The reds are coming

At one point in our nation’s history, to hear someone say: “The Reds are coming!” wouldn’t have been a good thing.

The reason for this discomforting thought was because to call someone a “Red” meant that person was a Communist. Even today, communism doesn’t pair well with democracy but before we get too political, let’s talk a bit about wine.

During the recent celebration of our country’s 241st year of independence, I was solemnly sipping some red and white wines under a blue sky when I began to expound to my group the need for us to remember history so we don’t relive the same mistakes over and over again.

It was an interesting conversation as the discussion flowed (as did the wine) between current events and historical happenings. The white wine bottle was soon empty and we were left with…the reds. Those remaining bottles of reds sparked my thoughts for this column.

There is a red wine for everyone. It doesn’t matter if you like Old World or New World wines, dry or sweet wines, light or heavy bodied wines, you can find a red that will be your friend. Here are a few of my friends…

California’s Bogle Winery produces some very fine wines, and I haven’t met one that wasn’t satisfying to me. They have a red blended wine called Essential Red, which is made of Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel, Syrah and Petite Sirah grapes. Think lusciousness with a bit of spice — but be aware when you drink this wine — it’s so well crafted, it entices you to keep sipping. It’s delicious, dry, full bodied and a pleasure to drink. You could become comrades very easily with this wine.

Turning our minds to the Rioja region of Spain, we have a wonderful Tempranillo red wine — Altos Ibéricos Crianza. Tempranillo grapes are used a lot in Spain and Portugal because the grape is useful by itself and in a blend This Crianza is Tempranillo based, is fruity with delicate cherry flavors and has a very mild fig aroma. The finish ends with some strawberry tastes, which brings a pleasing end to this charming wine.

Coming back to Monterey County, California we find the winery named Chateau Julien. This family owned winery has been operating since 1981, and the winery’s flagship wine is Merlot. Although a dry red wine, it’s balanced nicely with some black cherry flavors and mild oak aromas If this wine came from Moscow, there would be marching in Red Square because it’s so subtle, silky and red. If a Merlot is your wine of choice, try this one — you wouldn’t be disappointed.

Now let’s go to the “dark side” and by that I mean the very dark red wine called malbec. The Argentinian winery of Bodega makes a Renacer’s Punto Final Malbec and it’s fabulous. The grapes to make this wine come from 50-year old vines and the limited production from these vines gives an extremely full bodied, succulent and mouth watering wine. You’ll taste a well balanced, jammy wine with black currant flavors and a bit of a spicy finish — it’s good to be called a “Red” in this instance!

How about some red Minnesota wines? Grandview Valley Winery near Belview makes some wonderful reds and I really enjoy their Marquette. It’s dry, has a pleasing cherry flavor, is balanced well by some aging in French oak and the finish surprises you with a nice touch of spice. If your taste goes more to the sweet side, try their GV Port Style made from Frontenac grapes. It’s sweet and has a very pleasing chocolate taste.

Finally, I would recommend California’s Ravenswood Winery’s Zen of Zin — obviously, a zinfandel. Many zinfandel wines are too spicy but this one is delicious. This wine also comes from very old vines and the result is a thoughtfully made and sensual wine. The aroma opens with some vanilla, then the taste places some blackberry and a bit of chocolate on your tongue and that is soon followed by a long soft spicy finish. This is a wine that makes you hesitate, makes you think about the revolutions going on around you and then says to you: “Oh, what the heck, just enjoy!”

The good thing about all of these wines is that they are meant to please you — to give you the opportunity to take a few minutes of your day and find some happiness and peace — either alone or with some friends. However, they also say don’t let your guard down — we may be nice but we do contain alcohol so be careful when you’re around the reds.

Yes, we shouldn’t forget nor ignore history but we should also learn to have faith in our abilities to identify the wines we seriously enjoy in the here and now. So don’t fret — the “Reds” are here now and they’re waiting for you.

Next week, where there’s a red, there’s a white.

As always, eat and drink in moderation but laugh with reckless abandon!

Cheers!

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