L.A. Grounded, and We Go Cheap. Real Cheap.


Frugal. The word has such greater connotations than even I took stake in previously. Previously, as in a week ago. Which is great that I have noticed such a greater fidelity and meaning in the word; for I have no current job, and I don’t see myself having one anytime soon. I’ve been working these so-called menial jobs for years, putting my passions to the wayside to scrape by, consequently letting skills falter and remain more or less grounded. There have been successes despite it, many happy sessions of late night writing and early morning intrigues. And now? Yes, I’m in the THE place to be for screenwriting, which is the lot I’ve drawn for myself over the last ten years. It’s a form I, have not just fallen into, but have fallen enamored with. It’s got me ’round the throat so tightly that I can’t force myself to go back to these other jobs I’ve had before. Taking another “load your cart while I smile” kind of job would be akin to drowning, a slow and agonizing death in which one could live through only if necessary. 6-23-133
And that’s the tale of my saving’s being depleted. It sounds like a cold drip in the dark.
But wine’s a big part of my life now. It’s on odd aspect of one’s life to admit, as if it was worthy of admittance at all like it was an embarrassment akin to how I used to really, really dig Pogs. You stacked them and slammed them, c’mon. 6-23-132
It will forever be a weekly ritual to tackle half a bottle with someone special in my life every Sunday with a bombastic bread I’ve baked and a luscious cheese I bought from some local purveyor. It’s transcendent and all the more necessary now that I’m out here in the wild, my professional life literally on the line.
Alder Yarrow recently talked of rituals by citing a Harvard study on ritual’s influence with how we experience foods. Read it here. But in short, if we undertake some ritualistic motion, a notion, with whatever it is we eat, we will respond to the food with greater comfort and enjoyment. I have a theory it’s really just bringing us a tad closer to what is always there in the first place––hell, we are in this crazy world of ours where our minds are constantly to the distance, out our windows and half at the office or deep in our work despite our distance from them. Rituals are important. We need more of them.
Whether writing films for a living works out for me in the long run remains to be seen. But I’ll have an unadulterated passion for discovering stand out wines within my budget for the rest of my life. Every experience counts, but wine certainly feels higher than the rest. It’s a damn fine journey.

2008 Lindemans Cabernet Sauvignon Bin 45 – $8
Light on nose and color. A thin kind of taste, but the wine has the gumption to keep a pleasing tone throughout the sip. Quite nice. Clean. There’s only a lack of that special taste that recalls better nights than the one your spending with this wine. To it’s advantage, there’s very little of the cheap, residual sugar notes.

2008 Chakana Malbec – $19
Light on nose and color. A thin kind of taste, but the wine has the gumption to keep a pleasing tone throughout the sip. Quite nice. Clean. There’s only a lack of that special taste that recalls better nights than the one your spending with this wine. To it’s advantage, there’s very little of the cheap, residual sugar notes.

2009 Domaine La Garrigue Côtes du Rhône Cuvée Romaine – $14
What was a stellar wine a year ago is now a bit messy, showing its age by crawling about the floor with its flabby, frail arms just looking for someone to love. That was supposed to be funny, but it actually is kind of sad; which is to say the same of this wine. Still a barrel of laughs to drink, but the potential is now a diluted remnant. VERY much a dark horse, a powerhouse of dark berry and chocolate. Effervescence is still very much present, just as many other bottles exhibited. I am among the class that believes the bubbles to be a loving mistake, but loving none the less. It works, even in such an petrified state. There is a lot of sediment as well, so take heed of that; there are those who hate chewing their wine; I happen to find it interesting.

2009 Pepperwood Grove Merlot – $6
The bottle fancies itself to be a dry, full-bodied affair; what it actually is is the exact opposite. There is a syrupy sweetness, while not awful, limits the enjoyment factor for me. The wine is also not a “full” one, instead exhibiting a thin coating throughout the sip. For the price, it’s not an awful wine, but you could do better.

2011 Bogle Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon – $7
Zesty, bitter and dark while having an overall “meh” kind of dry afterthought residual sugar forwardness. Mellow like merlot. Although it will not fight you after a couple of glasses. Worth the price.


