Tempranillo: how do I love you, let me count the ways

I recently had two widely different tempranillo experiences. The first was like really really bad sex. You keep telling yourself, "it's not that bad," as you go back for seconds, and then you smack yourself in the face and say "why the eff am I doing this, I know better!" It's that sweaty, fat man on top of you, and you think he's in but you really can't tell so you start counting the cracks in the ceiling to pass the time until its over. And then you sit, self-loathing, on the edge of the bed and really really hope he doesn't fall asleep because he needs to leave like RIGHT NOW and you smile awkwardly and say "Yeah, I'll totally call you," but you in fact, delete his number and remove your Tinder profile ASAP.

Good tempranillo, on the other hand, is like falling into bed with Antonio Banderas with his sexy accent and smouldering eyes. It's sassafras and blackberries and passionate tumbles in the thickets and velvet restraints …

To be perfectly franc, my dear, I don't give a damn

The wine was young. And so was he. But he had the most magnificent beard.

"Is it weird if I ask to stroke it," I whispered to my companion.

She looked at me, askance. "Yeah, you're right." I sighed. Instead, when he returned and asked if there was anything else he could do for us, I asked "can I try your Cab Franc?"

His face lit up. "Nobody appreciates Cab Franc," he said, excitedly. He returned with two bottles.

"Double the fun," I mumbled, my mind going in inappropriate directions. He poured me two generous glasses.

"On the house," he said, and perhaps he winked. I was seeing double by this point.

The Cab Franc was delightful. Candied violets, purple fruits, silky mouthfeel. I still wish I'd stroked his beard. It looked silky, too.

When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie, that's Chianti?

It was a dark and stormy night. The fire crackled and popped as it fought against the encroaching chill damp evening. "This is definitely not the right weather for white wine," I thought to myself as I perused the rack. (Not the medieval torture kind, sadly.)

And there it was, hiding behind all the chardonnays and sauvignon blancs. The lone bottle of Chianti Classico.

"He looks like he could use a friend," I muttered, as I hunted for my favorite wine key. And boy, did we get friendly that evening! Who needs romance when a nice bottle of wine will keep you warm just as well?

Notes: I loved this Chianti Classico because it checked the boxes on so many of my favorite things. First on the palate it was soy sauce, espresso, and sour cherry before finishing as pepperoni pizza crust: spicy and chewy and delicious. I'd award it five hot pokers and will definitely get with it again this winter.

Is that some kinky sex thing?

"Would you care for a Mondeause?" He asked, huskily.

I tried to twist my grimace into a smile. Frantically, I asked my inner goddess, "Is that some kinky sex thing I should know about?" She was silent (that bitch, I swear she is constantly on vacation in Bali or Goa or wherever those hyper-flexible, sexually ambiguous figures vacation). 

"Yes?" I finally answered, tentatively.

He pulled out a bottle. I inwardly sighed in relief. No kinky sex. Well, at least for now. 

The wine was inky purple; it could have passed for petite sirah. But there was no mistaking the nose. When I closed my eyes, it was just like that one time I was shuffling through a Chinese street market, pressed between approximately one million tiny old grandmothers, the smell of rotting meat, sweat, and Chinese five spice overwhelming my senses. 

On the palate, it was sour plum and bitter cherry. In fact, when combined together, it was like the best parts of Peking duck. Huh. Turns out I really…

Bigger is better?

It was big. And smelled like athletic socks that have been left stewing in a gym bag for weeks. Pungent. I bit my lip. Could I really do this? Closing my eyes, I plunged ahead. My life motto is "never say never." Actually, it's "look both ways before you cross the street," but safety isn't sexy.

Bracing myself, I went for it. I swallowed. I shouldn't have. It was like licking a fencepost wearing a home-tanned deerskin shirt. In case you've never had the pleasure: rough, dry, and gamey.

"This isn't quite what I expected," I choked out, trying to find some way to restore moisture to my mouth. I'd been promised silk and satin, not Daniel Boone.

He smirked at me over the rim of his wineglass. "I like it rough," he whispered.

What we drank: 2006 Barbaresco

Scoring: 3 out of 5 handcuffs

With a name like lemberger, you'll never get laid

I was there for a threesome. When he pulled out the bottle of Lemberger, I thought to myself, "this is a very bad idea."
"It's actually Blaufränkisch," he said, noticing my grimace. 
"Gesundheit," I mumbled, not liking the direction this evening was heading. 
With a smirk, he filled up my glass. The inky purple was still vibrant, young. "I don't know if this wine is even of legal drinking age," I snarked, as I watched him fill the other glasses. 
I stuck my nose in the glass. It smelled like stinky cheese. "No wonder it's called Lemberger," I laughed to myself. Sometimes, I'm my own best company. 
I took a tentative first sip, worried it would taste like the backside of a horse. Instead, it popped and fizzled on my tongue, like a virgin bridegroom on his wedding night. Bright raspberry burst forth across my palate like a flirty smack across my ass. "I might actually like this," I realized. The threesome, not …