Battle of the Cans: Foxie and Fiction

Foxie

foxie can.jpg

Foxie is the amazing collaboration from two of my favorite winemakers, Andrew Jones of Field Recordings and Josh Rosenstein of Hoxie Spritzer. This particular spritzer is made with Chardonnay, citra hops and sour cherry essence. The Chardonnay is full bodied but the hops and sour cherries brighten it up and make it feel energetic. It is fruity without being sweet, like a La Croix. Spritzers are perfect for when you want to keep your wits about you since they are lower in alcohol than straight wine. I had a friend over last night and between him, my husband and I we had like 4 bottles of wine so I am not in the mood to get crazy tonight and a spritzer is perfect. In fact, I’m pairing this with Broad City, which I have been watching in my sweats all day-- it’s a great combination. This can reminds me of the pool. It is the best shade of light blue and would be so perfect to sip poolside. I am a professional pool-drinker and one mistake I notice novices often making is choosing a beverage with a high ABV. You don’t want anything with too much alcohol because the sun and heat can deplete your energy real fast and leave you wasted by 3:00 p.m. This is why spritzers are the perfect pool drink. I either make my own or bring Hoxie with me, but now I am dying to take this Foxie to the pool before pool season officially ends.

Fiction Red

fiction red can.jpg

If you read my blog religiously, well, then you’re probably my mom (hi, Mom!) But seriously, if you read my blog regularly you might be like, “Sarah, wtf? You reviewed Fiction Red a few months ago and P.S. you talk about it all the damn time!” All true. But guess what, I’ve never had Fiction Red in a can! Cans totally change the way a wine tastes so I thought it was fair to give Fiction Red in a can its own review. Here’s the story I tell again and again about Fiction Red (sorry if you’ve heard it one million times already) it was my introduction to good wine about three years ago. I have since fallen in love with everything under the Field Recordings umbrella but I still keep coming back to this solid red blend. Speaking of blends, it is a crazy blend of a bunch of stuff including Zinfandel, Mourvedre, Grenache, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Tempranillo and Viognier. I like chilling this wine because as I’ve mentioned, I’m not a huge fan of non-chilled wine in cans and I’m also a fan of chilled reds. This wine is bold and tastes of boysenberry jam on biscuits hot out of the oven. There is also a hint of tobacco on the palate. I hung out with a lot of poets in college and one was super into smoking tobacco from a pipe. This tastes the way that smelled (minus the pretentious tude).

Field Recordings Koligian Vineyard

This past Friday was my fifth wedding anniversary. My husband and I took a short trip to Oklahoma City because there was an amazing art exhibition I had to see-- Kehinde Wiley’s A New Republic. It was fan-freaking-tastic that we spent the entire trip just stopping each other to say, “God, that exhibition was incredible”. We also stayed in the amazing 21c Hotel. These establishments are part boutique hotel, part contemporary art museum. They mostly had pieces by artists I wasn’t aware of but had two Lalla Essaydi pieces-- she is this incredible Moroccan artist who juxtaposes traditional arab culture with feminism.

We are now back home with our cats, which is very nice, but I kind of wanted to continue the celebration. I had a bottle of wine that I had been saving for a special occasion. It is the Field Recordings Koligian Vineyard blend. If you’ve read my blog, you know what a Field Recordings fangirl I am. They turned me onto good wine a few years back and ever since, I have been eternally grateful. As I mentioned, when a wine is above $25, I will let you know. While I got this at a wine sale for about $25, it usually retails for around $34. In my opinion, it is well worth the cost. It is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Tannat, Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc. It is unfined and lightly filtered, which I love.

On the nose, it is straight up anise, bing cherries and new leather boots. Do you know what I’m talking about? Before my L.A. trip last spring, I bought these oxblood leather boots and they had the best smell. Nothing beats that, sorry vegans. It is so delightful on the palate and not overly tannic or acidic. It tastes of boozy cherries, you know, like a cherry that has been sitting in your old fashioned for a bit and absorbed a ton of bourbon.

Kehinde Wiley is one of my favorite artists. His style is so fascinating, imitating the style of Renaissance portraits, but replacing traditional subjects with contemporary African American men and women. His pieces consider race, gender and politics. I found a particular set of paintings interesting as they considered Ethiopian Jews and the Palestinian experience in Israel. I also very much enjoyed his pieces that featured women. The majority of his works feature men, and I enjoy those, but I really liked seeing the portrayals of women in his paintings and sculpture.