Wading Through Five More

This blog has been writing out of Salt Lake City, Utah for over a year now. I’ve lived here my entire life; and have fallen in love with wine in this state as well – even if the state has no notable wine valleys or producers. We do have some winemakers despite the terrain, the crushing heat of summer and our sullen winters. I’ve covered some of them in earlier posts, while avoiding others entirely. Sometimes you have to adhere to the old axiom: don’t say anything unless you have something nice to say. I believe the extent of my knowledge from that particular proverb comes from the Disney film Bambi, although I don’t doubt it’s as old as the written word. Regardless, you don’t always have to call out a bad wine; it can be like kicking the fat kid in the esophagus while he’s down, having just been beaten by some older boys for “sleeping the dog” with his yo-yo. Full disclosure: Which was me. Those kids were just jealous.
And now, I’m moving. Although I should say we’re moving because A) I am literally moving with another human being (not to disappoint anyone who assumed I was alone in a basement surrounded by nothing but cheap wine), and B) I always just refer to the Frugal Glug as, not a single entity, but a collective recollection of everyone and anyone I drink with, and our opinions on what we consume. Ah, yes, and where to? California. Los Angeles specifically. Her, Philosophy; I, Film. We’ll be fine as soon as some income can pour in. See, the whole premise of this blog is ridding on the coattails of the frugal rule of thumb, that many who know what they’re talking about, already know. Great wine can be had on the cheap, or the relatively cheap, the semi-cheap, the yeah-it’s-twenty-bucks-but-that’s-good-for-this-varietal; or as I call it: “two hours worth of work good.” And yet, now we’re moving to a locale that saps money from your person just by breathing. I’m told it’s to feed the souls of dead producers who still scour the streets at night, advancing and securing monetary gain even after death.

Instead of a good night and good luck to this blog, there’s all the more reason to pull on through with it, to fight the good fight. The selection of wine should be exponentially higher in the L.A. proper –– and the bargains all the more interesting for it, seeing as how the average cost-per-bottle will rise alongside the inflation of selections.

“I don’t believe in no win scenarios.”

Yeah, we side with this guy.

Breaking in to a new, bill draining, city is just another challenge. Braving some truly suspicious wines over the years, we know challenges when we see them. I can only say this relocation will help us, and hopefully you as well, find the real deals without compromise or lamentations.

As with tradition, our recent bottles:

Rolf Binder 2007 Halliwell – $ 16 ::Worthy::
Such an interesting wine with a somewhat complex, inky musty tone. Yet, it’s obvious the wine was doing what every wine eventually does best, crawl to a slow death. The wine was coming loose at every end. But We were glad to have experienced it nonetheless.

20120 Bodege Elena De Mendoza Malbec – $ 8 ::Worthy::
Very wide in the mouth, sour even; it fans out as it reaches the back of your throat. A great foundation and fill, but lacks anything really outstanding or complex. Zesty with a hint of mineral. Surprising for the price.

2010 Bodegas Olivares Monastrell Altos de la Hoya Finca Hoya De Santa Ana – $9 ::Worthy::
Wide and stout in flavor. Feels very solid without the weight; the tannins, punctual. We didn’t get much of a sense of complexity but it was generous with the fruit, forgiving with the ease at which is slid down the throat in no time at all, and well balanced in the front and back. It’s a happy-go-lucky student who only aspires to be studious.

2010 St. Francis Red Splash – $7 ::Skip It::Simple sugar syrup with a good hint of acidity. Fairly flabby, however. It’s by no means a get-it-out-of-my-house-right-now wine, but there’s far better for a dollar or two more.

2009 Wolf Blass Cabernet Sauvingnon – $7 ::Skip It::
Great for the price. Lively, and fun. More on the generic side, but it’s hardly sleeping with the cheap side of the encampment. This wine will not hold up for you the next day. It turns to this insipid sweet concoction that I was afraid would kill me in the dead of night –– that strong.

Boldly Go