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.

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Drifting into one of his favorite wine stores after an appointment with his beach city dentist, Dr. F. Eel Gooder, the Wineslacker was slightly dazed already. Opening the door to this luscious selection of wines from all over the world was like a whif of laughing gas and the slacker held that he could not be held responsible for his purchases. Wine Country in Long Beach has a wide selection from all over the world of wine, including one of the strongest selections of Burgundy in the area. The owner, Randy Kemner, , puts out a comprehensive monthly newsletter with a complete catalogue. Fortunately for the Slacker, the place is full of knowledgeable staff with plenty of recommendations. One great recommendation was a Slacker No-Brainer.

Ten Mile Field Blend Red 2004 is the product of one of the Slacker's favorite producers, the fabulous Nine North Group. Nine North also produces a great Syrah, Seven Sinners, which we humbly recommend.

Ten Mile Red is a blend of Petite Syrah, Zinfandel, Barbera, Malbec and Carignane (don't ask me how you say it!) and it's just damn delicious (not tasted under the influence of laughing gas). Not only that, Randy had it for $10.99. Right in the Wineslacker's favorite price range. Cheep.

2004 Ten Mile "The Broken Road" Four Stars from the Slacker, for quality and value.

Monday, September 25, 2006

"It is inaccurate to say that I hate everything. I am strongly in favor of common sense, common honesty, and common decency. This makes me forever ineligible for public office." -- H. L. Mencken

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

A trip to Cost + or WorldMarket as they like to be known now, is usually profitable, even though the stock is smallish in the world of big box stores and BevMo. In spite of a relatively small number of total bottles, the selection is wide and intelligently planned. Their wine managers are familiar with their stock and they have a regular display of recommendations. Their prices are very competitive. Yet, they have a wide range of price points. You can spend over $100 a bottle, if you must. They stock premium dessert wines, sparkling wines in a range of prices and a good selection of microbrews. Wineslacker found a favorite chenin blanc there first, Ballentine Vineyards Lake County, and a new prize, Los Vascos Cabernet Sauvignon, Colchagua, a Chilean Cab vinified by Domaines Barons De Rothschild (Lafite); not an unknown name in wine. We bought the 2004 vintage for the unbelievable price of $6.99 and found it a very enjoyable, fruit forward example of the grape, with enough tannins to have some structure, but very drinkable. Interestingly, the Caneten Valley in Colchagua Province provides a perfect environment for un-grafted Bordeaux root stock, untouched by the plague of phylloxera.

Alerted to this luscious find by some drunken wine-fiend friend or another, we had earlier found the Reserve version of this label at Wild Oats for $16.99 - yet to be opened, but, how long can one wait? Drink the $6.99 version today and put aside the Reserve for a couple of years and see.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

OK. After a glass and a half of Chateau Segonzak and an evening of listening to endless, and mostly meaningless discussion of the events of, and after, September 11th, 2001, the following - very obvious thought - occurred to me. The world is not different after September 11th, it's just not the place some people thought it was. And there are a lot of people who have profited from promulgating the idea that there was some elemental change, when there was not. It's my blog, Dude.

Chateau Segonzac, Cru Bourgeois, Premieres Cotes De Blaye (the right side of the Gironde), Bordeaux. A victim of the European wine lake. It was a buy at $13.99 at BevMo (Beverages and More) and I found 6 more bottles a few weeks later on close out at $5.99. Sometimes, ya just luck out. Also, right bank Bordeauxes get less attention than the more aristocratic Left Bankers. Another, even better Premieres Cotes De Blaye product, Chateaux Gigault. My first bottle, v. 2001, was a pittance, $10.99. 2003, the current release, is now up to $21, when and where you can find it. Well worth the hunt.

Chateau Segonzac, 2003, Wineslacker gives 3 stars of 5.
Chateau Gigault, 2001, 4 stars of 5.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Wine is plentiful this year. Which is, to anyone paying attention, no big news. The "Wine Glut" in Europe is so big that wine producing countries such as France, Italy and Germany are turning wine into fuel additives. This is what European trades, such as are saying:

"Prices for both quality Appellation d'Origine Controlée (AOC) wines and lower-end table wines have generally struggled to recover from a collapse in 2005. And this year's wine harvest is expected to yield the same as last year, around 53m hectolitres (5.3bn litres), according to government wine agency Viniflhor. The news will bring grimaces in Brussels, where the European Commission is pondering how to drain Europe's 1.5bn-litre wine lake.
To make matters worse, the wine glut has spread to the New World this year too, casting a cloud over the global wine industry. Australian wineries have seen prices tumble over the last few months, and some lower-end wines have become cheaper than bottled water. "

The effect of such an over abundance is, at least short term, a boon to the slacker. We entered our neighborhood Ralphs recently, and were taken aback [I say aback!] by the islands of well known, mid-price wines like Clos du Bois, spread around the store. Further, venturing into the wine section, that used to be dominated by Gallo and huge jugs of red, white and pink wines, we now find some of the best grape juice offered anywhere, from everywhere, including Bordeaux and Tuscany. Much of which is available at steep discount, if you have one of those ubiquitous plastic key chain tags from Ralphs marketing department.

During a long search for the best price on Jordan Cab. 2002, Alexander Valley, for my friend, Mark, we had seen prices as high as +$50 a bottle. We were able to corral Jordan for Mark at Ralphs for $41.99 PLUS a 10% discount for 6 bottles or more for a bargain price of just less than $246.00 for%