Thursday, July 29, 2010

Appreciating a pleasant glass of wine

One of the simple pleasures of living in California ~ and, believe me, there are many ~ is being able to purchase good, affordable wine at a grocery store.  After all, it's the 21st century, and why should I have to make an extra trip to a liquor store when picking up a bottle or two at Trader Joe's or Whole Foods with the rest of my groceries is much more convenient?

During a recent trip to Minnesota, which by state law doesn't allow the sale of wine and alcohol in grocery stores, I was quickly reminded that I wasn't in California.  It seemed liquor stores dotted neighborhood streets and lined city boulevards everywhere we drove throughout the Twin Cities.  Even Trader Joe's, which opened to much fanfare in St. Paul last year, has a separate, partitioned area for wine and alcohol sales ~ which means having to swipe your debit card twice.  At least, you only have to park once.

But I digress ...

Green Fin (2009):
made from organic grapes
On Sunday, shopping at the Trader Joe's market in Oakland's Rockridge neighborhood, I discovered a 2009 bottle of Green Fin, a California white table wine. The colorful, hand-drawn label depicting a classic, wood-paneled station wagon toting a surfboard on its roof, grabbed my attention ~ and a helpful Trader Joe's crew member nudged me, too. So did the wine's price, a very inexpensive $3.99 per bottle.  And, because I enjoy drinking chilled whites on warm, summer evenings, it seemed like a good choice and worth trying.

However, the deal-clincher ~ and what picked my curiosity ~ was this: Green Fin uses organically only grown grapes, blending sultana, colombard and muscat varieties from the Central Valley town of Madera. Each year, we enjoy several dozen bottles of wine at home with dinner.  However, I can't recall ever having a bottle of wine made exclusively from organic grapes.  Out here on the Left Coast, foodies take their organic products seriously.

The vintner's notes on the bottle tells the Green Fin story:  "The Green Fin White Table Wine is made entirely from organically grown grapes.  This pale straw colored wine has very intense orange blossom and honey aromatics, while delivering a full, rich body with a core of pear and nectarine flavors followed by a smooth aftertaste that's long and focused.  Savor the flavor of this organically grown white table wine with your favorite meal or by itself.  Enjoy!"

Refreshingly subtle, I savored the flavor of Green Fin over the past three evenings. From its first pour to to its last,  it was easy on the taste buds ~ not too dry, not too sweet ~ and, not to be forgotten, its affordable price!  It's great for sipping on the patio after work, or served with a simple meal like Peko-Peko Heritage Pork pan-fried gyoza with white rice, butter lettuce salad, and fresh-cut strawberries and raspberries.

Decent but not too fancy, Green Fin won't break the budget. On a nice summer evening, it's easy to appreciate a pleasant glass of wine.

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