By Richard Jones, PQ Monthly
Richard Jones

Richard Jones

You adore red wine, but your partner does not?  Or vice versa?  They’re too rough, too tart, too sour? Too dry — lacking in fruit?

Maybe you just invited the wrong red to dinner.

Try this one the next time you grill a prime chunk of beef to reward yourself for a productive day at the old nine-to-five: Two Vines 2009 Merlot (Washington State).

Two Vines 2009 MerlotThe first sip sends a clear message. Ripe with clear fruit statements — say something along the lines of ripe black cherry with a bit of plum. Soft, round body — no rough edges, no bitterness. Minimal, if any, oak. Just a wee touch of sweetness. This is the wine that will convert an anti-red partner to the True Faith.

That’s only half the trick. The other half is that die-hard red wine absolutists will also enjoy this wine. Should work well with pizza, roast chicken, maybe even salmon.

And the price? Usually you will see this around town at $10 or $11. Recently, some stores have knocked prices down to $7. If you can find any still on the shelves at $7, why not consider a six-pack and get a 10 percent discount?

Now, about premium wine. About $50 nine years ago.

Recently I had the rare pleasure to sample a few ounces of Pepper Bridge 2001 Merlot (Walla Walla). Rather than attempt to itemize all the flavors, let’s say it danced — something like the Russian Dance from the Nutcracker. More or less.

Richard Jones has imbibed a great deal of vino in his years as a winemaker, wine judge, wine writer, wine publisher, wine lecturer, and wine traveler. When he doesn’t have his nose in a glass, he works as a freelance reporter, and writes the Purple Elbows column for PQ Monthly.