I Praise This Wine Without Using Exclamation Points

I am so guilty of abusing exclamation points. If you read the “About Me” section of this very blog, I even confess/brag about it. I refer to my predilection as deploying an “overabundance” of them.

A quote from F. Scott Fitzgerald has stuck with me:

“An exclamation point is like laughing at your own joke.”

In this crazy day and age of texting and social media, not using an exclamation point can come across as sarcastic, cold, or detached. You type “Congratulations!!!” rather than “Congratulations.”

In The Guardian, Elena Ferrante, author of the excellent 4-book series Neapolitan Novelstakes on the exclamation point, saying:

“Of all the punctuation marks, it’s the one I like the least. It suggests a commander’s staff, a pretentious obelisk, a phallic display. An exclamation should be easily understood by reading; there’s no need to insist with that mark at the end as well.” 

Later:

“But I still think that ‘I hate you’ has a power, an emotional honesty, that ‘I hate you!!!’ does not.”

I highly recommend reading the whole column because it makes serious points about language, meaning, and power.

Inspired by Ferrante, I would like to talk about a wine. This is much less serious matter, but here I go.

I like this wine. It’s really good.

Siete Red (No Exclamation Points)

I Praise This Wine Without Using Exclamation PointsFirst of all, I dig this label. So. Much. I am very tempted to finish a sentence about it with a punctuation mark that would convey an exuberant mood. Furthermore, I might repeat the use of this mark three to five times for maximum impact.

Sigh.

The Siete Red is from Rioja. It’s a blend of 80% Tempranillo, 10% Garnacha, and 10% Mazuelo. The grapes are organic, which is great. Due to  no oak being involved, this Spanish wine is very welcoming and open. But the Siete is beyond pleasant, with a little bit of earthiness that leads to a spicy, fruity kick of a finish.

Who wouldn’t love to bring this wine to a party because it just looks so cool? Everyone would pour themselves a glass. Additionally, it’s not too pricey. I got it for 14 bucks at Dandelion Wine.

If you’re also a fan of label design and some of the considerations both artistic and practical behind their creation, please read my Q&A with Randall Grahm of Boon Doon Vineyards. Or find out what five graphic designers thought of another Spanish wine label. Finally, get to know a creative agency that chimed in on a label and wine I dig.

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California Melon from Lieu Dit: Muscadet Fans Take Note

If you love Muscadet as much as I do, here’s a wine to hoard. Or purchase and share, whatevs. It’s California Melon. The former being the state (duh) and the later being the name of the grape.

Muscadet from the Loire Valley is a wine made from the Melon (de Bourgogne) grape. Outside of this (my favorite) wine region in France, one place domestically you can find the grape is Oregon. And, as this wine demonstrates, Melon is also in California. (Back in the day, a lot of what was thought to be Pinot Blanc in that state was actually Melon de Bourgogne.)

California Melon: 2015 Lieu Dit Santa Maria Valley

As an enormous Muscadet fan, I was a quite curious about how the grape would work in California. Not only was my inquisitive nature rewarded, but so were my taste buds. Super-delicious. The Lieu Dit compares favorably to any top wine from Muscadet I’ve had. And, taking a look at the bottle, it certainly fills me with #LabelLust.

No doubt you and I can use our immense deductive powers of reasoning to figure this is a wine tailor-made for oysters. I actually enjoyed it with potato and spinach pierogis. Which would probably look pretty cool on a label, too. But not as evocative as an oyster in its shell.

So what’s it like on the inside? Well this is a wine with an initial bracing quality that chills out into a more textured savory delight. It’s certainly great on it’s own, seafood and shellfish an obv match, and you could probably get away with pairing the Lieu Dit with lighter chicken and pork preparations.

Or chug it with a steak, who cares? It’s your life and your wine to do with as you please.

(I could see it being nice with a skirt steak slathered in chimichurri, BTW.)

Average retail price: $22.

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