I had a friend in college who was a blast to party with. I think everyone knows somebody like this. They walk into the party and the room lights up. They’re boisterous, a bit over the top, edgy, and maybe even a little vulgar in a way that makes them endearing in a bad boy sort of way. With this person at the party, the evening will likely end with a bed or closet set on fire and the rest of the party-goers beating on pots and pans as they dance around the blaze. You want to be just like him, and with a couple drinks down your throat you make a silent promise to yourself not to take life so seriously from now on. You’re going to quit the internship at the accountant’s office and look for a crew that needs a helping hand lassoing crocodiles in Australia. You’re going to ask not just one, but both cute girls from the mail room out; maybe on the same night. Yes, your life should be bigger and bolder–just like your popular friend’s.
Then, by the end of your senior year, something changes. His stories don’t capture you the way they used to. You’ve heard most of them before. He seems a bit too loud for the situation. Yes, he’s still popular but the way he still refers to himself in the third person (usually by a nick-name like “Big T” or a misspelled word like “Rude Boi”) is a bit over the top. Some nights just seem to call for more subdued company. You find different people at the party to talk to. These new people are more refined. Maybe they don’t climb mountains but they do stuff like rebuild old cars, and that’s pretty cool too. Before long, you find these new people fascinating and a better fit for your taste.
This is exactly how I discovered Grenache. I just had a few too many nights in a row with the “Rude Boiz” of the wine world. It got old drinking wine where too much of a good thing was crammed into the juice. It got to be too loud, not right for the occasion, too over the top–a bit like drinking jam or syrup. This week’s recommendation is a Spanish Grenache.
Etim 2006, Grenache ($16.99): Etim is not the loudest guy at the party. With balanced flavors and a great aroma it has a quieter respectability–like the guy you don’t mind when he asks out your sister.