Saturday, January 19, 2008

The Best Red Wine -- Ever.

Here in Chicago, we're fortunate to have Trader Joe's wines on hand. Their infamous "Three Buck Chuck" merlot and cabernet sauvignons have won lots of competitions and, I'll admit, are hard to beat. Especially for the price.

Recently, a longtime friend of mine in Texas went on a family vacation to the Big Bend National Park region which is in the far pocket of West Texas. They stopped at a resort-type restaurant for a nice dinner and the waiter highly recommended a local wine from a nearby vineyard:

Big Bend Red from the Luz de Estrella Winery near Marfa, Texas. It was $28.00 bucks.

My friend tried it and was really impressed. Her first response was, "Oh, that's spicy!" But it also had a hint of sweetness. Everyone at the table really enjoyed it.

Later, they found the same wine for sale at a nearby gift shop for $15.00 a bottle. She purchased three bottles, brought them back to Austin, and we enjoyed one while I was visiting home during Christmas.

It was SUCH a nice bottle of wine!

Here's the thing. It's mostly merlot from a vineyard in West Texas (yes, in the desert where there are tumbleweeds) but it's blended with just a bit of, not syrah or cabernet as you might expect, but Chenin Blanc from another regional vineyard.

I can tell you that those merlots and cabernets from Texas can be a bit astringent and "oomphy". But this winery in far West Texas knew what they were doing by taming a rambunctious Texan merlot with a touch of local Chenin Blanc to soften it up and get it flowery, sweet and spicy.

Yep, just a tad of French white grapes with a spunky Texas twang did the trick.

The result is, hands down, the best red wine I've ever enjoyed.

As we were sampling this wine in Austin, we googled online to find that it's only $9.99 a bottle, direct from the winery, and there's no shipping costs.

I had five bottles shipped to me in Chicago.

There was a glitch in the shipping. Paypal dropped the ball. I called the winery and no one seemed to answer for the next two weeks. Finally, I called the owner of the winery in Houston which turned out to be the husband of Linda, the owner. They had been on vacation in Alaska during the holidays. A fax to the winery cleared everything up. I enjoyed two very nice and Texan-friendly phone calls with them since.

I received my five bottles, no shipping costs.

I'm now ordering a case to have on hand. Not for my own consumption, but to have this little jewel on hand for those dinner parties, get-togethers and what-not gatherings when you don't want to arrive empty-handed.

Also, the label of "THE best red wine - EVER" will certainly get attention.

And, at $9.99 a bottle? No shipping?

Here's your Christmas gifts for next year, folks!

(Scroll down to the "Big Bend Red") Order it here.

Texas Wine. The best ever.
Who would've thunk it?

You can thank me later.

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