It's a blog for winelovers. It's a blog for slackers. It's the lazy drinker's reference for cheap, high value wines. You know, the bargain wines you just don't know if you should take a chance on; maybe in the supermarket or drug store. If you want advice on grand cru, well, everyone knows where to get that: get yourself one of those slick, expensive mags. This is a blog, man; prices and spellings are the best we can do, but, don't hold us to 'em. Photos are under copyright.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

The wine glut surges again. All to our (the drinkers of the world) gain. Coming soon to; $10 and below, wines you can love without breaking the bank. Once again, the Wineslacker takes on his shoulders the burden of tasting through a bunch of cheap wines to bring joy and good cheer to the flushed cheeks of his faithful readers. Never fear, I am hard at work.

Check out the new, free-standing blog at All this and in a new easy open package. Easier to read, even after a few wines. We'll continue on in both spaces for a while. Drop us a comment at either place on your wine blog dial.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

WHOHHHA, dude! The 'slacker almost made a grande faux pas. He forgot to mention the 4th of July unveiling of Roarin' Rob's first vintage; a fine, intense Temecula Syrah, duly christened Danny's Drool, 2008 (and if you knew Danny, and his tennis balls, you'd understand). We touch our Spiegelau's over the no longer virgin oak barrel which disgorged it, and hail a new vigneron in Palos Verdes. Long may he ferment and vinify.

Gigondas was the home of wine making before the time of Jesus. In fact, according to Wikipedia, the name comes from a Latin term meaning a place for Roman soldiers to stop at for a good time. Vacqueyras is a commune between Gigondas and the village of Sablet. These happy spots lie in Southeastern France, in the Southern Rhone Valley. They are known for their intense red wines. The days are HOT and the nights cool and the weather and rocky soil push the Grenache grape to an intense ripeness. The wines that result are related to the intense and much prized Chateauneuf-du-Pape, the wine of the Avignon Popes.

Trader Joe's has managed to corral a winery (Du Peloux, 2007,) from these ancient yet little known (in the New World) AOC's to produce some rather lovely juice for their clientele at a lovely little price. The Wineslacker was leery. He has tried Trader Joe's proprietary labels many times and has been not so impressed, mostly. He has to say, though, that these two newcomers are a very, very nice surprise. Bold, intense but balanced, they are as advertised, fine examples of the wines of the region. Priced at $11.99 and $13.99, they will draw the admiration of the Summer grilling crowd now, and carry your reputation as a wine snob far into the Winter months. Look in the French wine section, the bottles have their crests moulded into the glass

And while you're contemplating barbecue reds, here's another winner from the Trader. He's got a nifty little Italian job that's been sliding under the 'slacker's radar for a while. At $5.99 a bottle, you cannot fail to pat your sweet self on the back if you can stash away a case of this La Dolce Vino. It's called "Trentatre", or 33, Rosso (Red) 2007, and, according to the label, it's 1/3 Cabernet, 1/3 Merlot, and 1/3 Montepulciano. We don't know much more than this, but, it appears that you'll only find it at T.J.'s and, for the price, it is eminently quaffable. Plus, the label is black on black; tre chic. Jump on it, this one's been out for a while. We saw it reviewed in the SFweekly, from back in April.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Interesting Pinot from Facet Cellars at Trader Joe's recently. 2006 North Coast . The label doesn't say where the grapes are from but it's a typical cool climate Pinot. Lighter in color, less intense, less fruity and a nice change from some overpowering, blast in the pie hole, warm climate Pinots. 13% alcohol. Open it early and decant if you can. This needs a little breathing time, but it becomes quite pleasant and it's a great price. If the faulty, slightly moldy memory holds, without looking at the register tape, it was $8.99. Brings back fond memories of Mendocino Pinot, from Navarro. Not the same, but not the price either. Bottled in St. Helena.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Sunday, May 10, 2009

A bit of a retraction is due here...