If you have a chance to see Kehinde Wiley, take it! One of his pieces is at The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art if you are in the Kansas City area and it is fantastic. Also, open up special bottles of wine! Sometimes I buy a bottle and tell myself I’m saving it for a special occasion and then the occasion comes and I don’t open the bottle. It’s silly really, to save something just for the purpose of saving it. There will never be a perfect time to open that bottle of wine you’ve been saving or taking that transatlantic trip. Just go for it and enjoy. So that is what I’m doing tonight and I am absolutely enjoying this wine.

OKNOTOK

This post is about Cab Franc, depression, tattoos and Radiohead. Don’t worry, it’ll all come together I hope.

It might come as a shock now because I’m a fairly nice, happy person but I was super angsty as a teen. I listened to a lot of Pedro the Lion and would cry fairly often. What I would learn at 18 was that my angst was in a large part due to undiagnosed depression and anxiety. I started some medication and therapy and saw vast improvements. With treatment I felt like my old self, though I wasn’t sure I had ever felt as content as I was. That’s not to say there weren’t ups and downs. There still are. I’ve been treated for depression for 10 years and I still hit lows.

Today I am experiencing one such low. I know that, as usual, it’s situational and temporary but that doesn’t mean I always know the culprit. That said, I’ve learned how to cope when a low hits. I take it easy, watch a movie or read poetry-- something low-impact that will take my mind off of things without whitewashing the situation. I’ve also taken to researching wine when I’m feeling depressed. For some reason, reading about wineries and looking at maps soothes me. That’s what I’m doing tonight as I sip Franc by Field Recordings. This is one of my favorite wines by one of my favorite wineries but I haven’t had it since winter. It is 100% Cabernet Franc grown in Paso Robles.

It smells brightly of fennel and black pepper. On the palate, the black pepper holds true while some dark fruits come into play as well. Notes of plum and black cherry pop on your tongue. It is the perfect balance of acidity and lightness with a body to it. This would be perfect with black pepper chicken thighs but could hold up to a pasta dish as well. It is also the perfect wine to pair with a bit of feminist poetry and some Radiohead.

The Radiohead album I’m listening to is OKNOTOK, a reissue of OK Computer released 20 years after its debut in 1997. I learned about this a few months ago and was thrilled because Radiohead is hands down my favorite band and has been since high school. OK Computer is also one of my favorite Radiohead albums, Let Down and Lucky being my two favorite songs. I loved the idea of hearing previously unreleased tracks but was also obsessed with the title of the album. Can’t so much of life be described as OKNOTOK? Someone asks you how you are and you say fine but really mean anything but. Maybe this is just what comes to mind with someone who has depression but it rang true for me. So much so that I decided to have it tattooed on my body.

I decided I wanted the tattoo about a month ago and luckily have a friend who is a tattoo artist. I went in yesterday for my appointment and was thrilled with the outcome. It’s kind of like a constant reminder of my own struggles with mental illness/health but also just a general reminder it’s okay not to feel okay from time to time. It’s hard to remember that sometimes when we are inundated with photos on Instagram and posts on Facebook about people living their best lives. But guess what, a lot of that is bullshit. Even the most put together person doesn’t enjoy their life 100% of the time. It’s helpful to remember that when you’re feeling down.

I struggled with deciding whether or not to post this. It’s more about me than the wine I’m drinking. But I feel like we desperately need to hear stories from people who struggle with mental health and are in recovery. I am so happy to have found a treatment plan that works for me but I am so aware that it is not as easy for a lot of people. If you are struggling, I hope you can take some time for yourself and do something you enjoy-- whether that’s meditation or researching wine. And just remind yourself that it’s okay to not feel okay. It’ll be okay eventually.

Fiction Red

Fiction Red from Field Recordings is what I credit with beginning my wine journey nearly three years ago. I had read about Field Recordings on my wine idol’s blog and thought it sounded great so when I saw it on the menu of one of my favorite restaurants one night, I decided I had to try it. I remember it being super funky and more interesting than any wine I’d had before. That makes sense because it’s a crazy blend of a bunch of different grapes: 48% Zinfandel, 15% Syrah, 14% Mourvedre, 8% Graciano, 8% Cabernet Sauvignon, 4% Touriga Nacional and 3% Carignan; It’s what I’ve heard referred to as a “kitchen sink blend”. I think I had three glasses that first night because I loved it so much.

