When I was running two wine and spirits agencies and drinking a great deal of high end wine, I became quite the snob. In my day-to-day life, drinking an entry level wine just would not cut it. I was used to eating and drinking the best of the best all year round… In a way, every day was New Year’s Eve.

When offered a glass of ordinary wine, I would politely drink it. I do have manners! But I could not enjoy it.

When my children were born I stayed home to raise them and my husband did all the outside work. We were poor. Even the Canadian Child Tax Benefit was against us. Our neighbours down the street received almost double the amount we did per child because they both worked (?). Alas, my poor palate changed.

We began to make our own wine. Zinfandel. We de-stemmed and left the wine to ferment longer than was advisable. We added vitamins and even got advice from Michel Chapoutier on how to make such a small quantity better. Eventually, I liked it. Let’s face it. It was better than not drinking wine at all!

During those very lean years, any bottle of commercial wine tasted good to me. As long as it was in a bottle I could enjoy it.

These days I’m somewhere in between. I constantly search for great wines in all the price categories but am especially pleased when I find something cheap and good.

Seeing as how the festive season is coming to a close, I was recently looking to buy a very cheap bottle of wine. I was delighted to find a bottle in my corner liquor store under $13 bearing the name of one of my old suppliers, Masi.

On my first visit to Vinitaly, Sandro Boscaini, the owner of Masi, really took me under his wing and made sure I got the most out of the experience. He made his agent available to me and introduced me to all the best suppliers he knew. So I have a great deal of love for anything Masi.

The wine I found was Masi Modello delle Venezie 2012. It’s a blend of classic Venetian varietals, mainly Refosco and Raboso. Literally ‘the fashion of the Veneto’, this is what I got:

Clear, pretty mid ruby hue. Floral, slightly stemmy nose with notes of anise, peony and vanilla. Splashy fresh attack, nutty and fruity with a bright, even acidity and a very easy finish. Super everyday wine. I know it’s late but I get a very pleasant aftertaste of Capn Crunch which I love! Lovely and fun. $

So my strained holiday finances were still able to provide a perfectly fine bottle of wine. (Thanks to my old friends in the biz!)

I’m grateful now to be able to enjoy all sorts of wine in every price category. While I do appreciate those years of living high on the hog, I am truly thankful that I’m able to appreciate the full spectrum of oenological possibility now.

Wishing everyone a year of continually opening doors to joy, perception and appreciation.

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