I received my secret Santa gift from my son-in-law Brian this year, two bottles of homemade wine, one pomegranate, the other cherry. Though I am not a wine-connoisseur, I know just enough to write a brief review of his winemaking efforts and my enjoyable consumption.
First, the pomegranate. Pretty good legs, fruity to the nose, crisp on the palate, with a nice berry finish. You can easily drink a few glasses while watching football or binging on Netflix with a bowlful of Chex mix or chips and salsa. This wine invites you in for a good time without slapping you up the side of the head. ABV? Who knows?
Next the cherry. Not leggy at all, with a very rich, vibrant burgundy color. This wine smothers your nose with a “welcome home” embrace as you inhale the rich, formal cherry aroma. The palette screams, “Cherry!” as this sweeter wine fills the mouth with a bucket full of flavor. The finish is brief, making you yearn for that moment when you find and bite into a whole black cherry in some ice cream. This feels like a good after dinner wine, and would go well with a decadent, chewy chocolate brownie, demanding that you, “Shut up and enjoy your dessert!” Nicely done. ABV? Not a clue.
My favorite part of the gift is the two bottles, custom etched with the vintner’s face. I don’t know how he did that, but it is really cool. I’ll post a pic after I finish these bottles.
The name on the bottle is Swish, but don’t look for it in any stores or restaurants. Once I drink this, it’s probably gone forever. But the unique, down to earth flavors will linger along with the other warm memories of our family Christmas together.
Lisa and I headed down to the beach for supper tonight, and parked right across from the Flagler Beachfront Winery just a few blocks north of the Golden Lion on A1A. We never noticed it before because it has only been open for a month or so. So we wandered in to see what they had to offer and discovered a great place to sit and have a glass of wine made right on the premises, a pint of beer (they had some craft beers on tap) and a nice cheese plate. Sitting outside on a beautiful night, the ocean had calmed from the high waves of the full moon just nights before. We’ll definitely be back to sample some more of their wines!
A woman stopped me in the wine aisle of Publix today to ask my opinion of some wine she was considering buying. I wasn’t dressed like someone who worked there, just jeans and a t-shirt. But she assumed I could help her understand the subtle differences between two bottles of red wine she wanted to give as a gift.
My knowledge of wine is limited, although I have learned quite a bit over the last few years by hanging out with people who do know something about wine. As we talked, she mentioned having bought a bottle a few years ago that was over $20. Now I knew I was out of my league. My league is the under $8 varietals. She seemed to be more interested in the price that anything else about the wine, so I helped her find a more costly choice on a top shelf. She was grateful for my help.
When it comes to wine, I mostly know what I like (mostly reds) and what my wife likes (Chardonnay), and buy what’s affordable. I’ve had many people comment about how much they enjoy the communion wine at church. We use Manischewitz Concord Grape, which is a bottom shelf variety (on sale this week at WalMart 2 for $7).
My best wine advice: buy what you like and enjoy.