After a particularly crappy day, treating yourself to something special helps erase the to-do list in your mind. Relaxing your body, mind and spirit winds you down so you can relax on the couch without feeling guilty. For me, a massage treats the body; a long bubble bath eases the mind; and a great bottle of wine soothes the spirit.
For the extreme days, I settle into a bottle of especially splurge-y wine. After 9-11, I began re-evaluating my wine collection; selfishly thinking about how much it would suck if I didn't get the chance to consume all of it. I coveted the expensive bottles less, and transformed them into everyday treats rather than something to patiently hold. I figured if I was going to be run over by a truck the next day, I might as well splurge nd drink my 1983 Chateau Blah Blah right now.
But one man's splurge is another man's swill. And expensive wines are not for everyone. Personally, I consider anything over 20 bucks to be a splurge, but there are some wines that merit any price tag -- wines that make the hair on the back of your neck stand on end, caress your tongue and make your eyes roll back. In slow dating times, splurge wine is sometimes all I have to make an evening ... uh ... special.
Next time the blues strike you, the boss infuriates you, the mate dumps you, or life just needs added pleasure, reach for that special bottle you've been saving or the one you just bought. It might make you feel guilty, but you won't care after the first few sips.
Jordan 1999 Cabernet Sauvignon. $42. A fab wine with big tannins, cherry, tobacco and mushrooms. Powerful expression from a wine ready to get into perfect form.
Zuccardi "Q" 2000 Malbec. $20. Elegant, soft vanilla and bourbon on the nose. This delicious Argentinean wine has blackberry and such concentrated ripeness you can't wait for the next sip. The best Malbec I've had in a long, long time.
Dom Perignon 1995. $120. A near perfect French champagne, reaching the heights its hype does. Creamy, expertly balanced with acidity and sweetness, and touched with citrus. Exquisite.
Tom Eddy 1999 Cabernet Sauvignon. $50. A big, fatty, robust cabernet that eases your tongue into chocolate-dipped black cherries before you realize what's happening. Then it gracefully finishes with even tannins and lingering fruit.
Steele 1999 Parmalee Hill Syrah. $22. This beauty has cherry cola on the nose, as well as bacon fat. Yes, bacon fat. Black pepper in the mouth, but not too much. Bask in the soft fruit present in this full-bodied wine.
Castello Banfi 1999 Sant'Antimo Cum Laude. $35. This mack daddy of Italian wines, a Super Tuscan, is a yummy blend of Cabernet, Merlot, Sangiovese and Syrah. Lush, ripe berries are tinged with tender earthiness and spicy, mild tannins.
Inniskillin 1999 Riesling Icewine. $60 for half-bottle. This sweet dessert wine packs a punch with apricot, and smacks of Welch's white grape juice. Soothing and fruity for those looking for a special treat.