As soon as we realized that no, we were not on a cruise ship sans Dramamine, Squid Ink did what we suspect most folks do during an earthquake: we lunged for the few prized bottles of Russian River Pinot still remaining from a particularly overindulgent Napa Valley/Sonoma trip. Which brings up the inevitable question: when you live in an earthquake zone, is it really wise to cellar wine? Right. We'll be drinking that 2003 Lynmar tonight, and in the meantime, here are a few great weeknight values we'll be stocking up on without any breakage fears. We're also tossing in a cocktail recipe for that crappy bottle of Rosé that, unfortunately, didn't break during the tremors.
Monday Night Red: Terra Andina Carmenère (Chile)
Terra Andina is one of Chile's largest wine producers. And ya, in the wine biz (like the produce biz), Squid Ink tends to give the little guys the benefit of the doubt over the big operators. But not when our taste buds tell us otherwise. If you're a Carmenère fan (if not, you will be), Terra Andina's 2008 vintage is a crazy bargain for the quality at $8. Just add Drive-Thru burger.
Terra Andina 2008 Carmenère is available at Beverage Warehouse, $8.
Tuesday Night Bubbly: Villa Sandi Il Fresco Prosecco (Italy)
Tuesday nights for Squid Ink are all about baths, bubbly and preferably, no “urgent” text messages. We tend to gravitate towards Prosecco because it has a light flavor, yet enough bubbles to compensate for that cheap bath gel we bought. The trick with Prosecco is you really need to spend a few dollars more to get a quality wine (think $12 not $6). We're liking Villa Sandi's Il Fresco right now, but by all means if there's a Costco sale, stock up on the super cheap stuff so you can make this Rustic Canyon honeydew melon-Meyer lemon cocktail all summer.
Villa Sandi Il Fresco Prosecco is available at Bevmo, $13.
Wednesday Night White: Dr. Loosen 2008 Riesling (Germany)
As Squid Ink typically needs to
meditate medicate by Wednesday night, you'll likely find us reaching for a bottle of Riesling. It's such a versatile wine, you can drink it with just about anything — pork/pasta, spicy/sweet, Asian/Mexican. With that fruity finish it's even pretty killer with a bag of microwave popcorn.
Dr. Loosen 2008 Riesling is available at Wally's Wine, $15.
Thursday Night Rosé: Mondavi 2008 Woodbridge White Zin (California)
This is where that unremarkable bottle of Rosé comes into play. Whatever you have on hand will work, but this Woodbridge White Zinfandel is certainly cocktail material. Add a handful of fresh raspberries or blackberries, a shot or two of vodka (why not?) and 4 ounces of Chambord or your favorite raspberry liqueur. Put it in the fridge for a 24-hour maceration, and you'll have Friday night cocktails lying in wait for the moment you get off work. As for tonight, might we suggest you get out of the house? You're growing roots.
Robert Mondavi 2008 Woodbridge is available at Wine House, $4.
Friday Nightcap: Roxo 2006 Paso Melange Port-style Wine (California)
You can afford to splurge. It's Friday, and you've just polished off an entire pitcher of rosé cocktails for less than you'd pay for one drink at a swanky cocktail lounge (you're welcome). This Paso Robles wine producer makes killer dessert wines, and several like this inky, peppery Melange come in half bottles so you can spend — and drink — in moderation. You've still got weekend beachfront margaritas and build-your-own killer Bloody Marys yet to come.