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 23, 2008

Well, devoted fans, it's been almost a year since the 'slacker put something up. You may have thought he had said all that he could about wine. But, no. His head, as one might say, has been elsewhere. As he has said before, though, while not writing, he has continued to drink. And as it's recommendation time again, he shall pass along his pronouncements on the world of wine as seen from his tiny hovel on the outskirts of LaLa Land.

One; get and give the latest from wine guerrilla, Alice Feiring, The Battle for Wine and Love, or How I Saved the World from Parkerization (Harcourt, Inc. 2008). You'll find out a lot about wine - maybe more than you wanted to concerning flavorings, enzymes, wood chips, reverse osmosis, and the various and sundry processes that MIGHT go into that drink you so revere as pure and unassailed. You'll find out that some people don't care whether a wine is rated 90 or 85, and that if the wine you are drinking is featured in a glossy, soft-focus advertisement with sexy, lofty sounding copy, it might not be the best that can be had. You'll hear about people in France and Italy that really love wine and who are not in the business to create a public offering on Wall Street. And just what is it about Robert Parker that is so damned controversial?

Two; give some wine to someone for the holidays. Open some minds! Don't just pick up a bottle of BV from the supermarket. Not that BV can't make some good wines or that you can't get good wine at a supermarket, just know what you're buying and try to find something out of the ordinary. Go to Trader Joes. They've got a very nice California Red made in the Biodynamic Method, called Dynamic, appropriately enough, for $8.99. It'll give you something to talk about, if you take the time to learn something about Biodynamic wine. They've got a swell little Pinot Noir from Cherry Hill Winery in Oregon, called Papillon (2006) for $12.99; excellent. You'd be happy if you spent $20+ on it. On election night, I opened a bottle of 2002 Clos Mimi's Petite Rousse, their second label Syrah from Paso Robles, California. I think the current vintage goes for $22 on their website. I got it from Whole Foods. Wow, Wow, Wow. Rich, wild, complex, intense wine from a dedicated small winemaker. And for lighter but still interesting, perhaps subtler wines, try Navarro Winery from the Mendocino area (you'll have to order from their website). Their Pinot is tawny in color and lovely in taste, and they specialize in a list of whites, all in a reasonable price range. And in some markets, including Vons, Whole Foods and Gelson's, you can find the Qupe' label, by winemaker Bob Lindquist, one of the original Rhone Rangers from Paso Robles. All of his wines are serious, interesting wines at very good prices.

Look at Costco and you can find some really nice wines for rock-bottoms prices. They carry the Cameron Hughes label that the 'slacker has raved about in the past. He just put out Lot 75, an Oak Knoll District (Napa) Cab (2006) for $11.99, that is da bomb. It's young yet, but very, very drinkable and at such a low price, you feel guilty walking out of the store with it. I got a Ponzi Pinot Gris (2007) from Oregon for $13; a premier Oregon label and a sure winner for Thanksgiving dinner. You want to know a secret? At Costco you can get great prices on Dom Perignon, Johnny Walker Blue Label, and other top of the line Champagnes and hard liquors.

Don't overlook the sparklers. The 'slacker found a fantastic holiday dessert wine at the L.A. Wine Company store in Indian Wells (I know that's not L.A.!), Innocent Bystander, an Australian Moscato (Victoria), 2007, for an indecent $7.49. Two California Sparklers (NV-non vintage) that are well below $20 and always welcome at the party are Piper Sonoma and Gloria Ferrar Brut, and they're widely available. Go out on a limb and try a red, frizzante Lambrusco... what the hell?

Try some wines from Spain, like Arrocal, a Ribera Del Duero Red, about $14; Altos De La Hoya Monastrell, from Jumilla, about $9 or a good Tempranillo, like Conde de Valdemar, Reserva Rioja, about $14.

Go out and get some. And enjoy the Holidays. Just don't drink a jeroboam and drive (look it up).


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