Neil Offen: Will you be drinking tonight?
On our wine list this evening, you’ll find several stains and a few grease marks, along with:
A 2007 Slovakian gamay or gamay not, with hints of goat cheese and leftover macaroni, and a finish full of crabapple and a satisfying aroma of drying cement. Great paired with the last Peppermint Pattie in the bag.
A 2011 Argentinian Malbec, an intriguing combination of undrinkable and insufferable. Note the notes of caramel and antibiotic along with the beautifully balanced pamplonas, which are found only in the south of the bottle. Intensely colored, rich and sensual, it’s banned in 27 states.
A late January 2014 Italian pinot grigio offers persistent hints of old cough drops and frozen pizza shards. A delicate sense of minerality, which we’re not even sure is a word. When served slightly chilled, it will make you wonder why you didn’t chill it more. Best when opened first.
A 2002 Latvian Bordeaux, bottled by elderly Latvians in the same manner their ancestors did generations ago, and frequently in the same exact bottles. Fruity and feathery, it is also funny and festive, as well as fanciful and fact-filled. Not to mention fine. Goes well with fish, fennel, fusilli and figs. Fortunately.
A 2006 Corinthian chianti, leathery and full-flavored with good acidity on the palate and a hint of meniscus on the knee. Grown on the hilly side of the estate on vines chewed several times by our neighbor’s dogs, this is a wine that goes with everything except food.
A 2009 Tasmanian de ville cabernet, which is produced on our own estate from well-blended grapes that have gone to a local Friends’ school and have learned to get along with others and only speak when spoken to. Notice the greenish yellow tone, reminiscent of the colors green and yellow. Pair it with extremely well-fermented yogurts from 2008 found in the back of the refrigerator behind the pickles.
A 2008 French pouilly fussy, very temperamental and occasionally difficult to deal with — particularly while talking politics — unless you have a good corkscrew and are willing to threaten with it. A wine that’s simple yet lively, high-strung yet deep-dished, manic depressive yet generally sociable. Perfect with Cheerios.
A 2013 Moldovan sauvignon blanc that dances on the palate, sometimes leading, sometimes following, depending on the music. Wonderfully fruity and fruitily wonderful, this is a wine that compliments lighter foods and frequently tells them how nice they look when they’re going out to dinner. A very good year unless you were stuck in Moldova.
A 2011 Cambodian chardonnay, full-flavored and fresh, with an intense color — sort of yellow, or maybe white-ish or just light brown — and a nose that reeks of Kleenex. A delicate and creamy finish that balances low-risk with high-yield and has out-performed the 20-year Lipper average.
Or you can just get the house wine. If you don’t mind going back to your house and getting it.
Neil Offen can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.