This Wine is For Sunday Blues

Foris Pinot Noir
Oregon

Producer: Foris
Importer: n/a
Year: 2008
Price: $18.99

Ruby. Bright. Balanced and semi-chewy. This wine is the cure for a case of the end-of-the-weekend blues. It is classier than your current mood, but doesn’t mind keeping you company while you dwell on the looming prospect of the week ahead, the disconnect between your dreams and reality. After allowing some time for that pity party, it subtly reminds you that there is more to work than the cubicle awaiting your arrival tomorrow morning, more to life than the grande Pike you will methodically pick up on the way in, and more to you than the defeated outlook you are about to boldly shake off…

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This Wine Tastes Fine… A Week Later

Brophy Clark GSM
Santa Barbara

Producer: Brophy Clark Cellars
Importer: N/A
Vintage: 2007
Price: $16.99

No, really.

You open it on a Monday night during the second half of the Bulls game – you hadn’t expected to have wine on Monday, but there you go. Tuesday, well, Tuesday was a rough day at the office, what with the conference call and the formatting issue, so a bit more of that delicious Grenache/Syrah/Mourvedre blend would help you unwind. Wednesday you end up traveling for work, and when you come back, it’s Friday: time for weekend wine.

The cute dark bottle with the landscape label sits on your kitchen counter for a few more days before the work week rolls around again, and suddenly there you are: Monday evening, eyeing the last poured glass, sniffing, grimacing, and then smiling with relief. The train schedule, the internet speed, the long line at lunch may have all disappointed, but the GSM did not. A small but delightful victory.

This Wine is For Your Franco-Bistro Fantasy

Newton Claret
Napa

Producer: Newton Vineyard
Importer: N/A
Vintage: 2007
Price: $25.00

How very American, to take a French wine (Bordeaux) and an English term (Claret) and create something that is best enjoyed here. Glasses clink and silverware rattles on trays carried by dark strangers who snake their way through the maze of diners. When your very dashing date dashes off to the restroom, you take the moment to indulge your Franco-bistro fantasy…

Alone at the table, you are a fatalistic, emotionally beleaguered artist, thinking deeply and wearing a beret, your eyes alighting on all things beautiful among your surroundings – the glint of a diamond on a well-heeled socialite’s finger, the smile exchanged between two lovers in the corner booth, the story of a work mishap that has all colleagues roaring with laughter. In this bustling scene, it is almost as if you have somehow stumbled into a colorful Renoir masterpiece… And yet, the greatest realization is that this moment is real.

Lost in reflection, you recline in your seat, one hand absentmindedly tracing the pattern of the tablecloth, the other raising the glass to your lips, which have curled in a subtle, charmed, almost Parisian smile.

This Wine Is For Company Casserole

Cannonball Cabernet
California
Producer: Cannonball Wine Company
Importer: N/A
Vintage: 2007
Price: $15.99
We make this recipe for the same reason we drink this wine –
It reminds us of a less complicated version of life,
A time when we wore heels to play dress up,
We were put to bed before dusk,
And we truly believed our parents – and their parents – were invincible.
A time when we took the greatest pleasure in the smallest things,
Like licking the spoon after we spread the sauce.
Company Beef Casserole
Mom’s Notes in Italics

Ingredients:
1 1/2 lbs. ground beef (or ground turkey)
1/2 cup chopped onion (you can used dried if in a hurry)
1 cup sour cream (you can use lite, but not fat-free)
1 8 oz. pkg. Philadelphia cream cheese – Remove from package and soften in microwave
1 cup cottage cheese (lite if you want, but no fat-free)
8 oz. to12 oz. wide noodles
16 oz. tomato sauce
Freshly shredded parmesan cheese (optional)

Directions:
1. Grease 3 qt. or 13×9 casserole dish.
2. Cook noodles according to directions. (It’s usually a shorter time if using in a casserole – I think it’s 5 minutes for the noodles I use).
3. Mix together softened cream cheese, sour cream and cottage cheese, stirring well.
4. Brown beef (and onions if fresh) in oil till fully cooked – then drain.
5. Add tomato sauce to beef.
6. To assemble casserole….
· Layer 1/2 cooked noodles on bottom of casserole
· Spread cheese mixture on top of noodles
· Add rest of noodles on top of cheese mixture
· Spread meat and tomato sauce mixture evenly on top
7. Bake uncovered at 375 for 30 minutes. Sprinkle freshly grated parmesan last 10 minutes if desired.

This Wine Hopes You Didn’t Make A Fuss

Rusty Boar Red Wine
Washington State

Producer: Rusty Boar Wine Company
Importer: N/A
Year: 2007
Price: $15.99

Bottled with the label Rusty Boar, it pours more like a fluffy puppy, licking your face and wagging its tail in an effort to win your affection. It is an innocent introduction to a more sinister wine lurking in your cabinet. While most reds arrive with ceremony, accompanied by a posse of bling-flashing flavors, this one knocks timidly on the door before noticing it is half open, and steps inside with an apology for not calling ahead. It is enjoyable and without immediate harm. Like screening your blind date on Facebook before he picks you up on Friday night. Like starting the next chapter in the story despite an early morning alarm. Like most things in life, before you infuse them with your incessant, tedious melodrama.