Restocking my cabinet.

February 27, 2009 at 12:43 pm (What we are thinking, What we're drinking) (, , , , , , , , , )

I have been thinking a lot lately about something very, very sad: my liquor cabinet. I have fallen into a rut, and it’s been a few weeks since I’ve made some hefty purchases to keep myself in good spirits [tee hee!] back at the ol’ apartment. Now, I know that I spend most of my days in the world’s best walk-in wine cave [aka 1257 South Halsted], but when I need a glass of Nero d’Avola at two in the morning, I can’t full well come to LUSH and get my fix. Not without getting stopped by the police for trespassing, anyway.

The other day was payday, which necessarily means that I get that gleam in my eye: spend spend spend! There are a few bottles I’ve been eyeing here at the shop that I want to take home, but I also love having a few ‘every day’ bottles around for when I don’t want to wait an hour for my wine to decant or get too cerebral on a weeknight. I’m all set on the beer front, with some Rodenbach, some of the very rare Flossmoor Station ‘Killer Kapowski’, and some other stuff I’ve been cellaring.

Spirits are fine, too, with bourbon, rye, AND Scotch on my booze shelf; even my fortified wine section is hale and hearty, with both Madeira and a delicious Pedro Ximenez hanging out on the shelf, calling to me whenever I eat dessert. Or drink dessert.

But what about wine? What should my strategy be? Quantity? Quality? A heady mix of both? I am lost here, guys. My body is yearning for spring and grüner veltliner and rosé, but the still-freezing temperatures make me crave rich Italians, like the Solyss Negroamaro, an under-fifteen-dollar stunner that is rich, dark with cocoa and fig notes and has a lingering finish. I’m also a sucker for rosé sparklers, and the last bottle of the Barth Pinot Noir is beckoning to me to take it home. But what about my last-minute guests? What if I need to eat Asian food? I do love being a hospitable hostess, and in my house, offering a drink is as automatic as offering a chair to my guests.

I guess I need some advice. What are the must-have items you, dear reader, keep stocked for emergency moments like these?


  1. Jane said,

    Erin, my dear, I never seem to have this problem. I have rather the opposite problem: I buy too much wine, whenever a new bottle beckons or an old one threatens to run out, and they sit in my wine fridge. This is why you need to come over more!

    But, in response to your query, it’s always good to have inexpensive whites, reds, and roses around. I think the Clayhouse Adobe White — a blend of Chenin Blanc, Viognier, Chardonnay, and Roussanne from Paso Robles — is a great crowd pleaser, and goes well with a lot of different food. My go-to red is the M1. Love it.

    I would say, just buy what looks good to you on a regular basis, and you will never lack for yummy things around the house. Cheers!

  2. Chris said,

    My advice? Buy the Barth Pinot Noir. Then jump on a plane to Boston and enjoy it here with me. I don’t really think there’s any other way.

    With a name like that, how can you go wrong?

  3. Tatiana Abramova said,

    Erin, no one spendsmore time and resources restocking than me, as you I am sure know by now. I do, however, try to keep some things on hand for when I have company. My best advice for you would be: consider the company.

    I tend to hang with fellow cork dorks quite a lot, and any bottle I have generally is a conversation starter for these folks. However, I always try to have a bottle of yummy and inexpensive bubbly in the fridge: Zardetto Brut is great as of late, and that delicious prosecco with the silver foil neck, you know the one. This is great for any occasion, because bubbles go with everything and everyone, but particularly it is great to have for girls night.

    I also stock a few whites, roses, and reds from the beloved ten-dollar cart, yay! Everyday drinking has never had it so good! I like the SkinFlint rose (you know my addiction to zippy and minerally roses). The Laurent Miguel rose is yummo, to quote Rachel Ray. His chard/viognier is very friendly, and can please a variety of palates. Chenin blancs, when done right, are great for parties.

    Go-to reds change. But generally, I err on the side of juicy, full-bodied wines because they appeal to a wider spectrum of folks, and even to those who subdivide all wine into “white” and “red”. I also found, that you can convince a beer drinker to try the big reds, and they tend to like them. More austere or very tannic wines can be challenging for a group, they tend to be more cerebral.

    But really, what do I know? Cheers to your cabinet, lovely!

  4. Erin said,

    Thanks for all the input guys … especially from you, Chris! I’ll make it out to Boston some day. Come to Chicago and see my shop. Weeeee!

    I’ll write a post next week on what I decided to take home. Yum, wine.

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