Wednesday, April 18, 2012

cheap and cheerful on a birthday

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Birthdays suck. Now that we're (slightly) older, all it does is remind you that you need to be more responsible, more mature, more adult-like.

Went out to get a birthday gift for a friend - cedar shoe trees, the sort of old-timers thing I really like. Nothing makes a Harry Rosen sales rep go soft faster than when you say, yes, that's all I'm looking for. No I don't want two pairs. No, I don't want to look at anything else. Kind of amazing how transparently sales-oriented they've become there (on a consistent basis), that sort of attitude of fuck off, you're not worth my time, as soon as they realize you're not willing to drop more than a few bills. Even more disappointing is that you expect better from middle-aged men, who, let's be fucking frank, play dress-up and hustle rich customers for a living. As if wearing expensive suits and matching handkerchiefs with ties means anything. Such a shame. I met Harry Rosen a few years ago, when he gave a lecture at my school about entrepreneurship. You'd imagine that under his watch, such behaviour would not be tolerated . . .

I'm allowed to say shit like this once in a while because it's absolutely true and because, well, I'm a grumpy prick. A bit too lazy to bother putting up the names of the wines pictured, but they're all big labels, easy to find, and really, they don't need any more trumpeting. Cheap but cheerful wines to celebrate my friend's birthday this past weekend. We were going for wine to go down easy and just be fun - no thinking required (or desired). Low alcohol, so we could drink a lot. Pure, clean fruit flavours, balanced acidity. Freshness, because my buddy had prepared a large amount of food. And well, cheap - all for under $12 or so a bottle.

I think I did rather well in the 6 bottles I picked up. A box wine chardonnay, to mess around with another wine-loving friend, but French Rabbit's always been very drinkable. My first taste of Fuzion shiraz/malbec, as shitty of a wine as I had imagined it to be. The rest were actually quite good. The C'est La Vie from the Midi, gorgeous pure red fruits, very, very fresh. And the pair of Cono Sur wines, always dependable. I've been drinking their $10 pinot noir since second-year university, and in my opinion, it's one of the best wines at that price. Good acid, good fruit, even a bit of minerality/earthiness. The last two bottles, brought over by said wine-loving friend, a Bordeaux and a vermentino from Lodi(!) were solid, if unspectacular.

As these things go, we ate a long lunch, drank a shitload of wine, and promptly became hungry again. 10pm on a Sunday evening, out to get some congee before calling it a night. A great day. Wine is for thought and contemplation and all that, but sometimes, on a rare occasion (for me), a simple drink is all I want. Simple, honest, chuggable juice.

DF

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