FABULOUS ANT PINOT NOIR (2011)—Bad taste? Don’t look at the wine, look at my family…

Despite five years under her belt, and perhaps because she has an aversion to Barney and anything he promotes, Miss V does not possess an “indoor voice.” Thus when she tried on a necklace in Walmart’s jewellery section and declared, “THIS NECKLACE IS TOO BIG, MUMMY, IT HANGS ALL THE WAY TO MY VAGINA,” the family pretty much scored a Walmart Bingo.

I heard about it after a lonely day at home trying to open a bottle of FABULOUS ANT PINOT NOIR (2011). Screw tops sometimes yield to the paws, especially if I can recruit other bears to help, and in this case I lucked out…the bottle had been opened the previous evening. How I didn’t notice this I don’t know. I just assumed it was sealed because my parents rarely, if ever, leave a bottle of red wine unfinished. They are wine gluttons.

FABULOUS ANT, however, had suffered only a tiny sample. This was a bad sign. Not for me, of course—I was over the moon about getting the bottle open—but for the wine in general, which may well have been deemed soup- or stew-worthy and placed for that very purpose where I found it by the stove.

Additionally, this Hungarian Pinot Noir’s presence at LBHQ represented a violation of a cardinal wine-buying rule: no animal labels! The $13.99 price tag, too, was potentially iffy.

Pinot Noir is a famously unforgiving grape, both to cultivate and to vinify. When it’s good, it’s very very good, and when it’s bad it’s horrid. Thus $13.99 for Pinot Noir is more of a gamble than $13.99 for Cab or Shiraz. Often thought of as a “food wine,” Pinot Noir is lighter than those full-bodied varietals and gives greater rein to the earthier characteristics of its terroir—at the expense of a certain lushness, perhaps (the reason my parents hadn’t finished it). Indeed, if you’re used to big, sumptuous reds, Pinot Noir’s relative thinness (not to mention its slightly lower alcohol percentage) may come as a shock. But there are things to savor.

Aficionados of the grape delight in Pinot Noir’s earthiness. Truffles, game, strawberries, cherries, and leather are just some of its sought-after tasting notes, although with its delicacy, it can sometimes fail to mask a preponderance of earthy tones. When done right, these flavors play back-up to balanced fruit and tannins while politely conveying the character of the growing region.

Very well, but do these positives apply to FABULOUS ANT? Hell no, my fellow inebriates. FABULOUS ANT is okay, and it stops short of being offensive, but in a word it’s sallow. It doesn’t do the nuanced dance that Pinot Noir fans seek, nor is it robust enough to clobber you with fruit if you’re not seeking nuance.

Basically, if you’re not a fan of Pinot Noir, you won’t be converted. If you already dislike lighter wines, its less-than-opaque tawny color won’t win you over, nor will its sharper chords, carried as they are on a halfhearted wave of dank earth. It won’t gross you out, but it won’t give you an overwhelming urge to buy more Pinot Noir.

A fellow Walmart shopper

If you are a fan of Pinot Noir, you’ll probably find FABULOUS ANT to be par for the course in its price range. You’ll probably drink it with baked salmon or pasta and it’ll be fine.

Fine I was not by the time everyone came home from Walmart. Sure, FABULOUS ANT has only 12.5% alcohol, but I’m a little bear. I was so wrecked that I continued to hear all sorts of irregular stuff:

From my parents, regarding Movember:

“IF YOU GROW A MOUSTACHE THEN ANY ACTION IS GOING TO HAVE TO HAPPEN FROM BEHIND.” For some men this would be motivating, but they haven’t met my mother. Holy crap, people, I wish I could un-hear that.

From P and V in the bath:


Big splash.


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