I only drink fortified wines during bad weather…(sic) After all, it’s any storm for a Port. — Winalski

September 12, 2008

Well, Miss Chris is still dealing with her medical dramas…a detached retina due to hypertensive eye disease…which means hardcore meds…which means no more red meat or beer for me (that pitiful noise you hear coming in on the wind is me, crying, knowing I have to go back on the DASH diet…no more steak dinners with a nice microbrew for me…boo hoo!). HOWEVER…I can still have wine! (And I’m still going to be sneaking in a beer here and there…I am NOT giving up my pumpkin ale!) So, as we all know that good food, good wine, and a very bad girl is what I’m all about…I’m going to devote a good chunk of this entry to my vices! (At least the PG rated ones…and to someone who I KNOW reads this regularly…get yer mind out of the gutter!)

Wine me, dine me…

Well, as I am now going to be on a forced wine kick (oh, please, no…twist my arm!), I’ve been doing oodles of research on wine sites, wine clubs, wine products, and just some really great wine articles. Many people are intimidated by wine, thinking that if they order the “wrong” wine, people will look down their noses at them. Not so! First off, many of these faux oenophiles are just pulling your leg…either trying to look like they know more than they do, or just having a goof at your expense. Read this article for how to do it, too!

There’s a lot of people that feel that if a wine is cheap, it can’t be good. Actually, have you ever noticed how many fallacies are perpetuated about wines? That screw tops and syntheic corks are bad, that box wines are bad, that only certain wines go with certain foods? I hope you’ll allow me to blow all of that out of the water for you as I give you just a teensy bit of a lesson about wine.

Let’s address the first topic I brought up–cheap vs. expensive. There are MANY great choices out there for inexpensive wines that don’t break the bank. I thoroughly enjoy researching the subject with my galpals, and I often find great recommendations in Wine Spectator and Food and Wine magazines that I make a point of hunting down and trying out and then (if I remember) entering into a database in my computer for future reference. If you are looking for something much more “quick and dirty”, make a point of clicking on the following sites:
http://www.wineloverspage.com/wineadvisor2/tswa20080908.php
http://winecurmudgeon.typepad.com/my_weblog/2008/09/llano-estacado-winery.htmlhttp://drinksareonme.net/?p=377
http://www.cheapfunwines.com/archives/wine-advice/wine_101_cc_is_for_champagne.php

Once you get into it, you may want to take a page from my book and document what is good and what is, well, pretty much vinegar. Click here to access a free wine database!

Screw tops and synthetic corks–wine snobs often look down their noses at these. Anyone who knows wine should EMBRACE them! Natural cork, though used for ages as a stopper in bottles, must be kept moist to maintain a proper seal. (Hence why wine is stored on its side.) However, natural cork is just that-natural-and has the same tendencies that most other woods do. It can pick up fungus, tainting your wine. It can dry out and deteriorate, letting air seep into your prized viognier so that it becomes “corked”. You likely will know if you’ve gotten a corked wine…it will have a nose of wet dog, with notes of cardboard and cheap balsamic on the tongue, and a finish that is reminiscent of licking the inside of a can (these are my observations…yours may vary…). Synthetics and screw caps are much more stable, and make it MUCH easier to reseal a bottle if need be. (I’m much more a fan of the screw cap than the synthetics as the synthetics are not recyclable.) For a quick read on the topic, click here.

Box wine. Hmmmmm…for years I looked down on it. Unless I REALLY needed to get a buzz on after having the day from hell and that was all my friend had at her house, I would have rather drunk out of the garden hose and forgo my grape juice fix. I still will not buy Peter Vella or anything that comes in say, four gallon containers, has a description on it of “Blush”, and a vintage of last week. However, those of you who are in the know may already be aware of a Miss Chris fave-French Rabbit…packed in what is known as a Tetra-Pak, this is a good $10 or so wine, comes in several varieties, and is eco-friendly. Make a point of checking out the website…it’s VERY cool!

