Wines, opinions, and rantings

(holy fuck, I went on a rambling spree)


I never thought I would be a fan of wine, but I’ve learned that if you find one that isn’t…so gross the only decent thing to do is dump the entire bottle down the sink after one sip, then sometimes you find some fun wines to enjoy. It’s also fun when your local Kroger does wine tastings almost every Saturday afternoon for a couple hours.

I’m willing to try new things and the whole “must be super expensive to be good” is something that I don’t go by. I’m a cheap bastard (as I’ve mentioned quite a few other times), so unless I know I really enjoy the wine, I have a limit as to what I’m willing to spend on the bottle.

Which is why I somehow ended up with ten bottles of wine a couple weeks ago.

Normally, I’m willing to go between two, maybe three, bottles of wine until they’re done. But, we decided to try some new stuff. And, if it sucks, well, I’ve got other bottles to try out.

Left to right: Duplin’s Black River Red, Gabbiano’s Chianti, Chateau Morrisette’s Blackberry and Red Mountain Laurel, and Banrock Station’s Shiraz Cabernet Sauvingnon.

+ Duplin was pretty good, it was kind of like the perfect middle between Barefoot’s Sweet Red and Cupcake’s Red Velvet.

+ Gabbiano was really gross. It wasn’t as gross as Tomasillo’s Cherry wine (it is the only wine I have spit out into the sink). It was kind of like a mix between stomach bile and really bad apple cider vinegar. Usually, I’ll give a wine I don’t like two sips to see if it was just the first sip was just funky. I dumped it out.

Not even liver and fava beans could save this.

+ Chateu’s Blackberry: I got to try this at the wine tasting and it is really great. It’s like a lightly alcoholic blackberry juice with a bit of a twang.

+ Chateau’s Red Mountain Laurel: Since the Blackberry was awesome, I’d agreed to try another one they did. This one is really good. I’m figuring that if I try two or three more, then this pretty much means Chateau Morrisette can do no wrong.

+ Banrock Station’s is…weird. I’m not sure if I like it, I’m not sure if I hate it, and I’m not sure if I should dump it or not.

Left to Right: Barefoot’s Moscato Spumante, Williamsburg Winery’s James River White, Big House’s The Birdman (Pinot Grigio), Barefoot’s Red Moscato, and Williamsburg Winery’s Governor’s White.

+ Barefoot’s champagne: It tastes like apples, which I found bizarre. Jamie seemed to enjoy his small taste, but I wasn’t too crazy about it. The downside of this is that after the bubbles are mostly gone, it’s a pretty gross drink. I’ll stick with Verdi for my bubbly-stuff.

+ James River: I can’t remember if I’ve opened this one yet. I don’t think I have.

+ Birdman: This is the one I bought because I like the label. It’s actually a pretty good white wine, and I’ve really enjoyed it. I think it was on sale for like $5.  I am definitely willing to try another wine from this company.

+ Barefoot’s Red Moscato: is really great. It’s like if you can’t stand their Sweet Red, the Red Moscato is a nice alternative. This is the wine we’ve offered to smuggle someone to their job.

+ Governer’s White: I got to try this at a wine tasting and I really enjoyed it. It’s a mix of three seperate wines together. It’s light and enjoyable.

Not pictured is Parfait’s Red Wine (year is noted as 2009). The bottle is cute, very flowery and…girly, but it is just so disgusting, it didn’t survive the two-sip test. Jamie watched as I made a horrible face (I can’t even remember what this tasted like besides “absolutely horrible”)

In my weird little journey of finding wines to enjoy (because one little Manders can only drink so much Kracken or Burnett’s at one time before swearing to not drink liquor for a while), I’ve found that I’ve been enjoying my “Local Virginia Wines.” It’s been pretty fun finding wines that are from around our area (according to Virginia, we’re considered the “Blue Ridge” area, which has…206 wineries)

One of the really cool things is that if they’re local, chances are, one of their representatives will show up to moderate wine tasting at our local Kroger at some point. This happened with Chateau Morrisette. The wine I got to taste was really great and the representative was really awesome. He pointed out that there are hiking trails near the winery and they have wine tastings available; Jamie and I agreed we’d have to steal a couple friends–one who would hike with Jamie and one who would try wine with me.

We had a great experience with one of the representatives from AmRhein’s Winery. It was fascinating wine to try. If I’m remembering right, there was one I didn’t like so she offered to pour a taste out of one of the other bottles. It was really great.

The girl who did the Williamsburg Winery wine was not a representative of their company, but was someone who was doing tastings for different wines. The Williamsburg wine was great, but her comment of “It’s fruit juice for grownups” when I pointed out one of the wines tasted kind of like Barefoot Sweet Red irked me. Isn’t the point to be nice, personable, and try to Sell The Product? Not point out the great things about these wines and then insult a wine that the potential customer just said they liked.

But, that was nothing compared to Veritas.

We happened to show up while they were doing a wine tasting and it’s a Local Virginia Wine. The guy is trying so hard to sell sell sell to this middle-aged couple. It reminded me of the times I’d sat in on Princess House parties and Amway sales pitches (even when we were guinea pigs for my aunt’s speil for Cutco). It’s obvious the couple is being polite and that’s cool.

I walked up, pulled my ID out (because I don’t look my age, yay), and at first waited patiently for the representative to stop talking for two seconds to pay attention to Potential New Customer and ask if I’d like to try the wine. But no. He noticed me, he noticed me staying there, but chose to ignore me and continue with his pitch to this other couple.

Jamie got a call from Fred and walked off. I had stood at a pretty close spot to his little table-o-goodies and was obviously interested. But, I am one of those people who hates interrupting others. It irritates the shit out of me when people interrupt me, so I hate doing it to other people. It’s rude and fucking annoying.

The guy is physically stopping himself from looking my way. Yes, I realize a headband, young face, and baggy pants does not make me look like an enjoyer of wine. But, how hard is it to stop and take 15 seconds to ask if the obviously interested party is interested in this?

Jamie showed up, I gave him an irritated look, and put my ID back in my wallet. Put my wallet back in my pocket and walked away. I’m irritated and poor Jamie had to deal with it. (we double checked the time and realized I’d been standing there for about 15 minutes while the rep was going off on a memorized speil about how there’s really no reason why they named it “Starfruit White,” they just liked how the name sounded.)

After we got home, I wrote on Twitter (because we live in a society where Twitter and Facebook are social norms) to Veritas winery that while I’m sure their wines are great, I will not patronize them thanks to their representative.

I’m kind of surprised that it turned to where I do not want to try anything by this company. I enjoy patronizing local wineries, just like I enjoy patronizing other local shops and stuff. But if your representative is so terrible and trying so hard to push a $4.50 bottle of wine on one couple while ignoring everyone else, then I don’t want to have anything to do with them. And if your representative is doing such a terrible job while in public, I really don’t want to know or experience anything else from that company.

If I had said something, would it have been different? Possibly. I may have tried one of their wines that day. If the manager for the wine department was there, things may have been different too. Because she is awesome and is super sweet (and probably would’ve pointed out that the rep had an interested party Right There). Who knows.

But hey, I have Chateau Morrisette, AmRhein’s, and Williamsburg Winery to choose wines from. They’re good wines and the representatives are pretty great. There are hundreds of different cheap wines to choose from, so I don’t have to worry about running out of options.


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