It would be at least another year before I started primarily purchasing wine from wine shops so I had a hard time tracking it down. However, when I stopped by a liquor store on my way home from a very painful tattoo-removal session (my little reward system) a few years ago, I spotted it! I took it home and proceeded to drink most of the bottle while I watched the shitshow that is Real Housewives of New Jersey. It was delicious--even better than I remembered. 

Well, here we are another couple of years later and not only am I drinking a variety of wines from Field Recordings on the reg., I was able to meet the winemaker himself, Andrew Jones, in March. I know I’ve already told this story, but as he signed my bottles I said, “You’re the reason I stopped drinking shitty wine!” and he said, “Oh, you’re Cats and La Croix!” It was amazing. Field Recordings is actually an umbrella for so many of my favorite wines and collaborations: Fableist, Wonderwall, Alloy Wine Works, Foxie and more. It’s safe to say I’m obsessed.

 The Fiction Red smells like blackberries and barbecue embers, like a charcoal grill that you are going to cook some mean burgers on and maybe some corn if you get around to it. The same blackberry notes carry over to the palate. It tastes like blackberry jam and ricotta on a thick slice of toast. Also like the best dark chocolate. This wine makes me so nostalgic because after I sipped it the first time, I had the realization that wine could be really really good. It was different than anything I had had before because it was so multifaceted, full of body and depth but light enough that you could get away with chilling it.

 I had a lovely cheese and charcuterie plate for dinner, which you know is my dinner of choice, and this is the perfect digestif. It is the loveliest evening-- 83 degrees, mostly sunny and still light out at 8 o’clock. I love summer. You might not think of the Fiction Red as a summer wine, but I first tried it in the summer and damn if it doesn’t taste good tonight. You could easily pound this on the porch or by the pool, but I recommend pairing it with something meaty and delicious, unless you don’t eat meat and then ¯\_(ツ)_/¯.

The Best Wines to Sneak into Your Local Pool This Summer

I’m not sure about you, but I love drinking poolside. It’s one of my favorite summertime activities after porch-sitting. I happen to belong to the local Jewish Community Center and while their pool is slightly overrun with children at all times, it’s a pool. I’ve never checked on the alcohol policy but I’m guessing it is something along the lines of “don’t BYOB”. But I’ve never been great with following rules, so I usually bring something inconspicuous that I can enjoy while I reread Freedom for the first time in seven years. You’ll notice everything I’ve chosen is canned because you can easily pretend you’re sipping soda or sparkling water-- throw that thing in a koozie and claim it’s a new La Croix flavor. You can find all of these at wine shops and liquor stores alike. Also, I didn’t take photos of these at the pool because I’m trying to be stealth, dude!

Frico Frizzante by Scarpetta

The first thing I thought when I saw the Frico Frizzante was “cute”. At just 8 ounces and with clever minimalist packaging (basically just a pig’s ass), it’s super sweet. It is also affordable at around $10 for a 4 pack. If you are a wine novice like me, you might have thought Frizzante was the varietal the first time you stumbled upon one (my first was the Gia Frizzante a few years ago). It actually just means that it is a “gently sparkling” wine. The Frico Frizzante is a blend of a shit ton of stuff: 50% Trebbiano, 25% Chardonnay and 25% Glera, or so a website I found says. It is super light and herbaceous with notes of fresh cut grass. It basically reminds me of a steamy summer evening having just mowed the lawn (not that I mow or do much domestic labor, but still). I find that I really like blends in cans. I like them already and drink plenty of blends out of bottles, but there’s always something interesting and funky about them that just tastes good in a can, preferably by the pool listening to new Fleet Foxes. Warning: you’ll want to drink the whole four pack in one sitting and I won’t judge you if you do. Not one bit.  

Edit: my can warmed up a bit because I’ve been enjoying it for a while and it’s still good! You get more body at a higher temperature-- the Chardonnay really shines through (and I’m a reformed Chardonnay nay-sayer). You probably shouldn’t be serving this ice-cold anyway since it’s not a shitty lite beer.  

