Average Retail Price: $7.99 USD
Taste (1 = yucky 10=yummy): 6
Snobby Wine Words: Croissant. Baguette. Çe la vie. Pommes frites. Napoleon. Marie Antoinette. Oooh-la-la. And those are all the French words I know.
Drink When: Watching “Les Miserables.” With someone you looooooove.
One of my New Year’s wine resolutions – yes, ONE of them – is to stop being intimidated by French wines. Unlike normal, not French places, wines from there tend to be…unhelpful when you’re shopping. Absolutely anything could be in that bottle – how would you know? With so many wine producers in France, it’s hard to find the same wine at any two shops. And forget about finding wines listed in any guides or suggested by my new BFF Lettie Teague of the Wall Street Journal: see previous sentence.
But dammit, I’m American, and I’ll be damned if I’m going to let some French wine push ME around! My country invented rock and roll! We drive big cars! We have interstate highways and no metric system! I will not be cowed by my friend WINE just because it has an excess of vowels and accent marks!
I picked Chateau Amour because I wanted a classy-ass French wine that would go well with Valentine’s Day, which also happens to be my birthday if you want to send me more wine. I find Bordeaux wines especially tricky because from what I’ve read lately they are either very cheap or very expensive, and the average wine buyer has no hard-and-fast rules for determining quality based on price alone. So I went with a tried-and-true method of coping with a big blank space where wine expertise might come in handy: I went to Trader Joe’s. At least there I know I’ll get something drinkable.
And this wine is…drinkable. It’s better than my skeptical husband thought it would be for the price, especially with a name like Chateau Amour. But it’s not enough to convert me, yet, to the ranks of people who wave little French flags and don berets and extol the virtues of French wines. Oh, this bottle will get drunk. Count on it. But I doubt I’ll be making an effort to buy it again.
I distinctly smelled chocolate and licorice in the nose. My husband swears he smelled leather. The taste was a little spicy for me, like a Chilean Cabernet, lacking the earthy French terrior I had looked forward to enjoying. For his part, my husband said the leather continues into the wine’s taste, but not in a good way like with Spanish wines. More in a fake, pleathery kind of way.
What can I say. I bit the bullet and took the first step in overcoming my fear of French wine, much like someone who resolved to lose weight might join a gym. But I guess I just have to keep on keeping on, with that good old-fashioned American grit and determination we are so famous for.
And you all are invited to join me.