This young South African white is fresh, crisp and aromatic, with gooseberry and citrus elements. We found it to be just the right thing to go with our fried clam salad. (Don't laugh, this is good!) $8.99.
I recently moved to PA, having lived for many years first in CO, then in IL. Like any wine lover with limited financial means is bound to be, I was appalled by what I found. The state controlled liquor authority in PA is a sinister joke. As with all bureaucracies with no bottom line, one finds uninformed, indifferent, and often surly personnel, and a seemingly endemic disability to bring the cash registers into accord with the advertised specials. If one then complains about being overcharged one is subjected to long delays and made to feel the whole thing is one's own fault. But, not enough, to heap injury upon insult, the price structure is ludicrous. The claim is that the mass purchasing power of a state agency passes on savings to the consumer, particularly with the "Chairman's Specials". Anyone can test the veracity of this claim by crossing over into NJ, where every single bottle on special in PA is routinely on offer for a quarter to a third less.
In spite of these evident handicaps, I decided to see if it is possible to purchase a decent bottle in PA for under $10 ($12 for special occasions). It hasn't been easy, and this blog will be an ongoing report on my efforts.
I was born and grew up in Belgium. There, as in all of the francophone world, children, as soon as they were old enough to sit up at table to have their dinners (usually at midday) with the adults, were allowed a glass of wine. The thought behind this was that they should enter their turbulent teens already accustomed to alcohol and not treat it as yet another exciting discovery, to be abused with the ungovernable energy that the hormonal storms of those years produce. By and large, this premise was a sound one. The level of alcoholism in the French-speaking countries tends to be well below that of the Anglo-Saxon and Scandinavian ones, never mind the United States. To be sure, this datum can be challenged on a matter of definition: while there may be fewer binge drinkers who get raging drunk whenever they have access to alcohol, a goodly proportion of the working class, which habitually has a glass or two of wine with breakfast, is working on a mild buzz throughout the day. Still, the results are less deletirious: they function. At one point a Prime Minister of France, appropriately named Mendes-France, himself an anti alcohol crusader, launched an initiative to persuade the French to throw away their wine and drink milk instead. Needless to say, the project was still-born. The French consume as much wine as ever. The point I'm trying to make is that it seems to me that it is eminently possible to go through life enjoying one's wine without being seriously impaired in one's judgement or one's work level. In the old days in Europe one had the main meal of the day at noon, invariably following that up with a nap, so that when one returned to work one's mind was again clear. Nowadays dinner tends to be taken in the evenings, which means that one isn't really fit to do much serious work afterward, but I would argue, pace all you workoholics, that one's evenings should be devoted to less demanding and more congenial activities. I have enjoyed my evening wine throughout a long life, I've drunk some very good bottles and remember them fondly, and I would urge you to do the same.S