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.

Monday, January 15, 2007

As the American media loves to do at this time of the year, it's falling all over itself announcing the best something of the year. The best movie, the best Country Western song, the best Hip-hop CD, the Playmate of the Year, The Quarterback of the Year, the best canned tomato sauce of the year... the Best 100 Wines of the Year (number one for Wine Spectator was the ever-popular Casanova Di Neri Brunello di Mantalcino Tenuta Nuova 2001 (huh? 2001?). Didn't get a taste of that one? Well, with less than 5,000 cases made, the Wineslacker is surprised that any made it out of Italy. Another thing, WS; if number one was a 97 score and practically unknown in the U.S., outside of NYC, and number three, Chateau Leoville Barton St. Julien 2003, a very well known Bordeaux (18,000 cases) was a 98 score, what's up with that? The 'slacker doesn't get it! Plus, Chateau Leoville Barton was only $5 more than number one. Both, we have to admit, were a somewhat civilized $70 and $75 dollars; which means that us ordinary working stiffs would not have to forgo the youngest child's college tuition to get a bottle, if we could find one.

OK, anyway... that's not the point of the rant here. The point is, the Wineslacker promised a wine of the year, but finds that he doesn't really believe in a wine of the year.

We mean, what's the criteria for a wine of the Year? Best red wine? Best white wine? Best dessert wine? Best fuit wine, other than grapes? Best wine not tasted by a major glossy wine magazine? Best wine under $100 a bottle? Best wine under $10 a bottle? (Now the 'slacker is interested!) OK, the point is getting belabored. It's just not relevant. There are a bunch of wines out there. The Wine Web website claims to connect to 16,000 wineries in France alone. No wonder there's a "wine lake" in Europe.

However, not to disappoint the multitude of Wineslacker's readers, we shall reminisce over some of the 'slacker's most pleasant wine experiences of 2006.

1. The 'slacker's eyes were opened to the real delights of a fine Bordeaux by the discovery of the now famous and never to be purchased again at $14, Chateau Gigault 2003 Premieres Cote de Blaye. Number 91 on the W.S. list of 100. It was snapped up by the wine rats at Bev-Mo before we could get back for more, but we were able to pick up a half case of a less sensational, still enjoyable for many of the same reasons, Chateau Segonzak, 2003 from the same region.
2. There was that bottle of 1989 Clos Pegase Hommage, Sonoma County Chardonnay, given up by son-in-law Greg (bless you) for Father's Day. Still golden, after 16 years of less than perfect storage. Otto Freundlich's abstract, Ghetto, 1936, was on the label.
3. Sophisticated dinner partner (Sherry) and the 'slacker enjoyed a 1997 vintage blanc de blanc (Knutsen Vineyard) and a 1991 Pinot from Oregon winemaker, Argyle, gathered up in a rush through the Willamette Valley after nephew Robin's wedding out on the McKenzie River. The hottest summer Oregon has seen in 75 years, the infamous summer of 2005.
4. That beautiful Reisling blend from Santa Barbara County, we enjoyed across the street from the Flatiron Building in NYC, at Tabla, high concept NY eatery, with our old friend, Kennedy, from the DeLoren days (yes, that DeLoren) the day before St. Patrick's day.
5. The $3.99 bottle of Hungarian wine, Woodsman's White, from Trader Joe, together with the huge dry-packed scollops from Henry's, cooked by sophisticated dinner companion, Sherry.
6. The discovery (by wine buddy Mark L.) of Mr. Overstock,
Cameron Hughes, and his price-buster wines from California and beyond. Delicious Lot 15 and sophisticated Lot 16 and ebullient Lot 17, yeah.
7. Fellow wine rat, Sam, passed along his discovery of the Bogle "Phantom" a zin blend that got the 'slacker all kinds of praise for bringing along the highlight of dinner. "My ideal wine!", enthused pal Rob H.
8. The surprise and delight at finding that beautiful Chablis at Costco, La Chablisienne, for a pitiful $16, a layered, long finishing, lovingly characterisitic French white.
9. The little dinner in Pasadena where Joanie D. brought the nameless (literally) red blend made by her cousin in Escondido.
10. Wine party discovery from wine rat Richard M. of Bob Lindquist's winery Qupe, and some of the most delicious Syrah the Wineslacker has tasted yet, available at a very affordable price. Four stars for value and quality!
11. And, who could forget, the capping of the year with our traditional black caviar, and the classic Champagne taste of Perrier-Jouet Brut NV for New Year's Eve.

And, finally, the gathering of all those yet untasted reds, whites and others, throughout the roller coaster year of 2006, put away to add their excitement or disappointment to 2007. To anticipation, my friends

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