Last week I was thumbing through a wine magazine and took a few minutes to glance over their wine ratings section. The descriptors for some highly rated wines set me to laughing…Steel, Tar, Leather and Stone. Are you kidding? If those are the flavors they impart, why on earth did they bother rating them, forget about drinking them; I do not believe I know anyone that looks forward to a mouthful of stones after a hard day at the office? These are grapes we are talking about right? Kind of makes you wonder where the grapes are grown if the impart the delightfully earthy flavor of tar…perhaps “Big Oil” has finally given up the lobby to drill the Bakken and have taken to viticulture as a more environmentally acceptable form of harvest. Steel, thank you, no! I get enough taste of steel in my mouth on my semi-annual visits to the dentist, and Leather, save it for the S&M set not for my wine glass. Safe to say the wine rags can rate those wines, I’ll pick others.
One more thing about wine reviews; beware the end all be all of any varietal. You’ll read this fabulous description that has you salivating for a sip and at the very bottom of the review lurks the production volume…200 hundred cases. Please, did any wine actually make it out of the Winemakers kitchen? If it did, it was one bottle to Mom, Dad as a 75th anniversary gift and one to the Editor of Wine Spectator Magazine for double sided tip in to last month’s “super spectacular” anniversary edition. Honestly why bother? If you cannot buy it, why talk about it?
That’s enough ranting for today… the wines I will talk about are readily available to everyone at your local wine retailer, are fairly priced and will not impart flavors more appropriate for the dump than the dinner table.
Check these out, they're fabulous!
This is a terrific, easy to find 100% French Chardonnay. Pear and Apricot flavor abound with an underlying touch of Vanilla. It is nicely balanced with a medium finish. It has a Pale golden color with a medium body and mouth feel. For about $17.00 this is a one of the best French Chardonnay’s you will find on the market in this price range. Try it on its own, with lighter poultry, fish or salad. We love this one!
You will have to work hard to find a better $12.00 Pinot on the market than Sean Minor 4 Bears Carneros Pinot Noir. It has big mouth feel, much more to the back of the palate like a Burgundy than the typical fruit forward light Californian Pinots. Smooth with notes of Strawberry and Raspberry and a hint of dark chocolate. The medium finish and a dark Garnet color combined with the fact you can find it everywhere make this an everyday drinker. Think Pork or a Turkey dinner with this one, or throw it in the fridge for 15 minutes and drink it slightly chilled on a hot afternoon. Either way you will not be disappointed.
Life is short, enjoy the wine.