Well hello strangers! Long time no cheap whining. I must apologize profusely for abandoning you, my beloved audience, but I can explain…are you ready? Top 10 reasons I went on a year hiatus (or possibly longer?)
10. I gained over 25lbs drinking cheap wine for 3years and had to stop before I ended up needing gastric bypass surgery.
9. I got a freaking real job because I couldn’t figure out how to monetize my cheap wine blog.
8. I wasn’t a popular blogger – I failed to get an impressive number of followers. Of course my followers are the smartest, most sophisticated, loyal and erudite of all followers. One cannot amass millions of followers of that caliber – they simply do not exist! I keep telling myself.
7. I became insanely jealous of new wine bloggers who instantly got 100k+ followers (damn, even my favorite blogger buddies took years to get there) and then a social media expert told me followers can be bought. My will to swill was crushed.
6. I moved from Sonoma to LA due to work – I know, I know, pitiful.
5. I moved away from all my drinking buddies. (Just give it time, I’ll find more.)
4. Everyone in LA is sober or in recovery and now faced to drink alone, soon will I.
3. I decided to start a cartoon Who’s Counting? @bylmaxwell Twitter/Instagram and whoscountingbylmaxwell.com I now draw myself drinking wine.
2. I could only find 5 good cheap wines – so I ran out of wines to write about. Someday I’ll share the list.
And finally, the #1. reason….I like expensive wine.
There you have it. I’ve poured my heart out. Im sure you are getting the feels after my sob story but no fret. I’m dipping back into the vat with a guest blogger. Huh? Who? What the…
A man who needs no introduction, Scott H. Smith is a friend, colleague, fantastic writer and humorist. I’m very honored to have him contribute to this post. Take it away Scotty….
Why thank you Comtesse…It was never my intention to hijack a blog, but somebody had to. Amid the inspired reflections, the spirit of exuberance, and the sound advice that constitute the vast majority of this site, there exists a fallacy. It is the kind of bogus poppycock that can be at once debunked by its surroundings, yet for some odd reason my friend insists on perpetuating the myth. If you’re an avid follower of hers, as I am, then you most likely have already thrust an index finger skyward and exclaimed, “I know that fallacy!” But in the event you are a Cheap Wine Curious neophyte, I’ll let you in on a little secret: the Comtesse thinks she’s square.
“Say what?” you undoubtedly ask, given that she kicks it in Upper Class on Virgin Atlantic, hangs with shimmering socialites in the sun, and embraces only those giant butts that are artistically relevant. Solving such a riddle would require a deep-space exploration into the human psyche, however I’ll go out on a limb and speculate that the Comtesse occasionally equates hip with youth. Thus, it is my hope that by turning our gaze to a brand of wine successfully targeted to the Younger Generation, my good friend will come to see herself for that which she is: a purveyor of the new and the now. Because while it is true that she isn’t covered from head-to-toe in ink, and the color of her hair is more real than magenta, she is ultimately the shiznit. Assuming the kids still say “shiznit.”
Marketers might see a wine-loving generation ripe for the picking, but Beth Liston just wants to have fun. According to the thirty-something winemaker behind E. & J. Gallo’s Dark Horse brand, Millennials – who studies have shown are indeed experimental – have no preconceived notions about what makes a great wine. That’s given her a green light to toss out the rulebook and go delectably rogue, sourcing fruit from all over and reeling in arcane varietals that are hitting a bulls-eye with tomorrow’s premium consumers. The result is an assortment of wines bold in flavor, smooth in balance, and deceptively affordable, making this Modesto, CA, label appealing to both the young and young at heart.
Dark Horse Merlot
Fueled by California sunshine, this coalescence of Merlot, Petite Sirah, Petit Verdot, and Dornfelder grapes utilizes Beth’s method of back blending, which adds in unique varietals prior to finalizing the wine. Precision French oak aging creates hints of toasted oak and warm spice, culminating in a plush finish that pairs well with everything from meats to mushrooms. Our taster – the lovely and talented Lisa (my wife) – right away noticed the tannins and found the product to be a bit on the drier side. Then a jolt of robust cherry and chocolate flavors hit her, and it became immediately apparent that the kids might be on to something.
Dark Horse Pinot Noir
Sporting a velvety smooth fruit balance typically reserved for pricier Pinots, Dark Horse’s Pinot Noir melds cutting-edge methods with Pinot grapes sourced from California’s Central Coast. Rapid sur lie aging, a pricey technique that Beth has perfected at a reasonable cost, creates an almost creamy wave of flavor, and back blending in Grenache and Gewürztraminer varietals produces notes of rose petal and lavender. Hot fermentation results in softer edges that make for easy sipping, and the final product is a laid-back wine that complements absolutely everything. “Smooth, earthy, with a hint of berry,” noted Lisa with a gleam in her eye that screamed, “Hey, I just found a kick-ass Pinot that won’t break the bank!”
Dark Horse Zinfandel (Limited Release)
Ready for round three, my wife placed the glass of Dark Horse Zinfandel to her lips, sipped the robustly fragrant liquid, and pondered. Observing spicy notes of cinnamon, she savored the rich flavor, which was again the product of Ms. Liston’s innovative techniques. “Ahhh,” said Lisa. “Tasty.” Known for its medium body and soft-textured hints of jam, this is a wine that displays little tannin and low acidity, and you’ll find that it pairs particularly well with most meats. In addition to its definitive berry bent, some have noted a smokiness, though this didn’t appear to be immediately apparent to our taster. What was apparent, however, was that it was damn good.
According to Google, the informal use of “square” describes a person considered to be old-fashioned or boringly conventional in attitude or behavior, and synonyms include “fogey,” “bourgeois,” and “fossil.” Validating this is The Merriam-Webster Dictionary, which defines square as “a person who is conventional or conservative in taste or way of life.” A quick glance through Mrs. Maxwell’s blog entries confirms that she is most certainly not square, however in the event that she remains unconvinced, perhaps it’s time for the Comtesse to grab a glass of Dark Horse, peruse Pitchfork’s list of “Best New Music,” and then move to Brooklyn. Assuming the kids are still flocking to Brooklyn.