OK. I had a family gathering to attend – a birthday party. This would be the “extended” family which includes many people who partake in the fruit of the vine, some who do not, and some for whom it has been legal to imbibe for a very short time. We had a reservation in the party room at a casual Italian BYOB restaurant. Question was: what bottle should I bring to the celebration? I thought about being the “wine guy” and really going out of my way to pull a wine that would match the food perfectly. Then I remembered that a) these were people who had already been subjected to my enthusiasm about wine and food pairing, and b) I didn’t have anything to prove because these folks all know me too well.
So, I decided to look for something that would accompany most Italian dishes reasonably well … BUT that wouldn’t be too taxing for nor offensive to anyone’s palate (or as close as I could get). Considering there were going to be quite a few folks in attendance, it had to be fairly easy on the wallet, too. After all, there was no doubt that the focus of the evening would not be the food and drink – it would be all about togetherness and having a good time. With those thoughts in mind, I ended up with this inexpensive Gallo brand red.
Notes: The color of this Merlot was a medium garnet. It’s bouquet had a pleasant figgy aroma. Tannins were light, acidity was good, and alcohol was at 11.5%. On the tongue I caught flavors of sweet cherry (lots of it) as well as a touch of pepper, a fig note, chlorophyll and coffee grounds as it came to a finish. Not too bad. And I know it wasn’t the ultimate wine to accompany the pasta and pizza we had. But, hey, at least I didn’t get any complaints.