stones clacking against each other in my hand.

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19 crimes Red Blend

South Australia
$8.99
I fell for the gimmick. That might have been the best part. It was fun.

The deal with the gimmick for 19 Crimes is that it’s meant to evoke the historical birth of Australia. It’s actually totally interesting. There’s a little history lesson printed on the label that hooked me in. And then there’s a surprise printed on the cork to boot!

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Montmassot Picpoul de Pinet

France

$7.99

I drank from the glass as if I was a thoughtless zombie. Sip, drink, gulp and pour. I’ve been busy working lately and it’s entirely possible that I was drinking this Picpoul de Pinet more for medicinal reasons than anything.

Struggling to find the fruit in this crisp white wine from the Languedoc region of France I was a little surprised by the acidity. It was very citrus-y, I could detect little else in the way of fruit. Even with food it remained the same, not changing into something more complex or nuanced.

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Charles & Charles Rosé 2013

Columbia Valley, Washington State
$9.99
It’s good. Buy it. Drink it. Have fun. There’s really not too much to say. I read somewhere (or was it mentioned to me by someone at the store?) that Washington State is producing some good hooch as of late and it’s really popular now. I have no proof of this, only a few really good bottles, of which this little rosé is an example.

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