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Borsao 2001 Red Wine 

Viviano's Italian Grocer, 5139 Shaw Avenue, 314-771-5476

Whatever you do, don't uncork a bottle of Borsao while watching a sad, sad documentary about Michael Jackson, because it'll ruin it for you. You'll no longer be drinking to enjoy; you'll be drinking to deal, drinking to ease pain, drinking to get drunk. No good. And Borsao, a Spanish red that can be had for the low, low price of $7.59 at Viviano's on the Hill or $7.99 at Whole Foods, deserves taste-bud attention, it's so nice. And it's not gonna get it if you're being emotionally pummeled.

Unless you're an obsessive, or climbing some rickety social ladder and need to impress an obsessive, or have the time and money to devote to a pastime that you drink away bottle after precious bottle, or are just plain curious about the science, chemistry and ultimate beauty of a nice vintage, you're simply looking for a decent variety to have with dinner. And you're kind of baffled by the whole process of understanding wine.

Don't sweat it. Just walk into Viviano's and ask 'em for the best deal on a red. They'll give it to you. We actually discovered the Borsao -- a blend of Grenache and Tempranillo grapes grown in the Campo de Borja region of northeast Spain -- at Whole Foods but later waltzed into Viviano's and asked the staff to pick a wine. They chose this, the same, for four bits less, confirmation that this peach is one of the best deals on a medium-bodied red in the city.

If we were wine scholar Robert Parker, we'd give this glorious little misfit a 94.026874 (if not for the ugly label, we'd have given it a 94.935711), but we're not, and we don't understand half the shit that spews from his pen, so, as civilians, we'll wing it: "It's fruity, with hints of blackberry jam." Duh. How about this: Imagine being tangled in a huge overgrowth of blackberry bushes in late August, and pretend that you're wrapped in crimson velvet and your face is covered in chocolate, some of which is melting onto your lips. OK, now imagine that as you're flailing about, trying to untangle yourself, a sparrow flying by accidentally, miraculously, drops a plump strawberry smack-dab onto your tongue. This is the taste of a bottle of 2001 Borsao, and it's got a nicer finish than wines four times its price. (One online store called it "precocious," which is funny, and true.)

Anyway, this wine is best enjoyed not in front of the TV while you're having your heart ripped out. Instead, grab your baby on Valentine's Day, park him/her on your luv-seat, light a few candles, put on Thriller -- "Human Nature" -- and rejoice at what is possible. (If you don't have a honey, more power to ya. Who needs one?)

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September 23, 2020

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