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.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Organic wines have been a matter of some curiousity to the Wineslacker. Organic, not-organic; filtered, unfiltered (non-de-schmutzed), it's an ongoing argument. Let the 'slacker reflect. It makes sense that the unfiltered, organic wine is going to have more bits floating around in it, almost like herbs and spices in a tea, that will add to the complexity, the "terroir", that is, the taste of the place, that comes with the wine. Let's face it, though, some folks just don't like looking through the bottle and seein' schmutz clinging to the sides. Well, those earthy Europeans seem to not be bothered much and they can be religiously attached to the idea of "terroir" defining their favorites. Maybe they have something.

The wine that inspired this brief reflection is another of those Trader Joe's little happy discoveries. Belvedere Winery in Healdsburg, CA, is one those slowly growing number of organic wineries in middle California. We had a few bottles of their lovely Healdsburg Ranches Merlot, 2002, from the 'Trader for the startling price of $7.99. It's a lovely Merlot, with all the pleasant aspects of the grape, a round, plummy, fruit forward mouthful with fair complexity and great compatability with food. The 'slacker gives it a 3 stars of 5 for value. And, we applaud the commitment to organic methods that limit the impact of agriculture in an increasingly crowded landscape. By the way, the 2003 Merlot sells on the winery's
website for $19. It comes complete with schmutz.

Alright, already... I know that Cameron Hughes link was bogus. So here's the real thing for your convenience, . I've gotten ahold of a couple of bottles of Cameron Hughes Lot 16, the 2004 Stags Leap district Cab, and I'll be tasting it this weekend. Review in the offing. If it's anything near the astounding Lot 15, it's some bargain.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

“It is well to remember that there are five reasons for drinking: the arrival of a friend, one's present or future thirst, the excellence of the wine, or any other reason.”

Latin Proverb

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Early this week the Los Angeles Times ran the following headline: "California Is Awash in Wine Bargains". Duh. Now, when there is an over-supply, the time honored tradition of supply and demand dictates that prices drop. As we have noticed, prices on premium labels have not dropped appreciably. Why is this, the 'slacker asks himself? Winemakers ain't dumb. They spent alot of time and money building a label that can command a price of $30, $40, or $100 for 750 ml of fermented grape juice. They don't want that price to be diluted by a temporary glut of wine. What to do when they are sitting on barrels of wine they can't sell? Why some bright kid comes along who'll buy it up (for real cheap), bottle it up, slap a label on it and sell it for what demand will pay. Brilliant.

Now, the bargain hunter can profit by this situation. It just requires the fortitude to taste, taste, taste. The 'slacker is up to the challenge.

As pointed out in the L.A. Times article, such a chap is Cameron Hughes. Mr. Hughes puts together some very distinguished wines, slaps on a classy, if slightly self-promoting label, adapts the clever idea of distinguishing his various cuvees with the term "Lot" and a number and sells this high quality product at the price we should be paying, considering just how much of this stuff is out there, about to be poured into the storm drains of Napa or sold for ethanol.

Cameron Hughes, Lot 15, 2003 Napa Valley Cabernet is $12.99 at Costco. Also available on the
'web. Go to for future releases. The Wineslacker is impressed. He gives Lot 15 high praise indeed. Four stars of Five for excellent quality and high value. A classic Cabernet Sauvignon, juicy, mouth filling fruit, but balanced with sturdy structure and a long interesting finish, layers of currents, blackberry and just a hint of cigar box at the end. If we had paid $30 for this wine, we'd consider it money well spent.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Once, during Prohibition, I was forced to live for days on nothing but food and water. ~W.C. Fields

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

"Another drink and I'll be under the host"
Dorothy Parker

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Sorry for the time away. The Wineslacker has to make a living, regardless of his slacker image, or, in reality (not a word the 'slacker takes lightly) to allow him to continue to slouch along life with the correct 'tude. So, anywhooooo, here's a little gem available at Trader Joes for an almost embarassingly small sum; about $5. Caves des Papes 2004, a Cote du Rhone, is a pretty little wine, layered with the tangy berry flavors of the grenache grape, a beautiful, clear garnet color, in an identifiably squat little bottle. It has an oaky bouquet and a moderate finish. It's slightly more expensive "Heritage" version got an "88" from Wine Spectator recently. For the price, you could drink it weeknights. Every weeknight. The 'slacker gives it three and one half stars of five.