The 'slacker and sophisticated dinner companion revisited Cost Plus, World Market today and the 'slacker has to admit, the wine department was revitalized, at least at the local branch. Fresh displays and a very nice selection of world wines, focused on coming Summer and keeping the cost down for entertaining, if not for collecting.

We picked up at least three promising rose's, from Pic St. Loup, Coteaux Du Languedoc; from Costieres de Nimes, Rhone Valley; and one of our yearly faves for patio time, Parallele 45 Rose', Cote du Rhone, a consistant winner at $11.99, as well as one of the tastiest dessert wines from Australia, Innocent Bystander Moscato, from Victoria, a Wineslacker pick for a meager $8.99. We also could not resist a bottle of Las Rocas, Garnacha, 2005, from Calatayud, Espana, for $8.99 and the well received Cab from Chateau Ste. Michelle, Indian Wells, 2006, for $15.99.

Welcome back, World Market!

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Saturday, May 09, 2009

New Wines:
Ahnfeldt Napa Valley Cabernet, 2003. From L.A. Wine Company (the one in Indian Wells, CA) Big, complex Cab with a touch of merlot, for the modest sum of $19.95, bravo! Definitely in the winner's circle. The 'slacker bought it last year in the Desert and held off drinking it as long as he could.

And 5 Mile Bridge, Margarita Vinyard Syrah, 2006, Whole Foods (now carrying a line of 5 Mile Bridge wines at big sale prices). Tasty, velvety Syrah from what is the Syrah capital of California, Paso Robles. $8.99!!! Get some without delay!

From Costco: and for the adventurous, Couly-Dutheil, La Baronnie Madeleine Chinon, a red from the Loire Valley, 2004, Cabernet Franc, full of a savory, earthy flavor, and a true taste of the place. We think it was about $15. Expand your palate!

Wineslacker has noticed that his old faithful Trader Joes and Cost Plus World Market seems to be moving away from the adventurous, the high value, bargain wines that must be sought out and into the standard brands. Those wines from the big wholesalers with familiar labels and good price points. And, the Trader is still selling case after case of that two buck stuff, as well as pushing their own label. OK for the masses; but boring for the curious and the edge drinkers.

Whole foods and Gelson's are fairly plentiful, at least in Southern Cal., and still actively seeking well priced small maker labels and high value overruns. Costco, the biggest wine seller in the country, is still bringing in excellent selections and great prices. Of course, we applaud those who support their neighborhood, one store wine specialist, especially in today's dreary economy. Have a spectacular glass of wine to take the edge off thinking about your 401K.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

To my hard drinking friends; the Wineslacker is still at work. Never resting in his drive to sample the world's cheap wines. He's expecting a new mpeg4 camera soon and hopes to share video of actual consenting adults, doing their utmost to contribute to the international economy by purchasing and drinking large quantities of plonk, regardless of the much talked about, alleged recession.

A big shout out (OK, a mild plug) to Off the Vine; a tiny, if truly friendly and attractive new wine shop in San Pedro, California, just across from the Warner Grand; one of the beautiful, newly restored movie palaces in Southern California, on Sixth Street in Downtown San Pedro.

The 'Slacker recommends you try the highly drinkable everyday wines from Spain, to stock up your daily casual rack. Recently, from Off the Vine... Alabanz Crianza 2002, from Rioja; about $9, and (OK, the name's a little off-putting) Wrongo Dongo, 2006, from Jumilla, Espana; about $10 and TR1, 2004, from Toro; also about $9. Great, slightly oaky, peppery everyday drinkers that are so handy to have for yourself and your family for pasta dinners, barbecue on the patio, or a hearty stew on cold winter nights. You might not always want to open a $30-$40 bottle for those everyday occasions.

Also, an old friend from France is back; Chateau Segonzac, Cru Bourgeois, 2006, is a great bordeaux buy. We got it at BevMo, with the club card, for about $14. YES, a drinkable bordeaux red for $14. Fantastique!

We leave you with a recently spotted bumper sticker: "Drink, Don't Drive".