Monday, November 14, 2011

Warm up with wine!

I spend most of my time obsessing about what is going to happen next. It might be a symptom of my anxious personality, or an unfortunate consequence of my need to plan everything... but regardless, I'm not a live-in-the-moment kind of person. When I was in college, I spent most of my time wishing I was out of college, with a stable job. When I got out of college and couldn't find a job, I spent every waking moment browsing the web for positons, writing cover letters, and checking my email with an OCD diligence. And then, when the job was secured, all I wanted was an apartment.

The apartment hunt has been the most recent (and all-consuming) obsession as my current living arrangements are coming to an end in another month and a half. After spending countless hours researching every single apartment in a 10 mile radius, I finally made appointments to go see them this weekend. This freezing cold and rainy Saturday, Ben and I went to a few apartment viewings and ended the day by filling out an application. We're hoping to get approved in the next week or so for a 7th floor, corner apartment in a building downtown. It has 180 degree views from the Olympic mountains to Rainier and yesterday, in the blustery, stormy weather, we could see across the Port of Tacoma, above the billowing steam coming from the smokestacks downtown, across Commencement Bay and up to the base of snowy Rainier. It will be absolutely gorgeous in all seasons. Not to mention - my wine rack will finally get an actual place in the apartment to be on display.
Downtown Tacoma View:
After our chilly trek about downtown Tacoma, we prepared for our weekly potluck dinner with friends. Last night was Spanish night. We had a delicious dinner with very strong Sangria, a Spanish omelet with potatoes and onions, stuffed tomatoes, red beans and rice, and then a really beautiful bottle of Spanish wine. I went to the Met with an old favorite wine in mind - a Protocolo Tinto red mix from Spain. Not only is the wine $7-8, it's deliciously rustic with just enough spice and just enough fruity body to make it a good table wine for any meal. Naturally, they didn't have it (as things seem to have gone lately). I was stuck with an entire aisle devoted to Spain and very few Wine Spectator bills of approval on the wine shelves.

Luckily, the wine guy was dashing about through the wine section and I snagged him as he was about to disappear down the rabbit hole. I always feel somewhat uncomfortable asking for recommendations when my price range is so low... ($8-12), but they are often really quick to recommend cheaper wines. It always helps to remember that if the wine guy did bring the wine in to your grocery store, it means that either people buy it and they're accustomed to it being purchased or that they hand selected it themsleves. No embarassment necessary!

It's nice to get a personalized recommendation as well. I let the wine guy know that I was having a Spanish dinner party with tapas and I needed a table wine for the night. He was quick to recommend a 2009 Laya Old Vines Red (Bodegas Atalaya), a beautiful silver bottle with sparkly leaves printed on it, for $9.99. The wine was a blend of 70% monastrell and 30% garnacha tintorera grapes. Neither of which I'd heard or before or remember trying in a blend.

The wine was delicious. As the wine guy had suggested, it was a lush, full-bodied, and yet still smooth. I noticed that it was one of the best "rustic" tasting wines I'd had in a long time. The spicy, raw taste of the wine didn't complicate the smooth finish. It was rather spicy and earthy on the front end and ended with soft tannins. I think I might have drank a whole bottle of it over the course of the night - if that's any recommendation to you (though I don't recommend it myself).

This wine stood alone - not just as a compliment to a Spanish dinner, but as a great table wine. It's warm and just heavy enough to be hearty during the increasingly cold weather. If you have any cold weather wines, please recommend them!

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