First Request: Emergency Wine

OK, I had my first request for a column, and it’s in regards to the question, “I cannot get to a winery anytime soon and I NEED wine.  What can I get at the grocery store that will hold me over til my next trip to a Virginia Winery?”

You know how I feel about the general state of the grocery store wine selection.  However, I have been known to pick up a few now and then……

The Prisoner.  An incredible red blend.  Really it’s just about the best wine I’ve every brought home from a grocery store.  It’s pricey – the cheapest I have seen is it $42, and I’ve seen it as high as $55.  It’s a rich, dark red blend from California, and it will shock you.  It was an Orin Swift wine, and then they sold it to a company that has named itself “The Prisoner Wine Company.”  It’s pretty popular, and when someone gets it in, it goes fast.  They have a white wine called Blindfold, with equally cool art on the bottle, and it’s a gorgeous crisp white wine that is amazing in the summer.

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I’ve had the best luck finding them at Total Wine rather than standard grocery store wine aisles.

Another huge favorite from the grocery store is Matchbook Tinto Rey.  I first found this at Harris Teeter, and I’ve struggled to find it the past few years.  One time I saw it at Fresh Market.  This is temperanillo, and it’s another dark, rich red.  It has a spicier feel to it, but it is an incredible wine. Nice and juicy and full – I miss this one a lot and will have to look around for it now that I’m writing about it.

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Every fall we see Bogle’s Phantom appear – and it lasts until it’s sold out – usually by February or March, but I think they are seriously boosting production lately, because I’m seeing it for longer times.  This is Petite Syrah if I’m not mistaken.  It carries what I can only call a smokier and more mysterious taste (deserving of its name!).  It’s bogle, which frightened me at first because I don’t tend to think much of their wines, but this is a strong contender – it’s a powerful red and doesn’t shy away from being matched with food or being sipped alone.

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Uppercut Cabernet Sauvignon…. this wine amazes me.  I first had it at a restaurant in Rehoboth.  I was blown away by how good it was for an inexpensive bottle.  I didn’t see it for a while and then it popped up, in all places, at a grocery store near my parents’ old place in North Carolina.  So when I went down, I would stock up, and come home HAPPY!  It’s a great, dark California Cabernet, relatively lower priced.  Amusingly, while at the Outer Banks two summers back, my sister and brother-in-law found it there too, so we enjoyed a TON of it.  If you can find it, this is a nice solid, go-to-red.

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So that’s what I’ve got for you on grocery store reds.

If you’re anything like me, you belong to enough Virginia Wine clubs that you don’t ever reach this emergency status and have to go run through the grocery store aisles, hoping to find a good bottle.

Right now I opened one of my two remaining bottles of Arterra Roussanne.  Even though it’s cold out, I find this crisp wine with just the slightest hint of honey to it and a nice citrus taste just the right thing to relax me.

So stock up people, it will be a long winter, and you’ll need that Virginia Wine to get you through.

Got another request for a topic for me to address? Leave it in the comments!

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