Monday, July 16, 2012

Wine For Public Defenders (And Yes, Prosecutors)

When you blog, you feel compelled to explain why you haven't blogged. You get comments like "haven't seen you blogging lately."

I don't feel compelled to explain, but I will. I haven't been blogging because I haven't felt like it. It's not that I haven't had things to say, it's that I've been more interested in other things, like legal work and enjoying my family.

Then I wake up ready to write about something only to find that someone else has written my thoughts. Doing the "what he said" thing is nice, but doesn't always cause me to take the time that's required to say "what he said."

The other day though, a request came through that got my creative juices flowing. While I view requests like I view social media gurus (blights on society), this was one I couldn't turn down. So I dusted off the laptop, and now, I respond to the following:

"Please make a list of wine for PD budgets."

Now some of you know that on occassion I notify the world that I drank a nice bottle of wine. Usually I get a "nice," or "where can I find that," but now I'm being asked to give a shout out to my former world as an assistant public defender, and although the bloggers of the world refer to this as a "throw away post," (a post written mainly because the blogger felt like it and generally unrelated to the topic of the blog), I must oblige my homies*. (*people similar to me at some point in my life.)

First, let me advise that as an assistant public defender, I didn't drink much wine. They didn't have, nor do I believe they have now, "nickel wine night." I also never found it a better deal to spend $10 on one bottle of something when I could buy 6 bottles of something for about $4.

Although the request was not specific, I have placed two requirements on the following recommendations - they are all readily available, and cost $13 or less at the typical retailer.

These are available to both public defenders and prosecutors. Back in my day we actually used to go out and drink together a couple nights a week. I know that may seem like blasphemy to some of you kids out there, but the war ended in court, for most of us.

The list:

Rex Goliath Cabernet

Read this about Rex Goliath and tell me you're not running out to get some? This is the wine I buy when the kid's school says "Brian, can you donate 10 cases of wine for the upcoming party?"

It's $5.49 at Total Wine. They also make a Shiraz and Merlot. Try 'em all for $17.

Dr. Loosen Riesling

One day someone is going to figure out that this wine is a steal at $11.99. Nothing says "here, I know you're a girl who doesn't like wine but try this," better than Riesling. Riesling is a German wine. It's made in America, but I don't like the American versions, especially when I can get a German one for under $12. I buy this, and it always gets good reviews. Loosen makes higher level Rieslings, but this one will shock you for the price.

Instead of that crap $10 Chardonnay you think you like, spend the extra couple dollars and get this.

Speaking of cheap Chardonnay, I won't recommend any. So keep wasting your money on those magnums of Woodbridge. I don't like Chardonnay, I've only had one in my life that I liked and it's $40. So do me a favor, try this:

Pine Ridge Chenin Blanc/Viognier

The great thing about this wine is that it's got that fancy French name, it's made by a well known Napa Winery, and I've seen it as cheap as $8.99. Next time your friend asks you to "bring over some Chard," surprise everyone with this. It's a screw top to boot.

Now let's go to Argentina.

One of the things you PD's need to do is get away from the "do you have a cab, merlot or chardonnay," thing that you do at every bar. Start asking for other things and the bars will start carrying them. Maybe they do, but you just keep ordering the same crap.

Let's try some Malbec, at $9.99


This is another wine I drank and was surprised it was so cheap.

So I know you're waiting for me to tell you weather there is any really good Napa Cab that you can get for under $20.

Under $20, hell, this is an under $13 list. So let me give you my find of the year for $12.99, at Total Wine.


Last year I was in a wine shop and the owner poured me a glass. He told me it drank like a $25 bottle of wine.

I drank it, and bought a bunch to give away. It was outstanding.

The story is great too. Joseph Carr is the winery owner and his dad was nicknamed "Josh." This is a tribute to him. The 2009 was rated a "best buy" in Wine Spectator.

"Any French wines under $13," you ask?


How about $8.98.

Paul Jaboulet Parallel "45"

I was shocked the first time I tried this wine - it was on the wine list at a nice steak restaurant. It's great. No one will think you brought a $9 wine to the party.

Finally, my favorite grape - Zinfandel.

Many great Zins are priced in the $30 range, but that doesn't help you. You're a PD, you want the cheap stuff and you're tired of drinking the same crap.

How's $8.99?

Cline Zinfandel

Nice looking bottle.

Cline makes more expensive Zinfandel, but this is their entry level wine, and it won't disappoint. Zin is a great barbeque wine. Let everyone else bring the Busch Light, you bring over a couple bottles of this.

In closing, I will tell you that one of the secrets to finding good, cheap wine, is trying alternative grapes - Carmenere, Semillion, Viognier, Albarino, and wines from lesser known regions. Some places you've never heard of are making great wines. Take a chance on the advice from the people in the wine shoppe.

By the way, I still recommend the beer and cheap liquor. Wine can be an expensive proposition.

Of course, I've missed hundreds of great cheap wines out there, so feel free to let me know what you've found.

And please, no more requests. It's not my thing, usually.

Non-anonymous comments welcome.

Brian Tannebaum is a criminal defense lawyer in Miami, Florida practicing in state and federal court, and the author of The Truth About Hiring A Criminal Defense Lawyer.
Share/Save/Bookmark rules Post to Twitter