A while ago, I told you that I sometimes pick wine based on the graphic artistry that goes into the label. My theory is that the better designs usually herald a fairly sophisticated product (although a few of the best whites I've ever had hide behind some pretty cheeseball illustrations). The same goes for the names the manufacturers tease us with, and there, I'm not so lucky. I once took out a second mortgage for a case of Riesling on the strength of its handle—“Sex in a Bottle.” The stuff was about as sexy as a Popsicle stick, and I wound up foreclosing anyway.
But since I'm the greatest theater editor in the history of the universe, I thought it couldn't hurt to defer to “Grand Theatre,” a 2008 Bordeaux I ran into the other day. Not only does the name work for me—what's inside the bottle isn't half shabby, either. This entry, from Reunis Les Leves out of Gironde, France, is half Merlot and half Cabernet, perfect for those who favor the drier side of life. It's got a typically heavy lift to it, meaning it'll make a perfect complement to that slab of steak and Worcestershire you're about to suck down. And there's something about white grapes that brings out the flavor of both—the acid from the fruit kicks up the aftertastes, leaving you satisfied long after the meal is history (which with your appetite is about five minutes from now).
“Grand Theatre” sports a drawing of an old-style European performance hall, which in and of itself isn't that great. But the price—around $8 most places ($7.49 for a while at Ocean Beach's Olive Tree market)—makes up for a lot of things. Besides its solid taste and staying power, it costs about a quarter of a ticket to a play. And these days, anything that saves you that kind of scratch is pretty grand.