So I can throw my bottles away…

I got on a health kick this year, so why am I drinking wine you ask? The importance of antioxidants and my favorite thing health experts have found, flavonoids, are found in such tasty things as dark chocolate, green tea, and “red wine”.

Wine has been the least favorite of the three categories of alcohol I’ve been interested in. I’ve been trying new beers since I was in college; I drank my first sip of whiskey at a very young age and become a bourbon lover, and the wine I was first introduced to was a sweet wine my uncle produced at home. I’ve always liked sweet wines regardless of the flavor but sweets have always been my forte’. Some of those local wines I was first introduced too were Meier from Cincinnati, Oliver from Bloomington, IN and Easley once I got settled into Indianapolis. My parents being sweet wine lovers as well usually hit the local wineries when they go on vacation and have brought home some superb sweet wines from their travels. The one that always comes to mind first was one called Shawnee Gold from Alto Pass in Southern Illinois. I think it was reminiscent of that first taste of wine my uncle had produced, just a bit smoother. It seemed that wine created a benchmark and each time I looked for wines or my parents shared another batch traditionally at Thanksgiving I would try to find an equivalent to the Shawnee Gold. Finally after my parents trip to Iowa they brought home another wine that hit that mark. It was just titled with a generic black & white label as grape wine. It really piqued my interest and ended up doing my research where my parents had been, The Amana Colonies. They have a wine festival in May I’d like to go to. Probably not this year since the planning would be too short but maybe sometime in the future.

I went with my parents on part of their “Hoosier wine tour” and realized the number of good and bad wineries that exist out there. Some simply make wine from simply buying juice; there is no grapes on their land, or a vineyard in some other place that they own, they just order juice probably out of book, or online, however cheaply they can obtain it.

With the number of art galleries I’ve been too in the past few years I’ve dabbled and acquired a taste for drier wines. I’ve finally found a favorite dry white, Pinot Grigio, that I can certainly find more palatable than Chardonnay for example. But reds all seem the same, the are oaky without food and really have no character outside of a name.

With getting serious about working out and trying to assure that I’m not polluting my body with too many toxins that I can’t get through a pretty vigorous workout the next day I wanted to keep alcohol absent from my diet on the day before workouts which was every other day pretty much (3 days a week). Well, I don’t like drinking anything with my dinner seemingly except some kind of alcohol. I drink water all day, I drink juice for breakfast, milk doesn’t work, and soda of any sort makes me feel shitty. Beer and wine make me feel kinda good and for the most part wine and craft beer are natural. So, to jusitify and to get more antioxidants in my diet opposed to my regimen of dark chocolate I had to either get through the dark winter in Wisconsin and as a pick me up to get me through my workout I figured what a better way than introducing red wine into my diet.

For starters I had to keep it on the cheap to justify doing this as well and Trader Joe’s being my favorite grocery shop has 2-buck chuck. I know Merlot, and Cabs never did well for me so I opted to start with the Shiraz. I don’t have a large variety of meals I create, only some standbys which include a whole wheat spaghetti and various red sauces or a Bengal lentil sauce which is a very spicy Indian dish. The vintage I had for the first bottle or two was really good which if I recall was the 2006 but the last one I bought was a 2007 and it just wasn’t good. I started reading reviews on Trader Joe’s wines and once again the explorer in me couldn’t resist paying a little more too try something new. What brought me to the review though was a Pinot Noir (Rheingau 2005 Maximilian) I found that was produced in Germany. With my German roots I couldn’t resist and at a modest $4-5 dollars why not? It was a little thin but I loved it! Once I got introduced to the reviews this wine for the most part were poor but a few agreed with me. It turns out Pinot Noir’s are usually produced in very specific areas in France (Burgundy) and California for example and that Germany’s geography wasn’t ripe for Pinot Noir grapes (but aren’t the countries neighbors?). Anyhow, I kept that one for reference, I liked it and like music that is what matters.

Another place that has an interesting wine selection is The Outpost Natural Foods Co-op. The prices overall aren’t as cheap but they market their wines through signs from their wine buyer that are quite suggestive and convincing. I tried one of the low-ends for $7 called Fat Cat (2007 Pinot Noir). I had it with my spaghetti dish and it just made my whole mouth pucker. Not palatable. So to finish it off it led me to a new adventure I’ll be writing about soon, cheese. I’ve always been the “big cheese” fan but this time I was seeking cheese as an antidote. In short the paring was magical and tonight the Fat Cat is a memory (empty bottle).

Just for those curious about Charles Shaw (2-buck Chuck) it isn’t just a private winery that sold its entire vineyard to Trader Joe’s, but one of the nation’s largest wineries what is co-owned and founded by Ernest Gallo’s nephew by the last name of Franzia (with no relation to the box wine producer that Coca-Cola owns).

They also produce a whole list of other brands including the aforementioned Fat Cat and the wine I just opened tonight a 2006 Pinot Noir called Black Mountain.

Stay tuned for that one and the two new purchases over the weekend.



About jeffbedel

Indiana native that moved to Cincinnati in January 2012. Former trivia host, beer snob, foodie, non-conformist.

Posted on April 15, 2008, in wine and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. I may start drinking more red wine for the health benefits. Red wine is supposed to be really good for heart health. Green tea is supposed to be great for the immune system. My brother used to drink 3 cups of green tea a day and he never got sick. Red wine always tastes sweeter to me than white wine, which can sometimes taste sour. Franzia red wine is very sweet. I tried it at a housewarming party and really liked it.

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