Most of us can agree that 2021 seems to mimic the rockiness and uncertainty of 2020, but there are many ways we can relax during these tumultuous times. My tried-and-true method is enjoying a glass or two of fine wine. I find it is important to keep a couple of favorites, not necessarily expensive, bottles on hand for whatever the day may bring, ultimately helping me to unwind from the craziness.
Here are my most common, but burdensome, scenarios and perfectly paired wine suggestions for each, so you are always prepared for anything life may bring you.
- Did I-440 gridlock delay your arrival? Traffic nightmares can be serious business and only a Napa cabernet sauvignon can cut through this type of stress. My suggestion to relieve one from a particularly traumatic commute is Burgess Cabernet Sauvignon, $57.99. If your drive is only moderately bad, I recommend BV Napa Valley Cab, $35.99. Did you have an easy journey? Try Chateau St. Michelle Columbia Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, $18.99.
- Did your workday feel never-ending? A long day deserves a special treat to lighten your mood. If a red varietal entices your palate, I suggest pinot noir. My favorite choice is from Burgundy, France: try Bouchard Pere & Fils Reserve Pinot Noir, $24.99. I also enjoy Oregon pinots. For an easy finish to a monotonous day, try Erath, Pinot Noir, $20.99. If you are craving a white varietal instead, try a fresh, crisp glass of Louis Latour Pouilly-Fuisse, $23.99.
- Are the kids driving you up the wall? Try something bubbly to lighten your mood. If you like light and sweet, sip on 071 Prosecco, $13.99. To counterbalance particularly rowdy children, only French champagne will suffice — Delamotte Brut Champagne, $66.99 will provide some much-needed respite.
- Is your significant other being a pill? Pour a glass for both of you (or two for yourself!). One of my favorite bottles to take the complexity out of my relationship and put it in my glass is Shafer Vineyards TD9 Red Blend, $69.99. Does the occasion call for comfort food to compliment a special vino? Try a bowl of homemade pasta with a glass of Gaja Brunello Di Montalcino, $115.99 to warm you right up. If you need to pull out the big guns, my favorite wine of all time is, Krug Grande Cuvee, $219.99. I keep a bottle encased in glass that reads, “In case of emergency, break glass.” It is a pricey option, but can you really put a price on happiness?!
- Do you simply just need a nightcap? For less stressful days that require only a little extra joy to ease one into bed, I love a smooth, fortified wine. For a sweet escape, try Penfold Club Tawny Port, $17.99. If it is a warmer night, a glass of chilled rosé will hit the spot. For something dry and citrusy with intense red fruit, try AIX Coteaux d’Aix en Provence Rose, $19.99.
Don’t delay — cultivate your emergency kit so you are prepared to unwind at any given moment! All of the wines mentioned are available locally at Cork Dorks in Green Hills and Midtown. The prices listed are for a 750ml bottle, but several of these choices also come in smaller or — for truly special occasions — larger sizes. You can also find these wines online at www.corkdorkswine.com.
Trisha Cancilla has over a decade of wine and spirits industry experience and Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET) Level 2 certification. She created a virtual platform with unWINEd, to help people curate their wine preferences, provide virtual tastings, and assist with wine cellar planning.