WINESLACKER..the lazy drinker's guide. Another 'slacker yammering on about drinking.

June 27, 2010

Tired of All That Champagne?

Filed under: Cheep wine,pinot noir,Summer Bubblies,summer wine — Dex Wineslacker @ 6:42 pm

Three Summer Bubblies That Aren't French

Tired of all that old Champagne?  Lost everything in the crash?  Your bank failed? You can still enjoy bubbles in the swingin’ summertime.  Here are three inexpensive sparklers that not only don’t hurtcha in the hip pocket, but give you something different and interesting.

First in line is the illustrious  Prosecco Balbinot (NV) (about $17 at Wine Expo in Santa Monica) the frizzante, the basic wine of a distinguished winemaker from San Pietro di Feletto, it’s soft, creamy, fully delightful; if you typically buy middle brow California sparklers like Piper-Sonoma, Gloria Ferrar Brut, etc., try this for a change of pace. Second, an organic sparkling Chardonnay from Argentina, no less. Vida organica, 2007, from Familia Zucccardi at Whole Foods is a more substantial wine, with a unique character, clean and round. The ‘Slacker likes it and it stands up to a garlicy roast chicken or grilled salmon just fine. Last but far from least is the familiar (to TJ’s fans) Zonin Prosecco Brut, a lovely, everyday bubbly at about $6 a bottle. Fruity, but dry and soft, it’s just the thing at the end of a warm summer evening on the patio.

2007-2008 are the Pinot Years!  Great Pinot Noir is comin’ out our ears, here in California.  For as little as $8.99 you can enjoy a  casual little Pinot from the Central Coast or the Russian River Valley. The Trader called Joe is currently keeping a very respectable stock of Pinot Noir, including the very tasty Lane Tanner, Block 4 at 19.99, MacMurray Ranch 2007 Pinot at $13.99, but also the well regarded Castle Rock Pinot and two low end, but excellent buys, Inslay Peak, 2007,($9.99) from Edna Valley Vineyard, San Luis Obispo County, and Hamilton-Steven’s, 2008, ($8.99)from the Russian River Valley.  In the bargain arena this week at Von’s, the ‘Slacker picked up Lockwood Vineyard, Block 7, Monterey County Pinot, rated a respectable 87 by WineSpectator for 2007, for $13.39.  BTW, Lockwood’s winemaker, Larry Gomez makes an interesting statement on their website as follows, “We’re backing away from oak and un-masking the grapes to really show off this vineyard and the unique terroir.” Maybe a trend???

April 4, 2010

New Finds…

Filed under: $10 wines,California,Cheep wine,rose,summer wine,Zinfandel — Dex Wineslacker @ 11:32 pm

Here are some value suggestions for the summer soon to come.

The Wineslacker trailed through several markets this week, including Bristol Farms, after quite a long absence.  Bristol Farms has had a fine wine department for many years (check out their “Grapevine Gazette”, see link) and has paid a lot of attention to the quality and marketing of wine.  Their price points are a bit higher than the ‘slacker generally looks for, but they carry a better variety of wines and generally a better quality of labels than most chain markets, more on a par with Gelson’s Markets. Still, with wine sales feeling the pinch of recession, even Bristol Farms has built a display of value wines, strategically placed at the entrance, at least at the Manhattan Beach store.  The ‘slacker picked two which looked promising from a well stocked display, all under $10 a bottle. The first, Mas de Lavail, Tradition, 2006, a Côte Du Roussillon Villages red blend, 40% Carignan, 40% Shiraz (yes! the bottle says, “Shiraz”) and 20% Black Grenache, priced at an astounding $8.99.  This is a keeper and a fine value.  As flavorful and big as you’d suspect with these grapes, the wine has some structure and richness and while lacking subtlety , it’s a barbecue wine with class.  The second was a Tempranillo from Castillo called La Cocina, 2008.  This is a more rustic wine with with some acidity and structure.  It’s still a fruit forward red wine with a little less alcohol than the Tradition, with 13% compared to the other with 14%.  The La Cocina, at $9.99 is also a great buy and would be a great match up with hearty meat dishes, sausages and grilled meats.

Back to Whole Foods, again, despite the affectionate razzing given W.F. by that overachieving L.A. culture critic, Sandra Tsing Loh.  The ‘slacker regularly slinks through W.F. at lunch hour, sniffing the air in the unparalleled prepared food section, giving in to the aroma of freshly roasted extra dark French Roast and rarely able to pass the wine section without getting SOMETHING pleasant and not tooo expensive.  The Wineslacker’s latest weakness from the Whole Foods wine department is their delicious choice for an inexpensive sparkling Brut Rosé (just in time for Spring, the season of rosé), Duc De Raybaud, an unprepossessing French sparkler without a vintage, without even a place of origin or a hint of what it’s made of.  But, at $9.99, it comes on like a $25 bottle of summer kisses.  It’s a light pink sparkling wine with the flavor of sweetened rose petals when you first open the bottle.  With a fine mousse it has a slightly rounder mouth feel than Champagne.  It’s beautiful, chilled, with sea food, with chicken, with cheeses and fruit…or all by it’s little lonesome on the patio at dusk.

And, the ‘slacker gives a nod to Vons once again; a huge chain store with a nice selection of wine, and if you get their plastic coupon card, quite a nice price point.  This weekend the Wineslacker roared through, the day before Easter, pausing long enough to snap up one of his long time favs, Ten Mile, The Broken Road, red blend, 2006, a field blend of different varietals from Oakville, California.  This is usually about $10, but with the Von’s plastic, the ‘slacker paid about $8. This is a tremendous wine for the price.  Also at Von’s we stocked up on De Loach Russian River Valley Zinfandel, 2008, regularly $16.49, on sale for a thrifty $10.99.  De Loach is a vintner the Wineslacker has a lot of respect for.  They don’t disappoint, they’re now certified organic, and any time you can get De Loach on sale, you gotta value.

Salud!

May 10, 2009

Update: World Market

Filed under: reconsideration,rose,summer wine — Dex Wineslacker @ 9:24 pm

A bit of a retraction is due here…

The ‘slacker and sophisticated dinner companion revisited Cost Plus, World Market today and the ‘slacker has to admit, the wine department was revitalized, at least at the local branch. Fresh displays and a very nice selection of world wines, focused on coming Summer and keeping the cost down for entertaining, if not for collecting.

We picked up at least three promising rose’s, from Pic St. Loup, Coteaux Du Languedoc; from Costieres de Nimes, Rhone Valley; and one of our yearly faves for patio time, Parallele 45 Rose’, Cote du Rhone, a consistant winner at $11.99, as well as one of the tastiest dessert wines from Australia, Innocent Bystander Moscato, from Victoria, a Wineslacker pick for a meager $8.99. We also could not resist a bottle of Las Rocas, Garnacha, 2005, from Calatayud, Espana, for $8.99 and the well received Cab from Chateau Ste. Michelle, Indian Wells, 2006, for $15.99.

Welcome back, World Market!

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