Alloy Wine Works Everyday Rosé  

This wine was gifted to me by my friend Adrienne (she purchased it at a wine shop, but I know I’ve seen it at the liquor store) when she and her husband, Daniel, came over for dinner the other night (see the Shakshuka + Young Vines post). The first thing I thought was, “sweet! Free wine!” but then I thought, “oh, I could review this!” One of the things I love most about Alloy’s wines is their super unpretentious tasting notes on the back of their cans. This one straight up says “Sour Patch Kids” and I seriously dig that. This rosé is kind of dry but incredibly fruity, tasting like strawberries and ripe melon that you scooped into the most perfect little balls (I’ve never done that, but it looks immensely gratifying). I really want to know the varietals used to make this rosé because it has so much body. I know this used to be called Grenache Rosé rather than Everyday Rosé so I’m curious if they still use Grenache (I believe it’s actually a blend now). Whatever the grapes used, this shit is good. Not only is this great poolside but I can imagine it would be nice at the drive in. My aforementioned friends Adrienne and Daniel want to take us to the local drive in because they promised it makes for great people-watching and usually the movies aren’t too terrible. This tallboy of rosé would be perfect to sneak in and pair with some Sour Patch Kids.

Underwood Pinot Noir

This is one of the more ubiquitous wine in cans you will see. I love Underwood and I like the fact that you can find it in wine shops and grocery/liquor stores alike. Union Wine Co., who produces Underwood, seeks to be approachable in its take on wine. Its trademark is, “pinkies down”. They also have videos on their website poking fun at the old school and hipster winos alike. I dig it. I don’t think anything in life should be taken too seriously, wine included.  Underwood is also affordable at just around $6 for a can and about $14 for a bottle. The first time I had their wine in a can was at a pool in the mid-summer a few years ago. It was hot, but my pinot was chilled and it was the fucking best. Laying in the sun + drinking wine can get you pretty tipsy, but I was walking distance from home so it was chill. My palate has refined ever so slightly in the last few years, but the Underwood is still so good. This is a fruit-forward Pinot Noir, with big berries popping on your tongue. It particularly reminds me of bing cherries, which I associate with summer and my dad because I remember him eating them a lot with me in the summers as a kid. There is also a vanilla cola quality to this wine, like Vanilla Coke, which I’m not sure still exists but should. It’s solid. Pick this up at your next wine/liquor store haul.

So there you go, three wines that can be enjoyed poolside or on your couch binge watching The Keepers. Whatever floats your boat, my friend.

A Guide to Day Drinking

This is my most sacrilegious post thus far. I’d apologize, but I don’t really care. If you’re a rabbi or super religious Jew, maybe just skip this one.  

The cool thing about working for a Jewish agency is that you get a ton of random days off throughout the year. I mean, they aren’t random, they are for Jewish holidays. But when you aren’t the most religious Jew, you can just sleep in and chill most of the time. This week happens to be Shavuot. Here’s the extent of my knowledge about Shavuot: we eat cheesecake. Also, maybe some people tried to kill us thousands of years ago and we survived or something. I don’t know, that’s just a guess but it’s usually the case.

 I reached out to my friend Andrew, who also works for a Jewish agency and is probably even less religious than I am and I asked if he wanted to day drink one of the days we were off. His response was “you had me at shalom.” So yes, he was down. He also informed me that he thought Shavuot was actually a celebration of the harvest ending, or something, and that people do some sort of two day party/rave (sounds Biblical, right?). Let’s go with that! 

Here’s the first thing you should know about day drinking, you need to be careful what you choose to imbibe. You want to steer clear of anything with too much alcohol because you’ll be shitfaced by 3:00 and hungover by 7:00. I recommend going with a white, rosé or even a light-bodied red since these will all be lower in alcohol than, say, a big fat Cab (which I do love in the right time and place). Here’s the other thing about day drinking, weather permitting, it should be done outside. Whites, rosés and lighter-bodied reds are going to be better outside anyway, because you know you want something chilled, if like me you’re day drinking on a warm, midwestern late spring day.  

I decided to go with a sparkling wine and light-bodied red. The sparkling wine I chose is the Pét-Nat from Field Recordings. Please don’t ask me to tell you the scientific definition of pétillant naturel (Pét-Nat) because I’m terrible at chemistry and in fact was kicked out of AP chem as a senior because I didn’t know what the fuck I was doing. However, I do know that it is a naturally sparkling wine that continues part of its fermentation process in the bottle, thus creating a funkier, and sometimes more volatile, finished product. Field Recordings’ was the first Pét-Nat I ever tried. Actually, I found it at a different wine shop than I usually go to and had to deal with a real mansplainy dude to get it. He tried to convince me that all sparkling wine is pétillant naturel if it’s made in the Méthode Traditionelle and I was like “Uhhhh I don’t think so?” Don’t make me question myself just cause you’re a pretentious Somm.

