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Get your drunk on: What to do during life transitions

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This week, life threw a massive curve ball at Creative Loafing Media. Taken over by the NYC-based hedge fund to whom we owed a ton of money, each employee processed the news in a different way: sadness, optimism, relief. Me? I got shit-faced. On great wine. I figured if my family's legacy is going down, I should consume voluminous amounts of quality juice. Fast. However, the questioned remained ... which ones? So many choices, so little time to race and get to the promised land.

Obviously, I needed something high in alcohol. These sorts of wines emerge from hot areas, where the grapes grow fat with sugar and the resulting wine has more punch (sugar converts to alcohol in fermentation). Napa, Sonoma, Barossa Valley (Australia), Washington State (yes, there are areas where it isn't miserably rainy), and a host of other delicious choices for the perfect Zen state of non-thought.

For this life-changing bender, I chose Barossa. And rosé. Turkey Flat Rosé, that is. I found it for $34 by the bottle at Mise en Place, one of my favorite restaurants in Tampa Bay, poured by one of my favorite sommeliers, Dave Madera. You see, it helps to be surrounded by your faves when the universe launches piles of steamy dogpoop at you.

No, I didn't reach for the older vintages in my cellar (aged French Burgundies, Bordeaux, Italian reds), since I wasn't celebrating, simply trying to ease the last 11 months out of my memory. I wanted comfy, casual friends around me in my time of need, not an austere, thought-provoking conversation. Rosé fit my bill -- and Turkey Flat doesn't send me to evil hangover land.

After Dave twisted the screwcap, the soft, fuzzy sensation descended within moments. Sipping wine is like shimmying into a warm, soft sleeping bag on a chilly, open sky night -- the sweet buzz warms you from the feet up. Halfway down the glass, the shoulders relax, the vision gets a bit blurred, and I transition to an intensely mellow, floaty, smiley attitude. My belly warms to the occasion.

I'm at peace.

An Interesting Tidbit...

I'm announcing the beta launch of my new personal Web site, tayloreason.com. Within its wine-soaked Web pages, you'll find archives of all my columns, wine reviews from the last three years (any older than that you probably won't find on the shelves, so why tease?), random trivia, local wine event listings, my Ramblings blog, and plenty more wine stuff like my consulting business. Coming soon: downloadable-to-cell-phone wine reviews so you can take them to the store with you, vinopedia (wine FAQ), and wine travel suggestions. Hell, and anything else I dream up -- it's a process. Check it out! The first five people to register for tayloreason.com win two glasses of personally selected wines on me at their favorite wine bar or restaurant.

Recommended Wines

Turkey Flat 2007 Rosé Barossa Valley (Australia) This refreshing rosé blend made from grenache, shiraz, cabernet sauvignon and dolcetto (an Italian grape) smells like sweet, perfumey fruit. On the tongue, it's soft 'n' elegant, with cranberry, sweet cherry, ripe strawberries and fresh, lively acidity. Quite perfect, really. Perfect for any occasion, even happy ones. Sw= 2. $17 retail. *****.

Tormaresca 2007 Neprica Puglia (Italy) A tasty, unique wine made by the esteemed Antinori family in Puglia, the heel of the boot. It's a blend of unfamiliar grapes negroamaro and primitivo (a cousin of zinfandel) with a strong dose of cabernet sauvignon. One word describes it: robust. Dark fruit like blackberries and plum rub up against earthy leather and bittersweet chocolate. Relatively supple tannins and bright acidity make it a great value food wine. Sw=1. $9. *** 1/2.

Sweetness (Sw) rating: 1-10. Star rating: 1-5. Reach Taylor at taylor.eason@cln.com, on Twitter @tayloreason, and on Facebook.

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