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, November 26, 2006

Some wonderful wine quotes, purloined from The Wrath of Grapes, a long lived and disheveled web site emanating from Ireland. Who, but the Irish, could put together so many gleeful words about wine, or for that matter, anything.

"When I find someone I respect writing about an edgy, nervous wine that dithered in the glass, I cringe. When I hear someone I don't respect talking about an austere, unforgiving wine, I turn a bit austere and unforgiving myself. When I come across stuff like that and remember about the figs and bananas, I want to snigger uneasily. You can call a wine red, and dry, and strong, and pleasant. After that, watch out..."
Kingsley Amis, Everyday Drinking

"I can certainly see that you know your wine. Most of the guests who stay here wouldn't know the difference between Bordeaux and Claret."
John Cleese (Basil Fawlty) Fawlty Towers

"A German wine label is one of the things life's too short for, a daunting testimony to that peculiar nation's love of detail and organization."
Kingsley Amis Everyday Drinking

Thursday, November 23, 2006

In case anyone's wondering (or even reading this... HELLO), the 'slacker is taking Pinot Grigio, or maybe Reisling, and Pinot Noir along to Thanksgiving dinner. Yes, someone takes a chance on the Wineslacker and asks him to dinner (they know he will bring wine). And for those who missed it in the earlier posts, Cameron Hughes wines are available, if you get there early, at Costco - the largest wine retailer in the country! It's also available directly from Cameron Hughes on the internet.

Happy Thanksgiving. You know, I am grateful.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Wines of Eastern Europe are still little known here in the States, but as the palate of Americans becomes inevitably more sophisticated, the American collector will begin to reach for more and more exotic libations. The best known Eastern European wines must be the famous, and justifiably so, Tokaji. Golden, heavy, rich beyond imagination, Hungarian Tokajis are in the same stratospheric plane as the great Sauternes. Rare and long lived, the best Tokajis (the Eszencia, made from the juice of grapes squeezed only by the weight of other grapes) are legendary and incredibly expensive. These are the jewels of Eastern European wines. But, Eastern Europe, including Croatia, Slovenia and Hungary produce dry, white wines of considerable merit.

Jamal Rayyis, writing in the Food & Wine Wine Guide, 2006, recommends dry whites from Furmint, in Hungary and Croacian Posip. Good luck finding those. The Wineslacker was induced to try a beginner's choice from Trader Joe, Woodsman's White, 2005, from the Neszmely region of Hungary, made from the familiar Cserszegi Fuszeres grape. Not familiar to you? The self-deprecating label calls it, "the unpronounceable". It describes it as a cross between Gewurztraminer and Irsai Oliver (which we never heard of either). For $3.99, we had nothing to lose. Well, the Wineslacker and sophisticated dinner companion, were bowled over. With the gingerly grilled and politically incorrect swordfish, mini-gold potatoes, grilled with garlic and grilled asparagus, out was poured this florally perfumed, tangy, minerally, long lasting gem. As good as it was with the incomparable Pacific Swordfish, one could imagine it beside oysters half shell, pan-fried Trout, or the buttery, San Pedro delicacy, Sand Dabs. Just shows, ya gotta take a chance, once in a while. And, for $3.99, ya ain't takin' much of a chance. Ooh, that makes a 'slacker happy. Just because you spent less than a fiver on your wine, doesn't mean you can't drink it with that $14 a pound seafood. Jus' don't frickin' tell anybody.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Cameron Hughes Lot 17 2004 Sierra Foothills Barbera. Barbera is an Italian variety, very commonly planted in Italy. This is grown in California, at 2500 feet, full of the very rich flavor of black currants, sweet berries and black tea, with sturdy tannins, and a long enjoyable finish. Clear, with a slightly purple cast to deep garnet color, because it's still a young wine. Only available through the internet sales @ $14 per bottle. Less than 300 cases left. A Great buy. Although some barberas are known as lighter body wines and in Piedmont some barberas are made in a blanc, frizzante (slightly fizzy) style, this is a full bodied, structured wine with a little more body than a pinot and just less than a Cabernet; still a big wine with over 14% alcohol.

The 'slacker comes through with his promise to share his impressions of the Stag's Leap District 2004 Cabernet, Lot 16. This is a different wine entirely from the exhuberent Lot 15. At first, you might be just a little disappointed. But, hang in there. This beautiful wine will grow on you. Let it breath a little. Swirl it in a big glass and stick your nose in there. It's slightly buttery and plummy, in the nose, with a hint of cedar. The color is a warm ruby. On the tongue you taste black currents, silky smooth tannins, unsweetened dark chocolate and sour cherries. After a long, delicious finish you may catch just a hint of herb; sage maybe? This is a fabulous wine. Big, but sophisticated and elegant.

The 'slacker takes his hat off to Mr. Hughes. May I have some more, Sir? Cameron Hughes has hit a grand slam. Lot 15, an explosive, slightly rustic juice bomb, as Parker might say; Lot 16, Dark, silky, sophisticated; Lot 17, enjoyable, accessable, a really serious alternative to the Cabernet/Zinfandel routine. All way under $20, for us joes and josephines with collars of blue to enjoy with the Republicans.

Lot 15, 4 of 5 stars possible. [see the October 19th post for review of Lot 15]
Lot 16, 4.5 of 5 stars for exceptional value and quality.
Lot 17, 4 of 5 stars possible.

You cannot go wrong with any of the three. Period. But, you could pay a lot, lot more.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Champagne, if you are seeking the truth, is better than a lie detector. It encourages a man to be expansive, even reckless, while lie detectors are only a challenge to tell lies successfully. ~Graham Greene

Wine is sunlight, held together by water. ~Galileo

"Not everyone who drinks is a poet. Some of us drink because we're not poets."
Dudley Moore

"I drank to drown my pain, but the damned pain learned how to swim, and now I am overwhelmed by this decent and good behavior."
Frida Kahlo

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Technorati Profile

This Saturday the Wineslacker and lady feasted on Chinese and quaffed a rich, fruity and cheap Sauvignon Blanc from low priced but quality minded Pope Valley Winery in Rutherford, Ca. Now, Pope Valley claims to have been around long enough to have sold hooch to Al Capone. Maybe. But, if they did, he must have gotten the best end of the deal. The 'slacker has to say that Pope Valley puts out some high quality, low price good stuff. Their Zinfandel is fabulous, their Cabernet Sauvignon was a steal, and their Sauvignon Blanc, Napa Valley 2005, is a wonderful value. It's got a nose full of the characteristic white fruit and slightly grassy perfume of the variety and a mouthful of pear, quince and a hint of lime. It's got a nice long finish and all that for $5.99 at Trader Joe's. It's nice when you find a producer that can inspire confidence in each of it's average, everyday bottles. A vin de pays that anyone would be happy to find in his/her glass at a friend's dinner party. Yeah.

I know we promised the straight stuff on Cameron Hughes, Lot 16, Stags Leap District Cab 2004, but, it ain't ready yet. I think we need another bottle to get it right. Pass the bottle, Sherry.