Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0
Christian

Wine

245 posts in this topic

A few days ago, while waiting for my car to be serviced, I picked up the December issue of Knoxville magazine and jotted down a few of their wine recommendations. They'd asked a local sommelier to list his top picks for traditional Christmas meals. I only noted the bottles in the $10-$15 range.

- 2004 Grabather Henigberg Reisling

- 2002 14 Hands Washington State Merlot

- 2003 Sebastiani Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

- 2004 Alamos Mendoza Chardonnay

- 2004 Mark West Central Coast Pinot Noir

- 2003 14 Hands Washington Cabernet Sauvignon

- 2003 Avalon Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

- 2003 Fifth Leg Western Australia Cabernet Blend

On the way home I picked up the Chardonnay, the Mark West Pinot Noir, and the Avalon Cabernet Sauvignon. If the rest of the bottles are as good as the Cab, I'll be referring to this list often. I'd never heard of Avalon, but this might become my standard dinner wine. Really nice.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Right now, I tend to know a lot more about California wines than other regions, largely due to our proximity to Napa and Sonoma.

But we really enjoy the Fifth Leg you mentioned, Darren. I have no idea if Cost Plus World Market has any presence in KY, but I've seen them offer it below $10, I think.

A California wine that I really like in that price range is Bogle's Old Vine Zinfandel. Bogle is in Clarksburg, along the Sacramento River. We haven't tried the 2004 yet, but the 2001 and 2003 were both really enjoyable.

I'll have to keep my eyes open for the Avalon. That's a new brand to me, too.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
A California wine that I really like in that price range is Bogle's Old Vine Zinfandel. Bogle is in Clarksburg, along the Sacramento River. We haven't tried the 2004 yet, but the 2001 and 2003 were both really enjoyable.

Oh yeah. I've never gone wrong with Bogle.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Unfortunately, in Tennessee wine and liquor can only be sold in stand-alone liquor stores, so we'll likely never see a Trader Joe's or a Cost Plus World Market.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What about buying liquor over the internet? I haven't looked, but I don't see why you couldn't get it online. Everything else is being sold online, anyway.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, last year the Supreme Court made it easier but there are still lots of ways states have some control over the process. For a state like Tenn with very little wine industry, and probably no laws favoring Tenn. wine, the state can do about what it wants.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Unfortunately, in Tennessee wine and liquor can only be sold in stand-alone liquor stores, so we'll likely never see a Trader Joe's or a Cost Plus World Market.

Hey, man. That's what Asheville is for. They only lock the liquor up in the ABC store (and even that sometimes has stuff I'd not seen before). Andrew and I have found interesting varieties of beer and wine in and around the town.

As for internet sales, shipping will not be cheap. I don't know about California wineries, but I've noticed that prices at the wineries themselves in the Leelenau Peninsula Wine Trail are not too much cheaper than the same product in a wineshop downstate. The weight alone would add some considerable cost to the price if shipped direct. That is my only concern about direct purchase.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes, buying at a winery can be costy. They don't want to undercut their distributers and the stores that sell there stuff. It's kinda like a car -- wineries charge the MSRP. However, if you join a club or buy by the case, you'll likely get a significant discount. But you also have to pay for UPS, which will eat up some of that discount.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am in every sense of the word A Wine Wuss! So I was thrilled to recently come across a wine I love. Moscatel Allegreo. It's very sweet. But man it's perfect after a long day.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That reminds me. Remember the Napa Creek Cab and Merlot at Trader Joe's last year? I wonder if a bumper crop will mean that this Franzia guy will buy up excess juice and blend away in order to make a few one off '05 labels again that will be good as well as cheap....

I am in every sense of the word A Wine Wuss! So I was thrilled to recently come across a wine I love. Moscatel Allegreo. It's very sweet. But man it's perfect after a long day.

Well. take baby steps then. We must get you off of Muscatel. Before you know it, if you are a little short in the budget, you'll try Wild Irish Rose' or Thunderbird. Dan, you are vearing close to wino territory here.

For Valentines Day, bring home a bottle of Spanish Cava (sparkling wine) that is not "Brut", but "Demi-Sec", or semi sweet. You might like it. Freixenet makes a good one, but almost any Spanish maker will do. Everybody is making good, affordable sparkling wine over there right now.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Dan, you also might want to try a Riesling or Gew

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I've had a good riesling and a bad one. I'm so cautious to go off what works. I hate 12-18 dollar experiements that fail.

