Home > Life, wine blogging wednesday > Wine, Pick Me Up, Please!

Wine, Pick Me Up, Please!

So you had a bad day at work. During the meeting, the boss kept giving you the look, you know, that one. Engineering just informed you that project delivery will be delayed [yet again]  by 4 weeks, and you are the one to come up with the third(!) apology/excuse to the customer. And actually, this Sunday you will have to be on the plane, and it will be 3rd week in a row you have had to travel over the weekend and cancel all your plans. Is that bad enough, or do we need to throw in a flat tire and a speeding ticket on the way to work?

Okay, you arrive home in a sufficiently bad mood. Sit down, relax, and maybe put on some nice music (I don’t know about you, but Stan Getz, Frank Sinatra or Tony Bennett will fit the bill for me). Will a glass of wine help to cheer you up? Most probably. But what bottle should you open? If your answer is “the only one I already have”, this post might not help you much…

My wine teacher Kevin Zraly always said that “the wine should give you pleasure“. So another short answer would be “the one which will give you pleasure” – and what we need to keep in mind is that the wine I would enjoy immensely might be completely not your thing. Let’s put this aside, and let’s assume that I actually had a bad day at work. Well, it would be the easiest then to write this blog post empirically and emphatically, but I’m not sure that if I actually had a bad day at work, I would be able to write a good blog post, so … did I lose you yet? Let’s get back to the subject.

Here are three important criteria for selecting the “pick me up” wine. First, it should be an “instantly on” wine. What I mean is that the wine should be ready to drink as soon as the bottle is open. This will effectively exclude lots of big Italian wines, such as Barolo and Brunello, as well as many California Cabs (unless you have something aged to perfection in your cellar and it is actually ready to drink now) – anything which needs decanting or prolonged breathing time should be avoided here.

Then I would suggest that the wine should be familiar. It should be the wine you had before and you know how it will taste like. There is nothing wrong with opening a totally unknown bottle of wine, but – you are in a bad mood already, are you sure it is worth taking chances?

The last factor I want to throw in here – I want this wine to have a great smell. I think the “pick me up” process should start from the very first whiff of your glass, way before you take a first sip. Smell has a great power to transform your mood right away – and the great bonus or a great smell is that you can smell the wine indefinitely as opposed to drinking it.

Oh, wait, there is one more desired feature here – the wine should be good. In other words, it should give you pleasure. In my personal book it means that the wine should be balanced and as an added bonus, have a sense of place.

Let me give you some examples of wines that should be able to improve one’s mood (I’m sure they will work for me).

2010 Fiction Red Wine Paso Robles by Field Recordings. I talked about this magnificent wine a number of times already in this blog, so let me just quote myself:First and foremost, it is a smell which doesn’t let you put the glass down. Fresh flowers, meadows, herbs, fresh summer air – it is all captured in the smell of this wine. On the palate, this wine shows bright red fruit, like raspberries and cherries, all perfectly balanced with great finesse. Any time you want to experience a beautiful summer day, reach out to that wine.”

Flora Springs Soliloquy Sauvignon Blanc 2009. “One of the very best California Sauvignon Blanc I ever had. Beautiful combination of traditional grassiness with fruit-forward and finesse. Outstanding!”

Rozes Over 40 Years Old Port. “My best port ever. I can close my eyes and imagine the smell and taste of this wine – multiple layers, tremendous complexity, and great opportunity to reflect on life when the finish lasts for 15 minutes or longer.”

2007 Inniskillin Cabernet Franc Icewine “This was definitely the best Icewine I ever tried. Light and effervescent (not your usual descriptors for the icewine), with perfect acidity complementing beautiful fruit. A true masterpiece.

There you have it – I’m sure either one of these wines will greatly improve your mood. However, there is an extremely good chance that any [your personal good] bottle of wine will help too. Besides, having a bad day at work is not at all mandatory to enjoy a glass of wine (or two). Tell me, what will be in your glass today? Cheers!

  1. May 23, 2012 at 2:25 pm

    While I agree wholeheartedly with the premise of this post, don’t the last two violate your “instantly on” criterion? Id est, they need to be a little cooler than cellar temp (although depending how cold you like your port, it may still be “instantly on”–but the icewine won’t). I instantly thought about my go-to-bad-day wine and it would have to be champagne. Obviously, this would need some time to chill up, but 30 minutes in the freezer (those who claim you should never put a bottle in the freezer to chill are wrong–you should never FORGET ABOUT a wine you have put in the freezer!). Besides, this 30 minutes respite gives me time to go upstairs, change, kiss my kids, and feel less like I ‘need’ the wine.

    • talkavino
      May 24, 2012 at 6:51 am

      I personally drink port at the “room” temperature, so that bottle from the cellar would be just fine for me. As far as chilling of the icewine goes, I have wine chiller sleeves in my freezer all the time, so putting one of those on the bottle will get it to the right temperature in less than 10 minutes. And you are absolutely right – there are many other “good emotions” at home which will fully allow you to forget your bad day at work.

  2. May 23, 2012 at 2:54 pm

    Reblogged this on The Buzz and commented:
    A great piece by one of my favorite wine writers. Enjoy. Perhaps it will help you pick your pick me up tonight.

  3. May 23, 2012 at 4:10 pm

    All your criteria are spot on for a pop-n-pour at the end of a bad day.

    A great “how to” post. Salud!

    • talkavino
      May 24, 2012 at 6:52 am

      Thank you!

  4. May 24, 2012 at 12:25 am

    Nice variety of selections! And I agree with your points. (Hmmn, I shouldn’t have read your post before I finished mine because we’re on the same page here!)

    • talkavino
      May 24, 2012 at 6:52 am

      Thank you for the comment!

  1. June 15, 2012 at 12:48 am

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