Start with a wine you love

Last week, I talked about one of the big fallacies of wine learning, and I ended with a promise of returning to that topic today.

Start with a wine you love, and the rest will take care of itself.

The wine you love.

Take a moment, and think about the wine you love.

Did you feel the joy it brings? What sort of happy memory do you have associated with it?

It sounds a bit woo-woo, but go with me on this.

The wine you love is the wine you love, simple as that.

It doesn’t have to be:

  • Fancy or expensive, but it can be.
  • From a very specific place, but it can be.
  • Hard-to-find or even from a particular year, but it can be.

To prove it to you, I’ll tell you mine.

The wine I love is: Famille Perrin Réserve Côtes-du-Rhône Rouge.

It sounds fancy and expensive, but it isn’t.

I’ll blame the French accents for the haughty appearance, but the price tag will tell you otherwise.

The wine costs around $11 USD at retail, and it comes with a screw top— something most snobs would laugh at.

But there’s magic with this little bottle, but more on that in a moment.

It sounds like it’s from a very specific place, but it isn’t.

Côtes-du-Rhône (CdR) is among the largest wine producing regions in the world. It produces 419 million bottles per year and covers 83,800 hectares—roughly the size of all of New York City.

You may have heard of places like Hermitage or Châteauneuf-du-Pape which are located in CdR. Those are fancier addresses inside the region, like being in SoHo or Tribeca.

Being labeled as CdR, this wine’s grapes all come from within the region. So to borrow our New York analogy again, there could be some Staten Island mixed in with the Bronx.

It sounds like it might be hard to find, but it isn’t.

I’ve seen this wine everywhere. Great little wine shops. Giant beverage chains. Heck, I’ve even seen it at Trader Joe’s. It’s widely available, and if you see it near you, you should grab it and drink it.

In fact, I took the above pictures three years apart in two different cites: St. Louis, MO and Chicago, IL. That’s part of the answer as to why I love it.

So, why do I love an $11 bottle of wine?

  1. It tastes good.
  2. Over the past 5 years, it’s been consistently enjoyable.
  3. It has so many happy memories tied to it.
  4. Because of the above and its cost, it delivers so much value for the money. And that makes me even happier. 😀

Taste is subjective, so I’ll skip that part. Besides, there’s too many people telling you how to taste, why to taste, the importance of tasting. Blah, blah, blah.

As for consistency, I think my purchase history speaks for itself.

But, I will talk about the memories.

Having purchased this wine so many times, I’m fortunate to map so many fun moments to it.

  1. Sitting outside with my family at Lake Okoboji in Iowa last summer.
  2. Playing trivia with my friends on Zoom at the beginning of quarantine.
  3. Attending a fall family gathering before our daughter was born.
  4. Going to Iceland with my wife for our belated honeymoon.
  5. Many delicious home cooked meals.

More so than taste or value, it’s the moments that happened around the bottle that are far more important.

It’s strange to me that no one talks about this aspect when learning about wine. The talking heads spend too much time focusing on what’s in the bottle and on the bottle.

But the part that we should all pay more attention to is what’s around the bottle.

I hope you make some wine memories this weekend, and hit reply and let me know about the wines you love.

And next week, I’m going to show you how this one little bottle led me to some amazing places.

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