Do you remember when you were very small, so small you needed a boost to see over store counters, and your dad would take you shopping for your mom’s Christmas present? I do. Yes, I remember. You were so small, dude.
No, wait. Starting over.
Back then, you didn’t know what grownups liked, except each other and Elvis, but you never got this present-buying thing wrong. Because you always, always bought her the assorted chocolates in the fancy box, just like every other kid in North America, and she pretended to like it, just like every mom, but in fact she liked it because it was actually really tasty even though it was mass-produced, and great for sharing even though all her other friends got the same assortment.
This wine. This wine has the exact same aroma as that milk chocolate assortment. They say that scent is linked to memory, so Shameless Hussy Merlot is to me what Madeleines are to Proust.
It comes from Hard Row to Hoe vineyards in Washington, where it is grown on land that used to belong to a brothel. Just a little tip(ple) from the wrong side of the tracks.
Beyond the aroma, it has many other seductive qualities including a body that just won’t quit, an easy approach, and a lingering aftertaste. Unlike most shameless hussies, this one is too well-bred to leave you hating yourself the next morning. It is densely flavoured with jam, espresso, and, yes, milk chocolate notes, and the aftertaste just gets bigger and bigger as time goes on, enveloping your head in a glorious, velvety fogbank of pleasure. Lest you think it entirely decadent, note that it is vegan, although by no means as strident as most of them at the dinner table.
I’m sure, if she were still around, that my mother would heartily approve of me bringing this Shameless Hussy home for Christmas. Provided I brought enough to share, that is.
Big thanks to Sandra Oldfield of Tinhorn Creek Winery, who foolishly stocked it in the wine cellar before letting me house-sit for two weeks.