 I know I’ve mentioned that I am more of a red wine drinker, but I could seriously drink Pét-Nat everyday, especially when it gets warm out. There is something about the funkiness to it that I just find so delicious. It’s also easy to throw back, which is perfect for day drinking. Like I’ve alluded, it’s super interesting with a barnyard quality and a brackishness to it. It smells like apple cider vinegar, in the best way. Like when you’re trying to be super healthy and take a shot of ACV every morning. It almost tastes like a ginger kombucha, which I love and also freeze dried mangoes. It is so effervescent and lovely and so unlike any other sparkling wine out there.

 The red wine I chose is a biodynamic Gamay from Didier Montchovet and imported by Jenny & Francois. Didier Montchovet sounds super dope. He started his vineyard in 1984 in Bouze-les-Beaune, a town in the Burgundy region of France and uses sustainable practices to produce his wines. This Gamay is so fruit forward. It kind of smells like barbecue but tastes like the pith of a grapefruit rolled into the pit of a plum, with black liquorish at the end. It’s even got notes of black cherry warheads, if you remember those. It is so full and lush and tastes amazing lightly chilled. It is perfect for porch-sitting with a friend or even on your own.

 So here I am, lightly buzzed and watching Transparent with Andrew while we sip La Croix. We also just tried a baby pineapple and a passionfruit because I am trying this new experiment where I buy strange fruit and eat it to hopefully expand my palette. Day drinking is super fun, especially when you can do it with a friend on a random holiday. Again, I highly suggest going with a lower alcohol wine like a white, rosé or light-bodied red so you can keep your wits about yourself at least until it's socially acceptable to really let loose. The wines I chose did not disappoint. They were light but energetic in two totally different ways. So go forth and day drink!

Note: Here 's my mom's take on Shavuot: "Shavuot celebrates when God gave the Torah at Sinai and the Jewish people accepted it. It is a pilgrimage festival and everybody used to go to the Temple to drink wine. You had the right idea all along." Thanks, Mom!

Oui Oui Rosé

I took close to seven years of French, starting in middle school. Actually, the reason I chose French over Spanish (our only two options) was because the Spanish teacher seemed like a real creep. The French teacher on the other hand was a sweet older woman and I could dig that. Oddly enough, I stopped taking French in high school after one year because THAT teacher seemed like a creep. I started again in college and got pretty close to fluency but never studied abroad because my parents wouldn’t foot the bill and didn't want me taking out loans for it. Ah well. I can still read it for the most part, but forget speaking or listening, not gonna happen. That said, I know the phrase “oui oui” well.

I was so excited to learn about Oui Oui Rosé, a collaboration between my favorite winemaker, Field Recordings, and my favorite wine shop, Underdog. I don’t buy a ton of rosé which is dumb, because it’s great, but I kind of overdid it one summer and still haven’t quite got the hankering back. However, this rosé is delightful. I asked Ryan Sciara, the owner of Underdog and co-creator of this wine to tell me about it and in his words, “It’s 100% Grenache. Central Coast appellation but the majority of the fruit comes from Paso. Oh, and it's f*ing delicious!” Well said.

Oui Oui is bright and fruity with a briny, seawater quality to it and a bit of anise on the nose. It reminds me of the Central Coast of California (duh, I know but listen). I would love to drink this on the deck of a cabin in Big Sur. I’ve actually only driven through Big Sur because it was literally on fire when I was there a few years ago, but it was still fucking amazing. Also, can we talk about how it’s annoying that Big Little Lies is supposed to be set in Monterey but they are like constantly driving over the Bixby Bridge when they are on their way to meet up for drinks or whatever? Where are they going?

This wine also reminds me of the video for Fleet Foxes' new song, Fool's Errand. If you think Fleet Foxes is overrated, whatever, I still like them. I saw them live like five or so years ago and they were fantastic. I'm super excited for the new album. This song is particularly great with a video that is equally wonderful. I could watch modern dance on coastal/forested landscapes all day. Preferably while sipping Oui Oui.

Anyway, this wine feels special for me because it was Field Recordings that introduced me to good wine and Underdog where I went when I started taking wine more seriously. Both have had instrumental roles in my wine journey, so to get to enjoy something created by both of them kind of makes my mind and heart explode.

