Merlot That’s Cheap And Not Vomit-Flavored

Updated: Feb 09, 2013 16:01
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A true friend always holds your hair back and never serves you bad wine

The other day I was thinking about a wine question that my dear friend, Ilene, emailed me a few years ago. I tried to dig it up out of the Gmail abyss so I could share it in raw form, but all I came up with was a copy of this e-card I sent Ilene for her birthday last year (she makes a stellar Ms. Pac-Man, no?). Anyways, it’s a damn fine question and one that I never really answered properly. Sorry about that, Ilene… better late than never?

Q: Last week I went to a dinner party and had a red wine – I think it was Merlot – that tasted like vomit. Is this normal?

A: First of all, ew. Now then, unless you simultaneously vomited in your mouth and drank this wine, the answer is NO. It is not normal for wine (Merlot or otherwise) to taste, smell, or in any way resemble vomit. My guess is that you experienced a wine with volatile acidity, which actually sounds sorta vomit-ish. In wine speak, however, it means the wine overdosed on acetic acid via winemaker error or preference (yes, some winemakers purposely add high doses of acetic acid). Either way, if you’re not a fan of vomit-flavored wine, volatile acidity is a mean creature.

There are other bad things (aka “faults”) that can destroy your happy wine moment, but let’s move on to things that don’t make us feel like a Sad Sally, shall we? How about we discuss cheap, yummy red wine – YAY!

I’m going to stick with the Merlot theme because Merlot gets a bad rap even when it’s not being assaulted with acetic acid. It just so happens that I fucking love Merlot. I really fucking love Merlot from Washington, so that’s what I’m going to recommend everyone drink from now on. Here are a few of my faves:

Columbia Crest “H3” Merlot (~$11) – Wine Spectator called this wine “intriguing”… whatever that means. I just think it tastes good.

The House of Independent Producers “Bacchus Vineyard” Merlot (~$12) – I balls-to-the-walls adore everything Hedges Family Estate produces. Oh, I recommend their “CMS” blend too. Pretty neat how I snuck two wine rec’s in there, huh?

Charles Smith “The Velvet Devil” Merlot (~$12) – Although it is fitting for this time of year, I’m not listing this because Halloween is coming up (I’ve got something else in mind for that, stay tuned!). Charles Smith makes good juice, period.

Still thirsty? Talk to me, baby.


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Emily Crichton - Two Buck Chick

Emily Crichton - Two Buck Chick

Emily grew up in the great American Midwest where she learned to appreciate the finer things in life, such as cheese curds, polka dancing, and building up a superhuman immune defense to lake sludge. Somewhere in her young adulthood, Emily got all kinds of geeky about wine and decided to forgo a life of luxury in order to be a pro wino in one of the most expensive cities on the planet. This career move would prove to be great for broke-asses everywhere seeking cheap, tasty wine suggestions, but not so great for Emily's predilection for anxiety-free bill-paying. On the rare occasion that she is not imbibing or writing about wine, Emily can usually be found traipsing around estate sales, defending her Wisconsin vernacular, challenging strangers to thumb-wrestling matches, and wishing "Three’s Company” was still on primetime TV.


  1. October 18, 2012 at 2:47 pm

    oh my pretty hair was so wrecked. Still loved it.

  2. Emily Crichton - Two Buck Chick
    October 19, 2012 at 12:55 am

    Your hair is still pretty!! And your approval even more so… THANKS!