It’s funny, but I grew up using the word “zori” to refer to the footwear commonly known by many as the flip-flop. It was my father who taught me the word zori and used it himself. Although he was a Tennessee boy from a dairy farm, he had joined the service and been stationed overseas. In fact, my older sister was born in Japan – which is where I think he learned about zoris.
It wasn’t until we were living in California and I was a teenager that I heard the term flip-flop. But that term made perfect sense to me immediately. After all, that is the sound they make when you walk in them. To use a fancy word, it’s an onomatopoeia — “the naming of a thing or action by a vocal imitation of the sound associated with it” according to the Merriam Webster Dictionary.
Well, it’s summer and zori/flip-flop season in my neck of the woods, so I grabbed a bottle of Flip Flop to boot. lol
Notes: In the bouquet I caught faint whiffs of berries, earth and wood. It was medium-bodied with rather high acidity and light tannins (although the tannins were more aggressive before oxidation). On the palate of this dark, dark ruby Merlot I tasted cherry, chlorophyll, and a hint of spice. It was a very uncomplicated glass of inexpensive red wine which seems to fit the “Flip Flop” world it’s name suggests.
I mean the summer weather, of course. With the high humidity and high temperatures in my area – we’re talking nineties on both counts – I have definitely been in the hunt for refreshing beverages to cool off with. As far as wine goes, I’ve been buying plenty of light whites, but I’ve also been branching out into new territory. Pink territory. Not that I haven’t done pink before. I used to have a pink tie, and I even had a pink polo shirt for awhile. And, yes, I’ve had some blush wines previously. But – until recently – I’d never had a Pink Moscato. And until this bottle of inexpensive blush, I’d never had a White Merlot.
Winemaker: Sutter Home
Wine: White Merlot
Notes: I’d call the color of this wine a light rose. In the bouquet I detected scents of berries and biscuits. It was a light-to-medium-bodied wine with some viscosity and decent acidity. The tannins were quite light, and alcohol was at 11.5%. Flavors I caught were sweet cherries, grass, some pepper, and biscuits. The last lingering into the finish. It was different that what I had been expecting. Somehow I thought it would be another dessert wine. It is sweet, but not heavily so. Honestly, I don’t know what this might be best with/as/for. Again, this was my first flirtation with a White Merlot. If White Merlot is one of your preferred selections, maybe you can help me think that through. How do you serve it?
According to the Oxford Dictionaries a revelation is “a surprising and previously unknown fact, especially one that is made known in a dramatic way.” In some ways you might say that’s what my journey through wine is all about – the search for a surprisingly good wine at a dramatically inexpensive price. Yes, it just might take a miracle. But I have faith.
Winemaker: Révélation by Badet, Clément & Cie
Varietal: Red Blend
Appellation: Pays d’Oc IGP, France
Price: $5.99 at Trader Joe’s
Notes: This blend of 55% Cabernet Sauvignon and 45% Merlot was very dark red with a bouquet of earth, cherry, and hints of spice. Alcohol was at 13.5% on this medium-bodied Vin de Pays d’Oc while acidity was moderately high and tannins were medium and grippy. To me the flavor profile came across as fairly dark with black cherry, oak, menthol, and pepper. I didn’t have a religious experience while drinking this wine, but I wasn’t especially disappointed for $5.99. While this selection wasn’t a true revelation for me as it’s name might suggest, I bet it would add some inexpensive enlightenment to a nice chuck steak or some beef ribs.
Although it may seem like I’m on an Australian kick, it isn’t on purpose. I’ve just run into some good deals lately on wines from down under. This time I ran across a sale on Rosemount Estate. I’ve been acquainted with Rosemount Estate wines for some years now, having first tried their Shiraz because it was receiving high praise from many of the critics. And I have to say that I did enjoy the bottles of Rosemount Shiraz I had. Rather than trying to revisit old memories this time, though, I decided to branch out and see how they handle Merlot.