Neither of us gave you $12 to $18 suggestions! I hate those too. Most American Rieslings say if they are dry. A German Piesporter will also be less dry. I've never had a dry one. When in doubt, ask for help. If there is a guy on the floor with a feather duster, he is usually from the distributor and he'll help too.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Dan, on Rieslings and Gewertz you may want to limit yourself to those that show an RS on the label. Sadly, not many do any more. .5 RS (residual sugar) is the boundry for tasting sweetness, anything less than that will be very dry (i.e., you won't notice any sweetness. About 1.0, you're still off-dry. If you can find one 2 or more, you'll probably be happy. Late harvests may get up into the double figures, but then you lose the cheap part of the equation because it is dessert wine. Without an RS, you might be able to approximate by comparing alcohol %age (required to be on labels) The higher the alcohol, the more likely it will be dry, since the alcohol is created by the conversion of sugar. If you stop the firmentation process early, it makes the wine sweeter and lower alcohol. But this is not as reliable as finding an RS.

Also, talk you your wine merchant. They love to sell you wine, and if they can find the stuff you like, you'll be back.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Good tips. (especially the residual sugar count). Didn't know about that. We found the one we love now trhough a waiter at an upscale restaurant. The bottles are $14 a pop and well worth it.

Oh and a quick correction, the wine we've found it Muscato Allegro by Martin & Weyrich.

Edited by DanBuck

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Will Zin become Calif. state wine?

I like Zin a lot (not that abomination called White Zin - real red, berries and pepper Zin.) But I really don't think California has any business picking a varietal for special recognition.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't know squat about wine, except what some attorney I sat next to on an airplane once told me, but the wife and I picked this Louis Latour Vin de Pays up at World Market for V-day, and dang, was it tasty!

Crisp, with a peppery aftertaste, I may have to go back and buy some more. :moped:

Edit(Another review of this one.)

Edited by Buckeye Jones

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

At Cost Plus yesterday I saw an interesting marketing of three Zins from Alexander Valley Winery. It is a weekend pack, with Temptation, Sin Zin, and Redemption Zin. Each is a different style and from different areas. Have no idea how they taste. The three bottle set ran $40.

Dan: while I was there, I also saw a Houge riesling that had the RS listed as 4.5. If you can find it, that may be sweet enough for you. This is another we didn't buy, because we rarely drink anything that sweet (although a good chinese meal might go well with it.)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Here's one that we actually bought at Cost Plus this weekend. From Folie a Deux winery - Menage a Trois Red (blend of Zin, Merlot and Cab). $8 -- good fruit, mostly cherries, but with the blackberry and pepper of the Zin underneath. A very good buy. They also make a white (Muscato, Chard and Chenin Blanc) and a rose (actually a blend of red and whites rather than a pure rose.) We didn't buy the pink (not our kind of wine) and have the white chilling to try soon.

Note: they want $12 for this from their webpage. At $8 it's a good buy. At $12 it's a decent buy.

Edited by Darrel Manson

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Update. Had the Menage a trois white tonight. Very dry. My wife thought it was OK, but I thought is was too acidic/astringent. Not nearly as well done as the red. Edited by Darrel Manson

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
A California wine that I really like in that price range is Bogle's Old Vine Zinfandel. Bogle is in Clarksburg, along the Sacramento River. We haven't tried the 2004 yet, but the 2001 and 2003 were both really enjoyable.

Oh yeah. I've never gone wrong with Bogle.

Well, had a Bogle Sauv. Blanc last night that I gave a B- (and included points for low price.) Not enough fruit. You could taste the alcohol. Even at about $7, won't be getting it again.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We discovered a classic the other night while celebrating (i.e. splurging) at a local Italian place. King Estate Signature Pinot Noir. It turns out that the vineyard is just a short drive from my old home in Eugene. The wine has everything I love about pinot noirs. It's fruity (but not too fruity), with lots of darker flavours like plum and cherry. It's a bit spicy, and has long and velvety smooth finish. We paid quite a bit more than we're used to (MSRP $22), but it was vastly better than anything we've found in the $10 range. I hope this isn't becoming another expensive habit... :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I hope this isn't becoming another expensive habit... :)

Kinda the reason I've been slow to break into the bottle of Chateau Haut Brion that I was given. It probably cost close to $100 when purchased, and if you could find it now would likely be a good deal more. I'd hate for it to be so good I'd have to have another bottle.

Expensive is relative.

We are always happy to find sub$10 wines, but I expect most of the time we drink $12-17 stuff. For a really good meal (which my wife does well) we'll pop open a $25-35 wine. Most that we have pricier than that, we'll take someplace and pay corkage.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Joanna and I are members of our community gourmet club, and we just learned that next month's dinner is going to be a wine tasting. The host is a retired attorney who now works at one of the best-stocked liquor stores in town. I think we're required to bring an appetizer and $20. Everything else will be provided.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0