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November 6, 2013

Bar Belle: Prime time for wine

There’s just something about this time of year that makes me want to guzzle wine like it’s water and pop cheese like it’s Xanax. Most beers and liquors have a proper season of drinking — you don’t really drink rum in December, now do you? Winter was made for sippin’ on bourbons and stouts in a quiet back booth at your favorite dive bar. Spring is suited for juleps, mimosas, flavored vodkas and all things Irish. Summer is the time for frozen daiquiris, light beers at baseball games, gin and tonics, margaritas and any drink Jimmy Buffett ever mentioned in a song. And fall? Wine, of course. Preferably near a fire pit surrounded by crunchy leaves, a plate of s’mores and more unopened bottles than there are people.

One day I want to stumble through Napa Valley and drink from dump buckets made of gold. I want to make out in an Italian wine cellar that’s older than the state I live in and ask the French how they stay so skinny while chugging a Bordeaux with my pinky in the air. These dreams are still in the planning stage due to a lack of funding, but I have no doubt I will get to them in due time. At the rate my bank account accrues savings, I’ll be able to travel when I’m about 82. Let’s hope my liver can make the trip.

Until then, I have to make the most of hometown opportunities, and that includes the seasonal trip to Huber’s Winery all the way in Southern Indiana and a stop at the Old 502 Winery on 10th Street.

I’ve written about my annual pilgrimage to Huber’s before — each October/November about 30 of us rent a party bus and head over the bridge to wine and dine in the knobs of Indiana. Wine snobs may scoff at the thought of imbibing local wines, but I say fuck ’em. More Starlight Red for me. The ambiance Huber’s offers is definitely worth the 30-minute drive.

After you do a tasting of eight of 31 wines (for $10), you head to a table outside, order a bottle of your favorite, a cheese tray, a cheese pizza and a pitcher of sangria. You’re surrounded by hundreds of pumpkins, a homemade ice cream parlor, live music, friendly people with quiet children and more Instagram opportunities than you can shake a marshmallow-topped stick at. I would go back every weekend from now until Christmas if I didn’t have to do laundry, watch football or support my local bars.

And speaking of wine and local bars, if you haven’t tried the tasting room at Old 502 Winery, it’s time to put that on your to-drink list. Formerly River Bend Winery, the Old 502 has revamped its image, its ambiance and, best of all, its wine. You’ve probably seen them around town — they’re always dishing out samples at the Douglass Loop Farmers Market or the Flea Off Market. But if you head down to their headquarters (120 S. 10th St.), they’re open most nights until 7 and on Fridays and Saturdays until 8. For $10, you get to sample eight. Cheese trays and snacks are also available.

My favorites on a recent visit were the Reese Ling (a blend of Riesling and Cayuga White), the Bore Dough (a mishmash of Cabernet Franc, Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Chambourcin) and the Bourbon Barrel Red (a blend of Chambourcin, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot aged in used bourbon barrels). And they even gave me a behind-the-scenes tour of the winery but wouldn’t let me smash grapes with my feet — not because I need a pedicure, but because they buy their grapes already in juice form. Oh well.

Check out their website for more info at old502.com, and for directions to Huber’s, go to huberwinery.com.

 

These Were Days
So last weekend I cried at the Natalie Merchant concert, and it wasn’t because I was moved, touched or feeling nostalgic. It was the first time I realized I’m not young. When Natalie took the stage, I was stupidly expecting the fiery brunette from the cover of 1995’s Tigerlily. But she was, um, aged … like a fine wine. Her long brownish-black locks were now silver. She was more into twirling than yelling at us for eating meat. Something just clicked inside me and I realized my ’90s were long gone. She’s old. I’m old. We’re fucking old.

 

Drunk Texts of the Week
• We’re not having abortions, we’re having smores!
• Im a finger in the hole of happiness
• Fuck no I dont want popcorn. Do you know what hell that is to throw up?
• Do all of your panties have a Velcro crotch?

Send your drunk texts to shavens@leoweekly.com. My blog is at barbelle.leoweekly.com. Word.