Margaret turned and gave me a supercilious look. “You mean the Riatta. Raita is the yogourt and cucumber dip we make up to have with our curry.”
“Yes, yes, of course, I meant the Riatta.”
We have been working our way down the west coast in our motorhome. We were somewhere near Paso Robles, California, and since this was wine country, we were sampling some of the local wines. We had picked up a JanKris Cabernet Sauvignon a few days earlier and quite liked it. Now I was looking at a JanKris Riatta at the store’s expansive wine display. I have never tried a Riatta. I have never even heard of a Riatta.
I looked around for a knowledgeable-looking store clerk. No one fit the description, but there was another couple picking out a number of wines to add to the collection already in their shopping cart.
I lifted the bottle toward the woman. “Excuse me. Have you ever heard of a Riatta?”
She took the bottle and looked at it. “No. No I haven’t.” She turned to her companion. “Google this wine, will you, sweetie?”
He took out his phone and danced his fingers across the face of it. ”Ha! Here it is. It’s a blend of Sangiovese and Zinfandel. Gets a good rating. At this price, I’d say it’s a keeper.” I took back the bottle and tucked it in my cart.
While we have our favourites, Margaret and I do like trying different wines. Sometimes we will splurge on a special bottle but we will generally choose our wines from the moderate and lower end of the scale, Yes, we’ve suffered through a few lackluster choices but we’ve also discovered some real gems.
A few nights ago, camped in a quiet corner of the Santa Rosa Valley, we tried three different Cabernets: a Chilean one that came in a 3 litre box, a Kirkland labelled California offering from Costco, and the JanKrist from Paso Robles.
I was sniffing the first two. “With this one, I am walking across a grassy meadow, and…” I shifted my nose to the glass in my other hand, “…now I’ve definitely entered a very, very old building.”
“This one is tighter, cleaner… more astringent.”
Margaret shook her head.
I thought they were both pretty good, but the JanKris was definitely head and shoulders above the other two – even though the boxed wine announced that it had been the winner of 50 gold medals.
I was feeling mellow, it was getting dark and I was ready to turn in. Another day, another wine.
The wine – definitely a keeper. Or at least it was.