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One of the great things about going to a wine store is getting to pick something new. But sometimes, just sometimes, the selection is lacking or overwhelming or the salesperson is unhelpful (or MIA) or I’m too tired (or in too much of a hurry). And that’s when it’s wonderful to stumble across something you recognize and know will deliver the goods.

So, I was in Boston visiting friends.  They actually live in Cambridge, off Cambridge Street, near the Lechmore stop on the Green Line. It’s a cute neighborhood, not completely gentrified (click on here for a hilarious take on gentrification via Michael Che), but with a nice offering of restaurants and bars. Guests can be a strain on the budget, though, and we opted for staying in and cooking most nights. Sometimes, “cooking” meant eating cheese and crackers and hummus while watching Netflix and drinking beer.  Or, a typical Tuesday night if you’re me.

But on my last night, we’re going to do a sit-down dinner and since I’m not cooking, it’s my job to procure the liquid portion of the evening. And it’s in the local liquor store, flurescent lightbulbs glowing, where I start to lose  my bit a way. The lights too bright, my stomach crumbling and a complete lack of focus. And then, like an oasis out of the desert, the familiar label appears: the 2011 Tortoise Creek “Le Charmel” Syrah-Grenache. This Southern Rhône red is heavier on the Syrah (70%) which gives the wine some nice oomph. There’s chocolate here, some rich berries, a little bit of spice and a lot more complexity than you’d expect from such a reasonably priced wine (at barVino cellars we sell it for $10.99 and in Boston I picked it up for $12. Bonus, buying Tortoise Creek means I get to support the fabulous owners, Mel and Janie Masters (“Le Charmel” is a blending of Mel’s name with his son Charlie). Lovely people, lovely wine.






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