This Wine Is For The Best Damn Shrimp And Grits

family at bball game

First thing’s first: there is no recipe.  Just let destiny take the lead.

Step One

Make a few good Southern friends.  Become intrigued by their welcoming nature, their monogrammed chevron makeup bags, their Kendra Scott jewelry and their prevalent use of polka dots.  Surprise yourself with a little positivity.  Replace (almost) all the black in your wardrobe with confident, colorful prints.  Get to a point where you convince yourself that you could join a bible study.  Because all of a sudden, you want to be as grounded as they have been their whole lives.

Step Two

Move to North Carolina.  Be overwhelmed by the abundant sunshine.  Buy a house with your husband after eight years of renting.  Watch proudly as he assembles the crib.  Order a mounted polka dot giraffe for the nursery.  Realize that life is brimming with possibility.

Step Three

Later on, some day, when you have a free moment, swing by your local Harris Teeter for some shrimp.  Cook it up with red bell peppers, fresh spinach, some garlic, pepper, and lemon juice.  Accompany this happy medley with stoneground grits, a sliver of Kerrygold and a healthy serving of Irish cheddar.

Step Four

Pour out the dregs of your discounted blend and savor that best damn moment — when not everything is gravy, but you think it could be soon; when your stomach is empty, but your heart is full.

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

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.