This Wine is For the Everyday Bullfighter

Gazur Tempranillo
Ribera Del Duero

Producer: Telmo Rodriguez
Importer: Vintus
Vintage Year: 2006
Price: $18.99

Clean and smooth with a short finish. This is the wine that the bullfighter drinks with his reheated leftovers. Its flavor sparkles, a flash of crimson, enticing you to charge ahead, yet it woos you into a comfortable calm, one step away from siesta. The bullfighter tosses his jacket across the futon and puts the game on in the background. He checks his mail – more bills – and plays the voicemail from his mother. Then he cracks open the Gazur and pours a hearty glass. He stands in his kitchen, sipping his wine, recalling every twist, every turn, every second of alarm and tango with danger that is (for him) just another day at the office.

This Wine is For Solo Sushi

Bulletin Place Shiraz
Southeastern Australia

Producer: Evans Wine Company
Importer: Vineyard Brands
Year: 2007
Price: $10.99

Twist-off. Dark. Spicy and mellow. Medium body. Soft. Feeling more than a little bit like a loser, I enjoyed this one alone (unless you count the puppy) and it did the trick. A good, cheap wine for takeout sushi and a rom com, in which you indulge while your husband gorges on burgers and buckets of Bud at an after-work happy hour. All the while, his laundry spins in the dryer, unbeknownst to him, and the domestic goddess he somehow snagged plans her own happy hour with the girls for the following evening…

This Wine is For Toasting

Sanguis “The Optimist” Syrah
Santa Maria Valley

Producer: Sanguis
Importer: n/a
Year: 2005
Price: $59.99

As this syrah’s name would unsubtly allude, she is a happy girl, a delightfully drinkable wine – bold, sweet and spicy. She is a toasting wine. Retreating to the deck to enjoy autumn’s swan song of outdoor splendor, chic dinner outfits bundled beneath cozy sweaters, the Optimist takes in the scene, settling comfortably in a decanter beside the bride. Deep breaths of cool air, anxious fingers drumming on empty glasses, and eyes meeting… A silent joint decision is made – not the first for these two – and hands brush each other in a race for the wine. Lavish servings are poured, soft words exchanged, and again, the sound of glasses clinking. The sharing of happy memories and laughter. A couple’s self-serenade in the early hours of the 366th day of marriage.

This Wine is For Fiction

Clos Robert Pinot Noir

Producer: Clos Robert
Importer: n/a
Year: 2008
Price: $14.99

Spicy. Light and bright. This is a fiction wine – When you’ve timed it perfectly to have just enough pages to fill the waning hours of a summer evening. Sitting outside in an Adirondack chair and sipping this wine, you lose yourself in the final twists of a solid plot, and as happily ever after reveals itself yet again, you set the story aside to watch the sun go down and consider your next great literary conquest.

This Wine is For Roommates

Fire Road Marlborough Pinot Noir
New Zealand

Producer: Alana McGettagin
Importer: Winesellers Ltd.
Year: 2008
Price $19.99

This is the wine that you drink with your girls from college, the ones you still refer to as roommates, despite the fact that you are now spread around the globe and wrapped up in your own versions of adulthood… Except for that once-or-twice-a-year wonder when you move back in together. It is dusk on the first evening, and against the soundtrack of your early twenties, you move around the kitchen like the well-oiled machine that you remain… one friend spinning the salad while another tests the sauce, two more set the table while another watches the sun disappear from the balcony. You? You just smile and pour the wine – because, for one moment, everything is as it should be. And that in itself deserves a toast.