My fellow inebriates,
On Saturday I had the rare opportunity of tasting THREE different red wines. Sitting outside on the deck with a couple of guests, sharing vaccine news and playing Cards Against Humanity, it felt kind of normal.
Between 8:00 p.m. and 2:00 a.m. we consumed:
- Ravenswood Lodi Old Vine Zinfandel, U.S. (2017); sale price $17.99, reg. $22.99
- Tom Gore Cabernet Sauvignon, U.S. (2018); $19.99
- Luccarelli Puglia Negroamaro, Italy (2018); $15.99
The first two bottles vanished quickly. The third didn’t quite get finished. (I attempted to open it at breakfast, but you know my challenges with opening bottles.)
Lingering along with my hangover is the question—did we drink these bottles in the correct order?
If it’s best to drink the best wine first, then we did things right. The Ravenswood was smooth and plummy while still being refined and balanced. In addition to layers of blackcurrant, tannins, and oak, it had a slight hint of baking spice in the finish. It was billed as “medium-bodied,” but it bordered on being full-bodied. We all loved it, and that’s why it was gone in a flash.
It sucks to take the stage after a great act, but the Tom Gore held its own. Bold and smooth, dry and balanced, it was a touch oakier than the zin but equally bursting with dark red fruit, and it had its own hint of peppery spice. Sometimes it can feel rough switching from one wine to another, but not with this wine. We all guzzled it happily. Only my dad thought the zin was better; the rest of us thought these first two were about on par with each other.
If being the second act sucks, you really don’t want to be last. That was the fate of Luccarelli, a less expensive wine we’ve had plenty of times before and always thought was a pretty good bargain. Sure, it was bold, and also smooth, but after the first two wines, it seemed less structured (although things were getting pretty unstructured on the deck by this point). It had a jamminess that seemed undisciplined, plus an unwelcome sweetness in the finish. As such, it sealed the deal on our collective hangover today.
I don’t blame Luccarelli for its poor comparative showing. If it hadn’t been upstaged, it would have been a decent wine. If the bottle had been able to talk to Dad before he unscrewed its cap, it might have yelled, “What the fuck are you doing? There’s no way I’m going on after those guys. Come on.” But we wouldn’t have heard—we were busy offending the neighbours with our reprehensible card choices. Into our glasses the wine sloshed, and we drank it with minimal complaint.
My dad was on a roll last night. Not only did he open three bottles of wine, which hasn’t happened in a couple of years, but he also beat the pants off us at Cards Against Humanity. Usually he refuses to play out on the deck because he thinks the neighbours are listening. But last night he was a different human. Maybe COVID-19 altered his brain chemistry? Should I feel thankful?