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 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.


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