McManis: Valuable Friendships and Value-Priced Wine

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I'll be gaining a new title this year. With the addition of these extra letters, what I permanently lose is snowy Midwestern Christmases where I giddily stuff myself full of bacon, cheese and mayonnaise hors d'eouvres; the two-parent home in which I always believed my child would be raised; and a loud group of flawed-but-funny family members who fight a lot but love each other even more than they disagree. So there are a lot of changes happening, but I recently realized that there is a constant in there, too: A very important bond with my sister-in-law old friend.

Remaining close with one's ex-husband's sister is actually a lot easier than you might think. I like to credit similar artistic notions, temperaments, philosophies about life, the universe and everything…and a mutual deep appreciation for good wine. Oh – and being broke. I guess that's also important, because lately we've done a whole bunch of bonding over that, too. So what wine does a poor divorcee bring to her equally strapped sister-in-law, to be enjoyed as they might've, back when they were younger, fabulous and slightly more liquid? Turns out it's a 2008 McManis Family Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon, for about $9.99 a bottle.

2008 McManis Family Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon

2008 McManis Family Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon

The McManis – unlike certain aspects of a failed marriage and a bad economy – is very easy to swallow. It's a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and a pinch of Petite Verdot, aged on new and used French and American Oak for 4-6 months. While not quite a fruit bomb, it is definitely a jammy Cabernet (take it or leave it). On the nose, it's all big, black fruit like fresh blackberry and stewed plum. I picked up chocolate on the nose, but on the palate that turned into vanilla and smoke. It's big and fruity through-and-through, so if California Cabs are your thing, this might be a worthwhile wine for you. Especially for the price, which is kept low because the fruit comes from Lodi, instead of one of the more expensive AVAs to the north.

As we all move through life, it's impossible to avoid the hailstorm of difficult decisions that leave us running for cover. People grow and change, circumstances shift, we often find ourselves finding ourselves due to some serious miscalculation of where we thought we'd be at a particular point in our lives. These things are hard. So I'm all for celebrating the easy decisions: Joy, bravery and love. Especially love. Love in whatever form you're lucky enough to find it, however long it lasts and wherever it takes you. Especially if the place it leads is crying with laughter over a cheap and delicious wine, with an ex-family member, who – despite no longer being related – feels more like a sister, now that we're “only” just friends.

Posted on by Arianna Armstrong in Arianna's Wine Tasting Notes

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