White zin with a kobe steak? Chianti with Chinese food? Again, something the wine snobs would be horrified at…let me tell you something…my little secret…I take those rules and throw them out the window. What it should boil down to is WHAT YOU LIKE! Cheap, expensive, red, white, it should be what makes YOU happy! I will throw a few of my personal picks out there for you to try, however…write in and let me know if you have tried them and what your thoughts are!

For a good all around wine, you can’t go wrong with Pinot Noir. I’ve been drinking it for over a decade (way before Sideways made it THE wine to drink), and it goes well with everything from pastas to steak. My go to wine for most occasions is Villa Mt. Eden. The “non-reserve” wine is quite good, dry-ish with some fruit notes and extremely quaffable, and retails at around $14. Try to find the 2004 if you can.

Cheap, but I like it…that’s how I’d categorize Concha y Toro’s Frontera Savignon Blanc. It’s a heavier white wine with a lot of fruit (I taste apple and lemon), good legs, and a long finish…a bit on the hearty side. You can often find a magnum for around $10.

On a lighter note, Fontana Candida’s Frescati is a well liked Italian wine (and Miss Chris’ Daddy-O’s fave) with an 89 Wine Spectator rating and a price of around $11 for a magnum. Sweet, light, with notes of apple and grass, this is a great wine with lighter fare (though I’ll drink it anytime!)

Up for a little experimentation? How about a cheap wine tasting party? I loved this idea! Great for a night in with friends! Check it out by clicking here!

A night at the movies!

There’s some really cool goings on at the Cinema Arts Center! This week “Burn After Reading” is playing (I may have to go see this…not for George Clooney, or Brad Pitt…I have a not so secret crush on John Malkovich…he’s on my short list of next-husbands, along with Chris Isaac and Robert Downey, Jr.). Coming next week, The NY Disabilities Film Festival will be featuring THREE films at the CAC, Ben Model will be providing musical accompaniment for Clara Bow IT, and How to Draw a Bunny will all be featured.

Get your zen on…

Some of you may know that Miss Chris tries to get her zen on with a little meditation (and somehow ends up with a fit of giggles every time she tries…), but the UUFB is hosting Zen Meditation this Thursday the 18th. Please just make a small donation…they are just a really cool little fellowship that welcomes everyone…they have a beautiful location on the bay, an art gallery, and host a songwriter series I will be mentioning in next week’s post.

Acting up!

Ever wanted to act, but always felt kind of awkward about it? Sayville Adult Education is offering individual, personal instruction. Call 631-244-6647 for more info.

Culture Vultures

The Greenport Gallery Walk is this weekend, September 20.

Art and Soul Gallery will be featuring a photo documentary of Vietnam by Eva Cappozzola.

Esses Studio will be featuring work from The Grafitti 1980 Studio.

Film, Glitter and Glam, photography by Mick Rock and mixed media by Steve Joester will be featured at the Morrison Hotel.

Jeanine Klein’s exhibit Use the Elephants will be at Gallery 4222.

I want to rock with you…

Some great gigs are coming up this week! I’m just going to post these all quick and dirty as I have so much to cover in these posts!

Frank Latorre and the King Bees at Eastport Luncheonette this Friday!

I don’t usually post cover bands but here’s two great ones coming up…That 70’s Band
and Smokin’ Gun will both be palying locally this week.

Hank Stone September 20th at Spoon Cafe.

Jay Scott at a fundraiser for the Friends of Shorefront Park benefit this Sunday…come on down and support original music for a good cause…a playground accessible to kids of all abilities!

A Miss Chris fave, Miller’s Crossing–a kick butt and take no prisoners good bluegrass band–will be playing at Palmer Vineyards!

The Homegrown String Band will be playing at Harborfields Library this week.

Coming soon…another Jazz in the Living Room!

Friction Farm and Dee Harris at Hard Luck Cafe!

All for now…have something you think should be on here? Let me know at cheap.date.long.island@gmail.com! I’ll be back with more in a few days!

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