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, December 09, 2007

Long, long it's been since the 'slacker's deigned to converse with his loyal followers. There are many, many excuses, but, it's not the Wineslacker's nature to apologize (hell, you could have called). All that said, it's almost the wineter solstice and gift giving is rampant among the populace. Therefore, the Wineslacker knows his duty; that is to dispense opinion as to the proper wine to be given. Even though the 'slacker has not been writing, he's been drinking. And as always, will share his opinion, sought out or not. Behold the best among the cheapest...

Red Wines

Qupe' Syrah 2005, Central Coast

Santa Ynez Valley

Any of winemaker Bob Lindquist's wines are serious efforts and still reasonably priced. This was at Whole Foods for $17.00. He is one of the original "Rhone Rangers". Vinters of Rhone-style blends ringing the Paso Robles, Santa Ynez, Santa Barbera area.

Navarro Mendacino Pinot Noir, 2004


Incredible buy. Top of my list of California Pinot's under $25. Unfortunately, not available in stores and currently not available at all. We may have purchased the last 6 bottles. Neverfear. Get yourself to the Navarro Winery Website and watch. Treat yourself to the slightly more expensive Anciente Methodes Pinot or give it to your younger brother for his 58th birthday maybe. And watch the Babydoll Sheep video clip. It was a mystery bottle, brought to dinner because it was a gift at a wedding and brought forth cries of astonishment.

Bianchi Zen Ranch Zinfandel, 2001

Purchased in some astounding overrun windfall for under $7, but normally $18 from Bianchi Vineyards out of Paso Robles. This is a delicious, fruity yet balanced, Zin. Single vineyard harvest, coaxed to a very high level of development by experienced and knowledgeable hands. I would try any wine from this winery. Not as complex as something like Ridge Lytton Springs, but considerably cheaper and more widely appreciable. Also try some of their Petite Syrah; appropriately inky and intense with a long, long finish and layers of flavor. Contact the winery.

Castano Solanera, vinas viejas 2003

From the Spanish region of Yecla, this was available from Trader Joe's on and off this year. At $12.99, it just oozed value and we cried, "Where, where can we get more?". A dark, tobaccoish nose, plummy with some spice. Black fruit balanced with good structure and slightly earthy as it opens up. We love these Spanish treasures, such as...

Arrocal, Ribera Del Duero, 2005
$13.98 at Hi Times in Costa Mesa, CA and Wine Country, Long Beach, CA.

Beautiful, delicious, Cheap.

Monastrell, Altos De La Hoya, 2005

From the Jumilla Region, Bodegas Oliveras. This is almost straight Mouvedre - called Monastrell in Spain. Again, do not hesitate. Buy. This was ridiculously cheap. $8.95 at Hi Times.

Conde de Valdemar, Reserva, 2001

Rioja by Bodegas Valdemar, S.A. A beautiful medium body red; clear violet-red in color, 85% Tempranillo, 15% Mazuela (Carignan), and in the Spanish style, a full 24 months in American and French oak. Perfect to drink right now. raspberry, spice, lavendar and a light cigar box finish. $13.99 at BevMo. Buy a half case for your boss and it'll help make up for all those days you slept late and claimed the car battery went dead.

Mas Grand Plagniol, 2003

Costieres De Nimes (Southern France) This is a lovely wine from a great, great year. 2003 must go down as one of the very best for wine in Europe. Here are the tasting notes from a knownothing 'slacker. "Starts with a ruby red color, slightly orangish. A somewhat musky (not musty!) nose with a hint of perfume and a very slight suggestion of banana. Mid-palate get a splash of the luscious violet perfume, a hearty acidity, fine tannins and a faint black tea finish." See, it made me poetic! And all this for $9.99 at BevMo. (Get their discount card).

Bourgogne, 2004
Oak Aged Pinot Noir by Mommesin

Pinot Noir from the land of PINOT NOIR, Burgundy, France. Here's a Burgundy that you don't have to give up your 1st born for, or that hard won BMW. It's $9.99 at Cost Plus World Market! Yeah...$9.99! OK, its not heady with smoke and bacon and whatever... but, it's goooood. Balanced, with a woodsy, spicey nose; a medium brick red color, raspberry and red fruit, with a cedary mid-palate, which opens up to a faint rose with a little air. Very nice with nothing else but a little cheese and bagette by the fire with a wise and appreciative woman.

Cameron Hughes, Lot Whatever

Cameron Hughes Wines are the bomb! The man has found the perfect job! Jet around the world and taste the best wines nobody wants. Buy them up, bottle them and slap your own classy little label on them and sell them to an adoring public, so grateful that they can taste these luscious varietals for less than $20 (for the most part). Lot 14, 15, 16 were mind blowing for the price. Lot 38 offered a Shiraz from 100 year old vines from the Barossa Valley region of Australia and who could forget the 2002 Meritage, Lot 23. I give the Lot 23 that I have left only to those who can appreciate the fact that they'll never get to taste that wine again. He's up to Lot 59. Go CH.

Bon Soir! Next time, the Holiday Whites (and sparkling wines).

Wine makes a weary world a little better. We could use a drink just about now.


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