Hello and welcome back to Grape Expectations: Lewis & Clark’s premier resource for learning how to drink like a classy and responsible adult. First and foremost, it is necessary to remind all of my loyal readers that Grape Expectations and The Pioneer Log do not condone underage or reckless drinking in any form. This is wine, not Burnett’s.
As the temperature lowered and the dust settled around the first midterms of the semester, I went wine shopping with one goal in mind: to avoid the slew of minor illnesses that I have grown to expect this time of year. These past few weeks have seen a tightening of the common cold’s grip on LC’s campus. I think it is time we all nestle into our comfy cushioned armchairs and sip on some antioxidants to defend ourselves from our infected classmates. Pinot noir is the natural drink of choice for all hypochondriacs due to its high concentration of resveratrol (antioxidant alert!) and low amount of residual sugar. And how blessed we are to be in such close proximity to the Willamette Valley, the best region for producing this miracle cépage (pronounced say-PAHJ, this is a fancy word for grape variety) outside of France!
It is easy to get lost in the aisles of any Portland grocery store while shopping for a bottle of pinot noir, being forced to stare into the face of hundreds of unfamiliar labels with terrifying words like “inoculated” and “California.” First thing’s first, look for the pinot that comes from the Willamette Valley; it will often be more affordable and better tasting than anything else by a long shot. The Christopher Michael 2017 pinot noir is a great option for anyone on a budget, sold for $11 at Fred Meyer. This wine is not nearly as heavy as most pinots and it presents a palate centered around cheery notes of red fruit, balancing out the tannins (the substance which causes the dry mouthfeel known to accompany “big reds”). When you are smelling and tasting, try to pick out flavors of cherry and red berries that are somewhat hidden behind the dryness of the wine. Hopefully, you will find that the fruity taste and relative lightness of this pinot make it a great option for an autumn evening lounging around the living room, keeping all free radicals at bay through the simple act of sipping.
OKTOBERFEST BONUS: While I have you here, we might as well address the elephant in the room: it is October, and some of us will opt for beer over wine during this most hallowed of months. While I admit this is far from my field of expertise, allow me to pass on what I have heard from more reliable sources when it comes to drinking beer. I have no room for flowery language here: get the Double Mountain IRA if you are into hop and malt, and the New Belgium Hefeweizen if you want something slightly wackier. Prost!