According to a recent Gallup Poll, 66 percent of Americans drink alcoholic beverages, with the average consuming just more than four drinks per week. The preferred drink was beer, 39 percent; wine, 35 percent; and liquor, 22 percent. This is a slight shift from last year's poll, in which beer edged out wine, 36 percent to 35 percent.
You're probably asking yourself, "What's up with the Wine Line dude? Who cares if beer is more popular than wine?"
I think it's important. It proves, at least to me, that global warming does exist. Think about it. As Earth heats up, are you going to reach for an icy-cold Bud or a glass of room temperature cabernet sauvignon? Duh! It's a no brainer. More cold beer will be consumed, pure and simple. This could be a great time to buy stock in a beer company.
The cool-down drink in Spain has always been sangria, wine mixed with fresh fruit.
Currently there is another mixed drink that is even more popular, according to the Huffington Post. It is kalimotxo (calimocho), a blend of Coca-Cola and cheap red wine. The drink has been around since the 1970s and was originally called Cuba libre del pobre (poor man's Cuba libre). It was renamed at a Basque festival in 1972 when friends were serving bad wine and decided to doctor it with cola to make it drinkable. Over the years, the drink has spread to other nations, especially those in Eastern Europe. The kalimotxo recipe is easy, 50-50 cola and red wine served over ice. In the Czech Republic, the drink is called houba (mushroom) and in Romania it's called motorina (diesel fuel). I think I'll take a pass on the kalimotxo.
If you are inclined to give the kalimotxo a try, there is plenty of cheap wine available. A recent Nielsen survey points out that one of every four bottles sold in the United States costs less than $3. Most major grocery chains (Save Mart, Safeway, Wal-Mart) have followed Trader Joe's Two-Buck- Chuck pricing strategy and have their own house brands. More than likely, one of the big wine companies made those inexpensive production wines. Fewer than 2 percent of U.S. wineries produce 84 percent of the wine. One thing to remember as you navigate the massive wine wall in your supermarket -- the average price of a bottle of wine sold in the United States is about $6.20. Wine doesn't have to cost an arm and a leg to be good. Drink what you like, period.
What's on our table
Three Ravenswood zinfandels made our table this week and all paired well with a hickory smoked turkey. My trusty old blue Weber grill never disappoints, and the rich and juicy smoked meat was a perfect match for the 2009 Lodi, 2009 Sonoma County and the 2110 Napa County zins. All three were distinct and had the same 14.5 percent alcohol. The Lodi zin was jammy rich, the Sonoma big and bold and the Napa ripe and smooth. Buy all three and see what zinfandel growing region you prefer. Find them in your local market for less than $15 each. Cheers!
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