Type: Red Wine
Varietal/Grape: Syrah & Zinfandel
Origin: Gonzalez, California
Avg. Price: $6-7
Occasion: Barbecues, girls night, casual dinner pairing, desserts
The first time a young man bought me a bottle of wine to accompany the dinner we were making, I giggled at its name – Cupcake Sauvignon Blanc. It was sophomore year of college, and until that point I categorized wine into A) whatever my parents drank, generally either un-pronouncable or nondescript names and B) bag slappin’ Fraahnzia. I didn’t realize wine could have a sense of humor – especially cheap to mid-range wine. They say not to judge a book by its cover, but when you’re a design-inclined person browsing rows of cheap wine, things will inevitably catch your eye. Menage a trois wine from Napa is a good example. I’m also dying to try anything from actor Kyle MacLachlan’s winery, …Pursued by Bear. (Wink nudge, literary fiends. That is arguably the best stage direction in all of Shakespeare’s canon.)
Rex Goliath has a similarly fun backstory. According to the website, Rex Goliath was a 47-pound rooster at a Texas circus, and the wines “are a tribute to Rex’s larger-than-life personality.” Rex Goliath is a great series of wines that are all under $10, and should be at the top of your list for your cheap wine-o needs. Rex’s Free-Range Red is a shining star of the group with a fruity, bright flavor that doesn’t fade. It’s a cheap wine, but it’s full-bodied. It’s the perfect gateway wine for those who are trying to like red wine (admit it, we’ve all been there) and already enjoy white. Letting the wine aerate accelerates its sweetness. It’s also a season and age-appropriate wine: bringing this to a picnic or a movie night means you didn’t spend much but didn’t buy crap, either. Win all around!
Another way to try to incorporate red wine into a summer palate is to use it in dessert. Try a moist chocolate cake that uses red wine instead of buttermilk. Red wine adds depth to poached pears, with a side of creamy mascarpone in this recipe. If you’re headed to a barbecue, whip up some red wine sauce and bring peaches to grill.
Kenzie Zimmer celebrated her 22nd birthday by making her first bread pudding, practically a Midwestern rite of passage.