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Los Alamos, I said in my head, in the voice of Antonio Banderas. Tomero. Wandering the wine section of my local liquor store, I tarried among the South American reds. Antonio was really starting to sell me on the Punto Final.

I select wine on the basis of three factors. First and foremost, the attractiveness of the label—it should be very attractive. A close second is the variety of grape—anything red, really, because coffee stains aren’t enough—and third, perhaps most importantly, is price—twelve dollars and under. This last point has been a rule since I could drink legally, an Americanized holdover from my time in Germany, where I was told to pay “at least three Euro for a red, at least five Euro for a white, and no more than two Euro for a blush.” In America, I pay at least eight for a red, at least ten for a white, and won’t drink blush even if it’s free.

In the case of wines that I will drink, the differences between an eight-dollar bottle and a twelve-dollar bottle are remarkable—both to the wine connoisseur and the twenty-something, for whom four dollars is a calculable percentage of his net worth.
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