note to self
For the above reasons as much as its intrinsic suckiness, I totally forgot to read the Times food section this week. If only I hadn't remembered, I would have spared myself the Wines of the Times Septimanian* stupidity. One can only imagine how much Balthazar would attempt to gouge for these wines if they weren't such "marketing nightmares."
After my little experiment with good things, the tetra-pak trebbiano disappeared from my supermarket shelves, and I blamed you, hordes of anonymous sheep-consumers. No more tips for you! Then I remembered that no one reads this shit, the trebbianno reappeared, albeit apparently more oaky and residual-y than before, and all was well.
So here's more cheap wine that doesn't suck. You know how everyone's been telling you for the last ten years what a great deal Spanish wine is, but all you can find is shit like this? [Not not good, just not cheap]. The answer lies across the Pyrenees from Languedoc: D.O. Calatayud. Aragón, Spain. Garnacha (grenache to you, mon ami) mostly, some tempranillo. Big but not stupid. Fruit, but not too much. No goddamn oak. Nothing fancy. Easily found for under $10.
No brands, because I don't want you assholes running out and buying up my supply. I've probably found 5 or 6, and they're all pretty good. If you drink heavily, as you should, you will occasionally run into some TCA, which is what we say when we're trying to avoid the word "taint" in polite conversation, but it's a small price to pay. Maybe certain importers can be persuaded to ship it in tetra-paks.
One more thing: Il Purcìt, the sweetest website devoted to the love of the pig. Literature, butchery, history, recipes and prodotti tipici from all over Italy, emphasis on Friuli. In Italian.
* So called after Legio VII Claudia Pia Fidelis, settled in Narbonne in 36 BCE. Languedoc comes of course from the language of the south, i.e., provençal: ironic because "Provence" is currently across the Rhône from "Languedoc". It is not easy to maintain this herculean pedantry, but I kick it for my people.