If I had the foresight to meal plan, I would pair this with some sort of white fish, like tilapia or halibut. But I won’t lie, it also pairs just fine with Annie’s mac & cheese after a long day. So you could say it’s versatile. Also, please don’t judge. Also also, I probably shouldn’t have any more fish this week because I’ve already had it three times in four days. Oops. I foresee drinking a lot of this in the next couple of months because, as they say, rosé season is upon us and I’m game!

Fable 373: THE ANT OR THE GRASSHOPPER?

I drank The Fableist Cabernet Sauvignon on the night of the election. Actually, I posted the above pic on Instagram election day with the caption, “What do we think would pair best with a Clinton presidency or the world going down in flames?” As you might have gathered, I was displeased with the outcome of the election to say the least. In other words, I went into a deep depression November 9-? (still working on it-- Trump should seriously foot my therapy bills). I hadn’t bought this wine since. Not for any particular reason, but I decided to get it the other day when it was gray and chilly and I wanted a big bold red. This wine is delicious and sumptuous, full of big berries and dark fruits. I get a lot of overripe plum. It’s tart but bold with a spiciness that lingers on your tongue. The Fableist is a collaboration between Field Recordings and Sans Liege. I’ve tried three of their wines (all reds) and they have all been fantastic.

Field Recordings was my intro into good wine. I had Fiction Red at an anniversary dinner three years ago and was in love. I started regularly buying bottles of Fiction, Wonderwall and The Fableist not realizing they were all under the Field Recordings umbrella. I was lucky enough to meet Andrew Jones, founder of Field Recordings, in March (and he even knew me as @catsandlacroix) at Underdog. I told him “Your wine convinced me to stop drinking shitty wine!” And he laughed and signed my bottle "Undercat" which made my year.

The Fableist cabernet is so rich and totally outlives its former reputation as the election night wine. Oh the election. I could write a tome about my post-election feelings. In essence, I’m still hurt and confused. I will never understand how we could elect a person who openly bragged about sexually assaulting women (not to mention all of the other egregious shit he has said/done and continues to do) to the highest political office, but here we are. All we can do is keep drinking good wine and resisting, preferably at the same time. Call your reps & drink this wine!

Battle of the Cans: Field Recordings

I have an affinity for wine in cans. I’m not sure if it’s just the fact that I’ve had a lot of great stuff from cans or that my truest self is a casual, porch-sitting midwesterner who loves to crack a cold can of something. Either way, I have had A LOT of good stuff from cans lately, here are several of my favorites (all from Field Recordings, might I add).

Hans Grüner

I only heard about Hans Grüner recently via Field Recordings’ Instagram. I was super pissed because I saw that it was released in L.A. just after I left. I sent an urgent text to my friend, Ursula saying “TRY THIS! FOR ME!” However, my wine guy told me they would be carrying it at Underdog shortly so I was thrilled and realized my hyperbolic reaction was a little premature. It’s kind of hard to smell wine out of a can, so I’m just going to skip that. (I know I could pour it into a glass but doesn’t that defeat the purpose?) It tastes like hay and Pamplemousse La Croix (my favorite flavor if you were wondering). I haven’t actually tasted hay, but I’ve been on a farm once or twice, so I feel like I get the gist. The thing I love about Grüner Veltliners is that they almost have the mouthfeel of a red in terms of density and richness. It kind of freaked me out with my first one but I grew to really love it. This Grüner hits it out of the park. Also, the packaging is amazing, and that’ll convince me to buy anything.

Edit: I let my husband try this and in his words “huh, this is really good and I don’t even like white wine.” Way to go, Hans Grüner!

Methodé Aluminum

The Methodé Aluminum is 100% Chardonnay, which I did not realize upon buying. I knew it was sparkling and had sweet minimalist packaging but that was about it. I have to admit, I’m not the biggest Chardonnay fan. It’s not Chardonnay’s fault, I’m sure it’s great, but I used to have this awful boss who was a misogynistic piece of shit (I could tell you stories for days) and he always gave us Chardonnay for holidays. Don’t get me wrong, I drank it because I was broke and it was wine, but it tasted like buttery white male privilege. So unfortunately that’s my main association with Chardonnay. I’m happy to report that the Methodé Aluminum has no notes of butter or white male privilege. In fact, it’s not buttery at all which is the thing I like least about Chardonnay. This wine is crisp yet rich. It has so much depth to it. It’s interesting to have a heavier-bodied white like Chardonnay in sparkling form. It’s incredibly herbaceous, like the herb garden I always tell myself I’m going to plant each summer but don’t. Maybe this year…

