For the weekend, sir: The cash-strapped wine snob recommends...

I've learned two important wine-tasting lessons in recent weeks:

1. If you find a wine you really like at BevMo's 5-cent sale, get as much of it as you can (ill) afford. I was stoked to find that my local BevMo was offering the 2006 Tapiz Malbec as a selection in its "buy one bottle, get a second for 5 cents" sale. I first bought this Chilean wine, which normally sells for $15.99 a bottle at BevMo, on impulse and was more than happy with how it paired with my impromptu picnic of hard cheese, pears and crusty whole-grain bread. The Fincas Patagónicas winery, which considers the malbec its signature wine, suggests pairing it with Chile's national dish, asado, and has even posted a recipe for same on its website.

Sadly, I never got to try this pairing with the pair of bottles I procured from BevMo. One went to a friend as a thank-you gift, the other to a party where it was quickly consumed by other people, who damn well better have appreciated it. I went back to my local BevMo to restock, but it they were sold out. (The 5-cent sale ends April 20, and there are some pretty good dregs left, so stock up fast.)

A corollary to this lesson: If you want to ensure that you get a taste of the bottle you brought to the party, open it yourself and take the first swig--etiquette be damned.


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