Scott and I are not fancy wine people. Between the two of us neither knew what the term sommelier meant and I will admit here and now that we had to look it up in the dictionary. But that in no way affects our ability to enjoy wine immensely, and as with food, fumble our way through the learning process through trail and error, following what has become our culinary ethos: we eat and drink what we like.
That being said, we are also, well, to put it gently, kind of poor. Not by any means not-being-able-to-pay-the-rent poor—been there, done that—but the kind of poor that if that next paycheck weren’t coming in we’d be in a whole world of hurt. So we are not the kind of people who can ever really afford to buy the wines that are on the top three shelves at the wine store, and for us, any wine that costs more than ten bucks is a splurge.
One of the many upsides of being a bit challenged on the monetary front is that deal hunting becomes not only a sport, but a perfected art form. Finding a delicious wine for $8.99 makes me feel as victorious and smug as if I had just found a designer handbag for twenty bucks at Marshall’s (another kind of shopping challenge I’m particularly fond of, right up there with finding new hardcover books for five dollars).
Which brings me to Five Rivers Cabernet Sauvignon 2006 from Paso Robles, California. This is the first time I’ve tried this wine and I’m going to come right out and say it—this was a completely label-driven purchase. And it’s a damn good label, too—I’m not just some kind of label hussy that picks up any flashy lookin’ bottle on the middle shelf. I have a brain. And a moderate amount of design sense. I’m picky, dammit.
The label of this wine tells a little story, not the usual somewhat uninspired “tastes of tannins and blackberries” jargon that I don’t really understand anyway, but instead reads: “Legend has it that once, she fell in love on a mountaintop, and she never tires of drinking in the blue sky and grey mists of its summit. The mountain breeze whispers her adoration to the Five Rivers Cabernet grapes far below, making their wine rich in flavor and soul, redolent of berries and oak. Come taste her devotion—eat with appetite, drink with pleasure. And fall in love.”
Come on, are you seriously going to claim that you wouldn’t buy this wine in a heartbeat out of curiosity alone?
Thankfully, the wine is as good as the story. Even before it had opened up, I liked it. Its yummy, mellow flavor epitomizes the versatility of Cabs—this wine would go well meaty, garlicky, and spicy flavors. And that is about where my sophistication for describing wine ends. So to wrap this little wine review up, I’ll leave it at this: it’s quite good and your hosts will like you if you bring it to a dinner party.