Winemaker: Rosemount Estate
Appellation: South Eastern Australia
Notes: The color of this Aussie was a deep, dark red. It held scents of berries, earth and camphor in the bouquet. Acidity leaned toward the high side. The body was light as were the tannins, and alcohol was at 13.5%. On the tongue there was a core of cherry at the outset which brightened with oxidation to a young blueberry flavor. In addition, I tasted cedar, hints of herbals and a racy hot pepper on the finish. Not a tremendously complex wine, but just fine. Perhaps just about the right value at the sale price I paid of $6.99.
On travel recently I ran across this inexpensive Merlot. While I’m sure they have it in my area, I haven’t seen it in the stores I frequent. Thus, I decided to give it a try. I’m pleased to say that this time around I didn’t have to stay up late doing “homework!”
Winemaker: CK Mondavi
Wine: Wildcreek Canyon Merlot
Notes: The color of this CK Mondavi selection was a nice ruby. On the bouquet I found berries, barnyard, earth and pepper. Acidity was fine while the body of this red was quite light – a bit thin, in fact. Although alcohol was at 13.6%, flavors centered around a core of sweet cherry and raspberry with a touch of wood when the moderate tannins kicked in. Toward the end there were cough syrupy notes with a final zing of sour cherry on the coup de grâce. If you prefer a straightforward, slightly sweetish, easy-to-sip red, this may be a good selection for you.
Not too long ago I was on a business trip to Chicago. It was a quick trip, but an interesting one. I’ve enjoyed some great trips to the Windy City in years past, but had no time this go-round for fun. Unfortunately. Because on my only night there I had to work late in my room preparing for the next day’s activities, I decided to run to the drug store across the street to see what kind of brain food (aka junk food) they might have on hand. Much to my surprise, they had more than snacks, water and soda. They had a very large selection of wines and spirits – yes, liquor. Sadly, I had to keep my wits about me or my work would not have gotten done. Thus, I grabbed a personal-sized bottle of this Gallo red – just enough to warm me yet not prevent me from accomplishing the task at hand.
Winemaker: Gallo Family Vineyards
Notes: On the nose I caught scents of wood, berries, and earth with some floral notes. It was very light-bodied. It even seemed watery at times. Acidity was OK, and tannins were light. Alcohol was at 13%. On the palate I tasted generous amounts of wood with notes of crème de cassis. I know it’s inexpensive, but I think there have to be better options out there – from Gallo even – within this price range.
* This is the price for a 750 ml bottle in my local area not the personal-sized mini I purchased while on travel.
Here is an interesting red blend – 50% Syrah and 50% Merlot – imported from France and sold at Trader Joe’s. On first blush you may assume this is from Domaine Sainte Croix, and you might be correct. This wine’s label, however, doesn’t use the word Domaine anywhere; doesn’t carry the Domaine Sainte Croix logo but another; and the name Saint-Croix itself is hyphenated on this bottle but not on those from Domaine Sainte Croix. That being said, the wine does come from the Languedoc-Roussillon region where Domaine Sainte Croix is located. Of course, in that region there are three towns I found which carry the same name – Sainte-Croix-de-Caderle, Sainte-Croix-Vallée-Française and Sainte-Croix-de-Quintillargues. I guess I’ll just have to hop on a plane if I want to find out who actually makes this wine. Hmmm …. Maybe I will!
Wine: La Bergerie Syrah-Merlot, Vin de Pays d’Oc
Appellation: Languedoc, France
Price: $4.99 at Trader Joe’s
Notes: This Vin de Pays d’Oc is a deep purple in the glass. On the nose I caught scents of earth, plum, and a médicament similar to Vic’s VapoRub. It was fairly thin-bodied with light tannins and good acidity. Alcohol is at 13.5%. As far as flavors went, I encountered plummy, jammy fruit, cedar, and light hints of clove and other spices. This is a decent, inexpensive table wine that will do just fine for relaxed sipping or for drinking alongside that roasted chicken you picked up at the grocery store so you wouldn’t have to cook anything.
Important: I am not a professional sommelier or wine connoisseur. See “About” for the full disclaimer.