Last night, I attended a local beer tasting here in Las Vegas.
I’m not really much of a beer guy. Oh yeah, I went through that childish phase some time ago. Okay, the childish phase lasted two decades. Maybe three. I admit it — I used to love my beer. I still do. But, the truth is, I can’t slam down cold pints of golden brew like I used to, because it makes me fat as all fuck.
Screw you people for confronting me with the truth.
I have a lopsided love-hate relationship with beer. I love it. I love it. I love it. But, it hates me. Beer makes me bloat like a puff fish. After I drink 3 or 4 or 12 beers, I feel like a beached whale. I’m Tony Montana all powdered up like a coke fiend drunk on his own supply. Let me tell you something. It’s embarrassing as shit when you have to poke a screwdriver into your leather belt to punch one more notch so your pants will stay up instead of drooping down to your ankles. The beer-drinking fatties will likely get that reference. We all done that, haven’t we? The rest of you — please carry on.
Given all the tasty wine bargains nowadays, narrowing down so many wonderful choices from all parts of the world into a “Top Ten” list is sure to omit some very deserving candidates. Nevertheless, I’ll do my best to recommend wines I deem to have been reliable for many years, and are consistently priced below what one might expect given the quality. In particular, I’ll be seeking out wines that tend to drink into what I call a “higher class.” In other words, in a blind taste test it’s unlikely most drinkers would be able to distinguish the affordable wine that I’ve selected from something far more expensive.
What follows is my list of favorite red wines currently which are listed at $10 per bottle or less in most stores (YMMV). This list of red wines includes — Cabernet Sauvignon, Pino Noir, Zinfandel, Malbec, Syrah (Shiraz), Sangiovese, Barbera, and Merlot. To no one’s surprise, not a single Merlot made my list. Also, despite their popularity, I’m also not a fan of wines from Italy or Australia. I tend to like full-bodied reds with lots of rich character and at least some measure of complexity.
Moments after the final course was made from scratch, served, and promptly devoured at Mon Ami Gabi‘s renowned cooking class, I approached executive chef and part-owner Terry Lynch. My only question was — when’s the next class coming up? I was ready to pounce and make another reservation on the spot. For anyone who enjoys learning more about culinary history, the fine art of cooking and devising original recipes, and/or simply adores eating great food and drinking specialty cocktails much like I do — this experience isn’t to be missed.
Mr. Lynch responded that Mon Ami Gabi does offer classes periodically (on average, about every six months). They’re usually held on Saturdays from 10 am to noon. He explained that December would normally be the host month for the next class. However, Mr. Lynch said he was planning a month-long trip to Vietnam and Cambodia towards year end. Why am I telling you this? Allow me to explain. I think it’s indicative of why all of Mr. Lynch’s restaurants are a stand out in terms of quality, value, and originality.