My friend, Suzy, loves to take care of her family and her home. She is a freelance writer and recently retired from teaching in the community college system. I’m glad she is starting to do some things for self-care. Suzy has agreed to share a hobby she’s been working on, finding her favorite wines.
Now, here’s Suzy to share some wine tasting experiments with us:
If you’re like me, you accept the house red or white when dining out or at someone’s home, and look for low-priced wines for at home. My daughter once recommended Barefoot wines, and I jumped on that bandwagon because the price was right and I could always afford what she liked. Trader Joe’s Two Buck (now 3!) Chuck varieties also will suffice, but when she moved to LA, where vineyards abound, and then my husband and I moved to North Carolina’s foothills, where vineyards and wineries have replaced tobacco fields and barns, a new approach to enjoying wine was in order.
More than 80 wineries serve up a plethora of palates, from the French grape blends of Sanders Ridge, to the fruity vegan-friendly, gluten-free offerings of Elkin’s Carolina Heritage, and cleverly named reds and whites from Slightly Askew, also in Elkin – Jumpin’ Jazzamine Riesling, Stump Farm White, and Blue Door Red. These are wonderful for company – just like California’s (Fred) MacMurray Estates Pinot Noir and Francis Ford Coppola’s Director’s Cut reds and whites – but they are pricey.
“Wine Basics for Dummies” is a great reference, and once well-versed, true tasting for favorite wines began.
Dry Chardonnays, Rieslings, Sauvignon Blancs and most Pinot Noirs are out, but I enjoy Pinot Grigio’s hint of fruit. A sommelier was spot-on suggesting a Malbec from Argentina, as it is less tannic. Then at a wedding, I stumbled upon Sicily’s Nero d’avola and was in heaven: must be the hint of chocolate!
For now, everyday favorite wines include LaFinca Cabernet or Malbec and a Nero d’Avola (all at Trader Joe’s and under $5), and Ecco’s Pinot Grigio ($8 most anywhere). A tad pricier are Australia’s Little Boomey’s Cabernet and Washington’s 14 Hands Cabernet (in most wine stores).
My favorite? Nero D’Avola II Meridione and my wine merchant can order it!
Resource links for favorite wines
- NC Wine
- Wine for Beginners from Wine Enthusiast
- Varietal characteristics from Wine Spectator
“Hey, friends! I’m Suzy Barile and I am a mother, a retired professor, and former reporter. I am based in North Carolina. I love my daughter, gardening, and books and writing. My book is Undaunted Heart: The True Story of a Southern Belle & a Yankee General. I enjoy learning new things and I’m happy to share with you.”
Thanks for sharing your new wine hobby with us, Suzy!
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What are your thoughts?