Alloy Wine Works Pinot Noir


Step one: chill that shit. I find it super weird to drink a can of something that isn’t cold (or at least cool) so I prefer lighter-bodied reds in cans because they taste great chilled. I’m pairing this wine with the new Jill Soloway show, “I Love Dick” on Amazon. Both are so fucking good. Have you watched Transparent yet? If not, stop what you’re doing and watch it immediately. Jill Soloway is the shit. So is this wine. It’s bright and tart and just a little bit sour, but in the best way-- like candy.

I would really like to drink this wine in Marfa, Texas, which is where I Love Dick is set and looks fucking incredible. My friend Rachel lives just outside of Austin and we are working on planning a Marfa trip. I want to bring a whole case of this Pinot Noir and sit on the deck of a sweet Airbnb in the desert and just drink and chill and listen to desert sounds. Idk what are you supposed to do in the desert?

I like everything about this wine, especially the fact that it comes in a tallboy. Tallboys just make me really nostalgic for college when I would buy PBR tallboys and drink them with my friends, staying up till two or three and rolling into French class late in the morning. It was always worth it. I wish I’d had this wine in college. I had a sweet studio just off campus with the perfect deck. My boyfriend (now husband) hated that apartment because it was loud and small, but it was pretty perfect for just me. I could totally see myself porch-sitting, listening to NPR and drinking this wine at 1201 Oread.

So the verdict on wine in cans: keep it coming! Don't get me wrong, they make shitty wine in cans but you can find great stuff from smaller winemakers at your local wine shop. Also, I suggest going with a white, rosé or a light-bodied red so you can chill it. I plan to be porch-sitting and cracking cold ones all summer.

Farewell to TJ’s Etc.

When I turned 28 in October, I resolved to stop buying shitty wine. Sure, I’d had some good wine at restaurants around town (I tried Fiction Red in like 2014 and felt really good about myself), but I habitually bought wine at Trader Joe’s or my local liquor store whose wine selection consisted of generic, mass-produced reds and whites (I don’t even think they had a rosé or sparkling wine in sight). Before you call me a snob, let me explain that I don’t care where you buy your wine. It’s America, drink what you want! But if you’re buying at TJ’s or a liquor store (unless they specialize in wine) it is super hard to find quality wine at a decent price point.

So I found a local wine shop, Underdog, that I started stopping into every week or so for a bottle. But I won’t lie, I supplemented with the shitty stuff, more out of my own anxiety than anything else. I was worried that the wine shop staff would berate me for not knowing how to pronounce “Viognier” (Vee-og-ner?) or not knowing that Valdiguié was a red (¯\_(ツ)_/¯).

However, it was after a particularly bad bottle of red that I had in November (all I could think was “THIS TASTES LIKE FAKE OAK BULLSHIT” all caps, cause I was mad) that I truly committed to never again buying from a grocery store/crappy liquor store. The next day I walked into Underdog and purchased the Fableist Merlot at the advice of one of the staff. I didn’t even think I liked merlot, I thought that was like an old person thing from the nineties. I tried it and immediately wrote a PSA on my Instagram about the pros of buying from a wine shop (pro: you can find stuff just as affordable as at the liquor store! Pro: it probably won’t taste like shit!)

All of this to say, It’s been quite a long time since I purchased a wine anywhere besides a wine shop and I’m never looking back! As a bonus, I’ve gotten to meet a few of my favorite winemakers or the people who work with those winemakers (Field Recordings! Jenny & Francois!) and have gotten to try some new, amazing stuff just for being a loyal customer.

I am six months into my wine journey and I am basically a wine shop evangelist. I’ll just admit that up front. Also, I don’t claim to know a lot about wine-- I’m not a sommelier or a wine writer; I just love wine. This is a space where I’ll write weekly about the wines I’ve been drinking and loving. You’ll notice an emphasis on smaller winemakers and low-intervention wines, because these just happen to be what I dig. Also, most of what I’ll feature will be well under $30 and I’ll let you know if I spring for something pricier. Please let me know if you have any recommendations, qualms or critiques. But if the criticism is too harsh, I might need a drink first.

Cheers!