Rescue Wines

In a weak moment — OK, in a cheap moment — we fell for the $5.99 sale on Yellow Tail at Hannaford and bought a bottle of the Merlot. Should have gotten the Shiraz, which never disappoints. Yellow Tail Merlot, on the other hand, while not the worst Merlot on earth, could fill that position on an interim basis until the rightful title holder came forward.

Arid, listless and as fruity as tree bark, Yellow Tail is useless. We were about to add “irredeemable,” but this treatise is all about redemption.

Confronted with a bottle of red that, in the language of the cognoscenti, sucks, one’s initial response is to sulk. Hotheads pour it down the drain. We, with no joy, tend to drink it anyway.

But, having recently watched a friend, in a spirit of playful experimentation, blend glasses of Malbec and Merlot, we got an idea. We had on hand a bottle of Redwood Creek California Merlot ($6.49 at Friends & Family) — a very nice, flavorful, plummy red with a passable finish. Using a funnel, we poured about a cup into the offending Merlot. Wow! What a difference!

So there you have today’s household hint: blend your way back to the bottle.

Now, this kind of alchemy can get out of hand. We are reminded of Eddie, the bartender at La Ida, in Steinbeck’s “Cannery Row”:

“He kept a gallon jug under the bar and in the mouth of the jug there was a funnel. Anything left in the glasses Eddie poured into the funnel before he washed the glasses. … The mixture of rye, beer, bourbon, scotch, wine, rum and gin was fairly constant, but now and then some effete customer would order a stinger or an anisette or a curaçao and these little touches gave a distinct character to the punch.”

May all your drinks have character.

Nicole Ouellette

Nicole Ouellette

When Nicole isn't giving advice she's completely unqualified to give, she runs an Internet marketing company in Bar Harbor, where she lives with her husband Derrick and their short dog Gidget. She loves young adult novels, cooking and talking French to anyone who'll talk back. [email protected]