February 11, 2010

Thirsty Thursdays -- Welcome!!!


Welcome to the first installment of Thirsty Thursdays! Every week I will select a wine and review it. (There will be no consistent rhyme or reason for picking the wine; presume I chose each bottle on a whim. And, no, I am not receiving compensation for these reviews). I will rate the wine on a four glass rubric because a properly poured glass of wine is 6.25 oz, ensuring that each 750 ml bottle fills four glasses. (This haphazard logic makes sense, right?!)…

My Wine Rubric: four glasses is excellent, three glasses is good, two glasses is fair, and one glass is this wine is corked and tastes like sh*t – er, vinegar!

You may be wondering what makes me think I have the authority to write a wine review. It is a bit presumptuous! Okay, well I will outline my credentials, and then you can determine if you will consider my recommendations authoritative or not: Once upon a time I worked in the service industry. Yes, indeed, for seven years I worked the fine dining circuit—two of which were spent in a supervisory position. My first taste of fine dining began in Europe…Exotic, right? Well, if that’s not enough reason: I also spent many a Friday night during my serving days partaking in fine wines served to me (and other servers, too!) by the Restaurant Manager who fancied himself a wine connoisseur. He taught us a lot. And I have even been on many wine tours. But the real reason you can trust my advice: I love wine. And I drink it a lot—though not in excess…anymore! I hope these credentials are justification enough for you!...But please remember I am no Sommelier and though I may use fancy terms like, legs, finish,  or bouquet, I don’t really know what they mean! I hope this is as far from pretentious as you ever get when reading a wine review!

Phew. Now that I got that off my chest…Let’s do this!

My very first selection for this meme is McManis Cabernet Sauvignon, 2005. A truly delicious red wine from California. And the reason I chose this wine first is simply because it is absolutely, bar none, my favourite wine of ALL TIME! It is relatively inexpensive and so far, the best tasting wine I’ve ever encountered…
Here is the wine’s description taken directly from the McManis official site: (http://www.mcmanisfamilyvineyards.com/show/xmlsite/xml-standard.xml/xsl-vintage.xsl/start_id-hmgpnhmedfecidfpgffeolijagdmiafiljafhicd/)

Winemaking Notes

Coupled with a deep ruby-purple color, the aroma for the 2005 has a very distinctive blackberry component that is layered with hints of clove and mocha spiciness. The fruit on the palate has a richness and density that is supported by substantial levels of tannins. A roasted heavy toast oaken finish lingers for an extended period.
Okay – Cabernet Sauvignon, which originated in France, is my favourite wine variety. It is a dry wine; clean and full of flavour. Being medium to full in body (with some nice legs), its taste is not overly heavy. Cabernets are a complex blend of berry and spice: sweet, though slightly sharp. And McManis has both the sweetness of a berry and the bite of a clove spice. But more than all of this semantics, McManis tastes like heaven in my mouth. Honestly. (And I am not making fun of the Rickard’s Red commercial).

When it is de-corked, and I excitedly watch its deep purple-y goodness cascade into my glass, the first thing that hits me is its smell. While some people think of a good wine as smelling like a stinky cheese, I am more fond of the berry bouquet. Keeping that in mind, McManis, then, smells exactly like a good wine should: sweet, bold but with some depth; and then the subtle bite. Distinct.

Continuing on…A proper Wine Tasting starts with smelling the wine. This process looks ridiculous! You take a brief first sniff, then pull the glass away and swirl it like a snob, (look for legs, viscosity, colour, etc.) then stick your big noggin right in there and inhale like it’s your last breath. And THEN you take the first sip, and pull it through your teeth. Also looks ridiculous! Swallow. (Sounds obvious I know…).Take your second sip. During this sip, you swoosh the wine like it is toothpaste you’re trying to wash out of your mouth. Please don’t spit it out, though, unless there’s a bucket and you’re expected to! Finally, that third sip you hold on to and savor – and finally…swallow. It is this final sip that tells for sure if the wine is going to be good

With McManis, though, that first smell does not lie, nor does the first sip. Its aroma and flavour are consistent throughout the tasting process. Perfection. It is a red wine that really can be drunk on its own; it’s not too heavy, and its sweetness is pleasant. However, if you were to pair it with anything, a good red meat, or a hearty stew or soup are good choices. Chocolate is also a good marriage: especially a dark chocolate. McManis can stand mightily next to savory dishes, but probably should not be paired with anything spicy (in my humble opinion)!

Okay enough of the seriousness, already! Ladies, when you want to go out with your girlfriends for a night of chatting and bitching about work, men, clothing costs, or whatever; when you really need to decompress, to settle your shoulders back down and away from your ears where they’ve been a permanent and rigid fixture all week; when its beyond that point of no return…Wine, particularly McManis, is the perfect third party: it will only add positively to your conversations and will never, never leave a bad taste in your mouth (or spill the dark secrets revealed after that one glass too many)! Wine manages to seep through your pours, creep along your veins, and relax every fiber of your once impossibly tense body. Plus it will give you a nice, shiny, carefree glow—at least for a few hours. It will help loosen your load…I swear.

So next time you are out, order a bottle, split it with your bestest bud, and enjoy a couple of hours of intoxicating flavour and gossipy goodness. But please don’t drink and drive!

****Rating: four shiny, glittery, large/globey glasses out of four! Yippee for McManis!



  1. Anonymous11.2.10

    Your wine review makes me want to drive over to the liqour store with my corkscrew in hand! (I will think of the wine _cascading_ into my glass next time I pour. What a perfect verb). I have had the absolute pleasure of sharing a McMannis with a close friend, but it's been awhile and I'm definitely due for another encounter with this truly lovely Californian red.

    Thanks for de-mystifying wine-tasting etiquette for us. I love to indulge in wine pairings but, with the waiter expectantly looking on, I always feel like I don't know what I'm doing. Next time I will stick my entire nose in the glass and inhale with confidence!

    Can't wait for the next Thirsty Thursday!

  2. Anonymous11.2.10

    PS: font too small...going blind... (you don't have to post this, just wanted you to know).


  3. Brilliant review...I wish I liked red wine haha I'm more of a white wine gal, myself :)

  4. Oooh! I'm loving this new segment. I know next to nothing about wine--not even which kinds I prefer (Lisa, is the exact opposite)! All I know is that I love some reds and hate some others. I think I might be a good candidate for a wine journal or something, so I know what to order. Anyway, I must try this out--especially if it's your fave!


Thanks for your thoughts!


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