Malenchini 2006 Bruzzico Toscana (Italy)

The Miami Dolphins released Chad Johnson shortly after he was released from jail for headbutting his newlywed wife after she confronted him about a receipt for a box of rubbers she found in their car’s trunk. “Ocho Cinco” has a new nickname in Miami—they now call him “Hasta Luego.” Adding to more First World problems, 19 year-old Miley Cyrus recently complained about her four-legged furry friend (no, not Sean) eating her diamonds in jealous fit over their master, Liam Hemsworth. Poor Miley borrowed a line that Anny Hong used on Sean Sullyvain, “She’s a stubborn little bitch.” In a scene reminiscent of Sean and Finkon James’ new vino-homo relationship, Florida cops arrested a 21 year-old man for felony domestic battery after he admitted to rubbing dogshit on his mother’s face after she refused to pour a shot of vodka for him. And since we are in Florida, let’s add an encore… an 18 year-old Fort Lauderdale man is in lockup after groping a woman’s buttocks outside a Walmart dressing room. The impulsive pervert took a quote from when Sean first met Anny at a free wine event, “Her booty looked so good, I just couldn’t resist touching it.” Wait a minute, since when did a fugly Chinese bitch ever have a nice piece of ass?? Guess it don’t matter since Sean has a major Asian fetish… And lastly, a British study revealed that men under stress tend to find chubby women more attractive. Shortly after the report was released to the press, Shona took the next flight to London.

Did anyone else get a ROFL response after reading Paul Gregutt’s recent crap about his “best wines of the year”? I had an accomplice slip the column under my utensils during my sobering-up breakfast. After I resisted with a “Get that shit outta my face!” and was told to read it alongside a wine rag’s recent  so-so rating of the same wine, I got it.

What the fuck is up with people’s fascinations with “the number”? This whole point-scale bullshit is the subjective invention of a bored, broke lawyer from the east coast. There is no school out there that teaches how to “score” wines, yet talk to any wine pusher (read: smellier, wine retailer, wine blogger, and sadly, even winemakers) and ask them about a certain wine and the first bluther out of their mouths is “Well, it got rated 96 points by Joe Blow.” Never mind the great price, the “lucky we still have some” attitude, or even those stupid, fake wine awards it “won,” it’s always about some jerkoff’s wine rating number. The only thing more ULTRA GAYYYY is to hear the wine schlep recite a wine’s rating as “exceptional,” “excellent,” or “good.” Thankfully, I have yet to come across such a retarded fool. But, back to the point, and this is why the critics of wine are so lame: just how the fuck does one differentiate between an “89” and a “90” –rated wine? Readers of this blog know my scale. At least I break it down to four components. So then, when you wine schleps tell me a wine is “95 rated,” just wtf does that mean? Why wasn’t it a 94 or 96? What does a “95” mean in the first place? No one has yet been able to provide a decent explanation of it, BUT they’ll go on and rave all about it! I swear, retailers and marketers of wine must think the wine consumer is a gullible, status-conscious imbecile of a fuckhole with too much disposable income.

On the flipside, savvy winemakers submit to the fact that certain glossy international publications that dole out a nice rating (and subsequently blackmail the winery into buying overpriced advertising in their rag) can positively affect the bottom line. This becomes a particularly useful tool for any winery considering expansion into new markets. Think about it. What good does a Wine Shit-tator rating do for a winery that makes only a thousand-plus cases a year? Not a whole lot. Especially if the winery is located in an area known to be perused by educated wine lovers. Any new, small-scale winery will tell you that word-of-mouth is your most important weapon in increasing sales. And, AND, delivering a uniquely positive tasting experience seals the deal. Of course, it’s built-in that the wines have to be heady good to begin with.

So I get questions like, what factors influence your purchasing decisions? Let’s start with this: wine is a commodity. It is a material substance that serves a specific purpose in responsible hands. Do I have to have a certain wine? No. Just like any respectful winemaker, I prefer beer. But, it’s the experience that sells me. If I go to a wine shop in search of a Quilceda Creek and the schlep there gives me a ton of crappy lies, then you know what, fuck it. I’ll go to the supermarket and pull a bottle of vin-clearance from the shopping cart and be just as happy. Of course, it may be another matter at the dinner table. But, it all goes to show that there’s an art to selling wine as I have shelled out $500-1000+ on trips to wineries when all the stars align. No, I won’t reveal my criteria here, but here’s a hint: it’s very similar to yours. Go to the shop/winery, talk/taste, talk some more, taste more, engage all the senses, then drop a number (in currency). And yes, I do impulse-buy wines quite often. There is no one single recipe to sell wine. It’s still an art, not a hard-number science.

Which leads me to today’s dilemma. I go to Brand-X store in search of a sangiovese priced under $20. Obviously, the first place I seek is the Washington wines section. Nothing. Not even a sangiovese! Mo-fo, now what? I don’t want anything else. Nothing in the Oregon section and fuhh-get about Californicator wines. I ain’t paying $70 for a twenty-buck chuck. So I relent and visit the Italian section and pretty much the entire section of reds is all about sangio and blends and most within my price range. I pick the oldest bottle (this one) that has a clean label. No red bicycles or mad mother-in-laws. Done. Washington, that’s what you get for not supplying enough quantities of decent sangiovese. Outside of the Northwest, that’s a common response to all of Washington’s wines. Message received, hopefully.

Food pairing was my killer chili recipe, which also included this wine for the ingredients. Of course, it sung like a prima donna!

Tasted at 58-64 degrees on the IR temp gun. Enticing aromas of red and black currant and Bing cherry dance above the mahogany carpet in the Riedel. On the palate, rich and velvety leading to a moderate residence and expressing flavors of red plum, licorice, and bright cherry.

Alcohol: 14%. Indicazione Geografica Tipica (IGT) Toscana. 80% cabernet sauvignon, 20% sangiovese. Power: 2/5. Balance: 2/5. Depth: 2/5. Finesse: 3/5. Rated: 89. Value: $15. Paid: $20. Music pairing: “Primadonna” by Marina and The Diamonds. This is WAwineman… uncorked, uneducated but not uncouth.

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