REMEMBER WHEN $15.99 seemed like a lot
of money to pay for a bottle of wine?
What? You think it still
does? Boy are you out of it...but you're right. You
shouldn't have to pay $50 for wine that will make both you and your
dinner guests happy.
So don't! Instead, come
to this page for my continually updated list of "Better than
Bargain" wines. Stuff you'll look forward to opening and won't be
ashamed to serve. Not just "good for the money," but good, period.
WHAT IS IT? *+2002
Chaddsford Winery Cabernet/Chambourcin (Pennsylvania). Served
blind, this wine snookers the table. Contains both Cabernet Franc
and Cab Sauvignon, I believe -- and they work weirdly well with the
Chambourcin. Violet aromas followed by sweet strawberries. Finishes
well. Beautifully made and compares well to its Loire rivals. Just
$14.99 at the winery, this wine's a bargain.
CHEAP THRILLS (October
26, 2003) Yes, I've been shamefully neglecting the money-saving side, but
help's on the way! As I continue to taste well-priced 2000 Bordeaux,
there's no shortage of cheap thrills. Shop sharp and $15.99 or less can
buy you either of these two beauties:
*+2000 Cheateau Beau-Site (St. Estephe)
seemed a little stern -- mostly earth and lead pencil, with tannins on
the finish. Then I forgot about it for two days, hauled it out of the
fridge -- et voila! Beautiful blackcurrant flavors, with no trace of
oxidation. Cellar this sweetheart for one or two years, or decant an
hour before dinner.
*2000 Chateau Vieux Robin "Bois de
Lunier" (Medoc) requires no such patience. Coffee bean scents
precede a gush of blackberry and cassis. Drink now and over the next few
years. Case buy time!
BORDEAUX! (April 3, 2003) Drink as your
conscience dictates, but are you really going to give up French wine
forever? Right now, there's an ocean of delicious 2000 Bordeaux
flowing into local shops, and some of it's wonderfully inexpensive.
In a week or two, you may wish you had snapped up:
*2000 Le Doyenne. Plush and
cuddly, caressing you with sweet cherries and blackcurrants. Drank
it over two days, and the good stuff didn't fade overnight.
Nothing complicated here -- and it's not a cellar candidate -- but
who's going to quibble at a mere $10 a bottle?
Marjosse is a tad more structured, but
rewards a little swirling with even more depth and a longer
finish. This one's selling locally for about $10.99. Show me a Cab
from anywhere else that delivers more ooh-la-la for less money.
(January 4, 2003) Tasting the marvelous **++2001 Marquis Philips
Sarah's Blend, I remember the fun we had ten years ago, when
terrific California Cabs could be had for under $20. This wizardly
weird blend from Oz marries Shiraz, Cab and Merlot. I normally snub
such mongrels, but this one jumps in your lap and licks your face
before you can wrinkle your nose. Thick, juicy, blackberry scented,
it finishes extremely well. At a mere $15, it's the best red wine
value I've tasted in months -- maybe a lot longer.
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