Where do you turn after a bad day at work? Specifically, May’s Wine Blogging Wednesday prompt from host Alleigh from A Glass After Work asks: what glass of wine do you turn to?
Fortunately, I more often than not come home exhilarated after a day –or a night–at work because my “day” job is usually at night: I teach writing at a community college and day after day, night after night, my students amaze me. I have a job where I make a difference in my students lives, and I get to see them learn and grown over the course of the semester, to discover themselves as writers, as thinkers. A single mom of 3 told me that our class activities had shown her, reminded her that she’s more than just a mom, but a person with ideas, and that she still “exists.”
But there are definitely THOSE DAYS.
Sometimes it’s the administration, or the dang RULES and such that make NO SENSE, or the stupid tables that keep us from being able to sit in a circle and have an actual conversation. And yes, some days, it is my frustration with my students that makes me look forward to a glass of wine when I get home from teaching.
Since I teach so often at night, my go to glass when I get home around 10pm is port. If it’s warm, or I’m warm, I plonk some ice in it. I am fond of tawny and in January, tasted and wrote about a 40, a 20, and a NV in a blog post titled “Vertical Heaven.”
Personally I would not waste or recommend a 40 or even a 20 on a BAD DAY at work because these ports deserve your full attention. If you can focus on the port and not the day, then this may be your answer. I don’t always have a good sherry around in the fridge, but when I do, that is my go-to wine. (I review a Dow’s 2005 port below.)
To help me answer the question of what’s a good wine for a bad day, I invited my fellow wine predators to contemplate it and bring some wine over. Annie Any-Day answered the call as did new wine predator Que Syrah Sue. Marshall Money-Bags grilled some steaks and we had a caesar salad and artichokes to complete the meal.
Que Syrah Sue‘s working in the Cantara Cellars tasting room every other weekend, so she brought three of her favorites: Albarino, Barbera, and their Intrepid blend of Syrah and Cabernet. While these three are fabulous and would definitely cheer me up when students or deans were making me grrumpy, I’ve decided to save that post for another day since this one is getting too long! (Can’t wait? Learn more about Cantara Cellars: www.cantaracellars.com)
Bacchus Schmacchus says that after a bad day at work, he wants a satisfying glass of pinot noir. He didn’t care which one, it just had to be satisfying, and the one in his glass would probably fill the bill. (Yes that is Bacchus and his famous schnoz!)
Ima Zinner of course suggested a zin and she also was open about which one. I know from past experience that she is very partial to zins from Dry Creek in Sonoma County as well as Eberle from Paso Robles!
Annie AnyDay knew exactly which wine she’d want: one from Wild Horse. And that’s what she brought to the party: a bottle of 2009 Wild Horse Cabernet Sauvignon from Paso Robles that she picked up at the grocery store on her way over.
And that’s why I chose to write up the Wild Horse cabernet sauvignon: because after that bad day at work, you’re probably going to have to stop by the grocery store and pick something up for dinner and some milk for breakfast and cat food. And you’re going to grab a bottle of wine.
Now people all the time apologize when they tell me they choose their wines based on the label. Annie is no different. She loves this Wild Horse wine because when she drinks it, she looks at the label and she thinks about riding a horse, about free and wild and riding out in nature, about the sun shining on her back, the smell of the grasslands and oak woodlands, the yellow mustard on the hillsides, and it takes her far far far away from her workaday world and troubles. She remembers other rides and other horses; she remembers the good times on the trail with friends, four legged and two. She is transformed: if you can’t go for a ride, you can drink one.
After all that, does it really matter what is in the bottle? To Annie, no. Not on a bad day. That horse on the label is what she needs to change a bad day into a good one. To Marshall, Sue, and I, there was no comparison of this grocery store wine with the limited production wine of Cantara Cellars that we’d been drinking before. On a bad day, Marshall would be made happy with the Barbera while Sue and I were ecstatic with the Intrepid. For me, a bad wine on a bad day would make me even crankier–until I opened up something new!
2009 Wild Horse Winery & Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Paso Robles under $20
Oak. Oak. More oak. You’re riding through an oak woodland and some of it lands in your mouth. Very tannic. Cherry cough drop. Cocoa. Dark spiced cocoa on roasted almond. Sturdy, studly, manly. Devour with tritip steak and potatoes. Easy escapist wine. Bring this over to the house of the new guy who’s making you dinner for the first time. Unless he’s a vegetarian, he’s probably going to grill you a steak and this will be just fine. Alc 13.9%. Real Cork closure. Deep punt.
2005 Dow’s Late Bottled Vintage Porto $13 375 (ml)
We ended our evening with a chocolate ganache macadamia nut pie that Sue made which we enjoyed with a 2005 Dow’s Late Bottled Vintage Porto. Both definitely hit the spot. The port is rich, full of fruit but not too sweet or cloying, more like a berry reduction or stewed fruit rather than syrup. Pairs well with dark chocolate. I prefer the 10 year Tawny but it costs more and this has its own soulful merits.