Fruit Punch Me in the Mouth
Remember how fruit punch was the best thing on earth as a kid? I wasn’t allowed to eat junk food but friends always had the stuff on hand so when I was invited over, I'd grab it out of the fridge, run to the backyard, and guzzle it like a savage in the grass. By the time my mom picked me up, my big mouth always gave me away, stained lips-to-tongue that bright ruby red. A scolding about the poisonous nature of refined sugar always followed... and guess what?
SO WORTH IT.
When I was young, my parents monitored what I ate soo strictly. Couldn't have candy, but I have a scar two inches long on the top of my right hand, from reaching into a busted piñata and scraping it across a dangling wire while trying to pull out the biggest grip of Smarties and Pixie Sticks I could get my paws on; No soda allowed, so I snuck Shirley Temples whenever I ate at the Old Spaghetti Factory with the soccer team; red meat was bad for you, so I ate three hot dogs at summer camp in one sitting and got sick for days. Not as worth it as the fruit punch, but still.
Don't get me wrong, I had a great childhood. I grew up singing Dire Straits in the car with my dad, running around outside all the time, eating the best pizza bagels known to human kind. The memories are warm and tasty. It's just that carob chips never tasted like real chocolate (THEY'RE NOT), and that bullshit Honey Vanilla flavor Haagen Dazs tried to pawn off as healthy AND delicious never really worked for me, either. What a weird assault on the absolute best ice cream flavor* ever to exist. To this day I'm not a real fan of honey, it just gets in the way of the taste of other things.
Despite my junk food depravations as a kid, I still got fixes when the parents weren't around. Kudos bars at soccer games - the best! Now I think I live a pretty balanced life, minus a Postmates delivery of a dozen donuts every now and then (it's only a dozen because there's a minimum order, relax I share).
Somehow, this Carignan from the Rhone reminds me of the smacking, juicy red kind of rebel-good time I'd live for whenever I could steal the punch.
And, I'm older now. So I can drink whatever I want. This summery, entirely pleasurable, punch-like treat is my new house red. I’ve been drinking it out of a juice glass in a bathing suit (one piece, of course) - for nostalgia. And I can't help offering it up to anyone who's thirsty.
This is also the FIRST VINTAGE EVER MADE of this wine! Less than 700 cases were made. Which is not a lot at all. It'll be gone quick, especially at the rate I'm drinking it...
The point is, you need this easy-chugger in your stash. For medical reasons. And practical ones, too. IT GOES WITH SERIOUSLY EVERYTHING! So gluggable, no wine glass required.
*vanilla is absolutely the best ice cream flavor on earth; French vanilla, vanilla bean, and other various forms of vanilla are not the same, and if you don't understand this then we have to start talking about an open relationship.
WINE: Domaine la Manarine, Carignan, Southern Rhone, France 2014 - FIRST VINTATE EVER OF THIS WINE!
GRAPE: Carignan from 40 year old vines - that's old; aka the FOOD GRAPE. This wine is so versatile, it's almost like an ingredient itself in whatever you’re eating. It used to be treated as a loser grape, but conscious producers are respecting now, making it with care and love - like this one made with organic practices and low yields.
HOMETOWN: Carignan comes from several places, but this is from a sustainable family-run estate in Rhone, France.
TASTES LIKE: cranberry, raspberry, and a hint of spice and cured meat – don’t be weirded out just because I said meat; it’s like having a good spread of preserves, cheeses and meats where you’re just blissfully snacking the day away on the grass. This wine tastes like happiness and is a liquid picnic treat.
GOES DOWN EASY WITH: It does cartwheels with warm spices like cinnamon, star anise, and dried herbs; it brings out berry goodness in dishes with red fruits and umami zing in roasted, smoked or cured foods. Try cured meats or a turkey sandwich - do dark meat! Sorry, I can't stop saying meat; ALSO: its body is so Goldilocks! Handles sturdy fare like a champ but won’t overpower lighter dishes, and even works with vegetables - not always easy for a red.
If YOU LIKE: Zinfindel, Cotes du Rhone blends, or even Merlot, get this in your glass. It’s about as easy-going as they come, and quite the crowd pleaser of a red gem. Chill it down for a bit of extra punch on a hot day.