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

August 5, 2009

Under $10 Bargains, But First of All, Good Wine.

Ten dollars seems to be some kind of speed bump for a lot of people.  We think this might be people of a certain age….who remember when two bucks was not a particularly cheap bottle of wine.  “Yeeessss (we recall aging relatives to say), “five bucks for a bottle of wine could get ya a loooong way in 1968!”.  Well, yeeeahhhh.   Get over it!  It’s 2009 and despite a record busting recession, we ain’t going back there.  Still, nostalgia waxes large among the winesoaked.  OK,  what can you get for a ten-spot these days?

Aaron Logan, attribution

Napa Valley, Photo by Aaron Logan

Actually, you can do pretty darned well.  Running around town the last couple of weeks has reinforced the Wineslacker’s intuitive sense that, indeed, there is a glut of gluggable wine out there in the yet to wither wine producer world. (What do you think of that sentence, Kennedy??)

Here is a sample of what the Wineslacker has purchased and sucked through his teeth in the last month, for under ten smackaroos (although, in most cases, not much under).

Salento, Italian seacoast

Salento, Italian seacoast

1. Despite what he felt was the doldrums for old faithful, Trader Joes, seems they have snapped out of it and have pushed out some real winners for the late summer barbecue season.  First off, they have a real winner in the Italian table wine Trentatre Rosso, 2007, Salento.  $5.99, we believe it’s only at T.J.’s.  The label says 1/3 Cabernet, 1/3 Merlot, and 1/3 Montepulciano (Trentatre seems to be Italian for 33).  Whatever, it is a beautiful buy at that price.  It’s been on the shelf for a while; we saw a review from San Francisco from April, this year, so waste no time in grabbing some of this very pleasant BBQ red at a recession-busting price.

2. As we have related before, the Trader likes to have his own label on stuff he sells.  He may have over-stepped the bounds of good sense in the next selection.  The label says VINTJS.  Supposed to be something like “Vintahs”, we think.  Hunhhh? BUT, it also says it’s Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir, and it’s only $8.99.  So, why not try it?  So, we did and guess what?  Well, we wouldn’t be writing about it here if it stank, so, yeah, its very, very GOOD!  We got a case, and the Wineslacker ain’t got that much room, what with two wine coolers stashed in the living room.  Very much the fruity, smooth, light mouth feel and color of the cooler region Pinots, and very fine with salmon, salads, seared Ahi, pork tenderloin, grilled chicken, etc, etc… And

3. They’ve got a matching white, a Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc, for a really cheap $5.99, that is a fruity (grapefruit, limey, like that), lovely hot weather cooler-offer. VINTJS 2007 Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc.

4. Now, the ‘slacker knows there are other places that sell wine around here.  One of his favorite stops for cheese and fresh roasted coffee and recycled toilet tissue (made from recycled paper, you high school minded dolts) is Whole Foods.  And, while Whole Foods is not known as a discount grocer, the usual haunt of  true ‘slackers, they do have a rather refined wine department.  They almost always have boxes of reasonably priced table wine sitting in the aisles, so you’ll notice them.  This season they’ve got a big bunch of wine from 5 Mile Bridge. Their reds are a Zin, a Syrah and a Pinot.  Now the Pinot falls just outside of our arbitrary limit of $10, but we got to say, the Zin and the Syrah, from the Paso Robles area are a great buy at a very reasonable $8.95.  These are 2005 vintages from the Margarita vineyard.  So, go for it!  And stop by the cheese bar for some Italian Pepato.

5. Another winner from Trader J’s that skims right under the $10 wire is Hunter Ashby Napa Valley Cabernet, 2005, from 2Sons Vineyards.  It’s a lighter Cab, with a slightly uncharacteristic black cherryness, which is nevertheless, very, very drinkable.  For some, even preferable; with a nice acidity.  A nice, pleasant party wine, good with cheeses, appetizers and BBQ goodies. Sorry, we have no link for 2sons wines.

6. Not to pass over the World Market (Cost Plus) where we have picked up many a cart full of pleasant juice, and where we found an old favorite, Las Rocas de San Alejandro, 2005 Garnacha  from Calatayud, Espana for a skinflinty $8.99.  AND, World Market is also the only place, outside of Costco and the Internet, where you can find the Cameron Hughes label (although it’s a limited selection).

7. The last mentionable in this little blurb is something we picked up while dashing through our closest Costco, (did we mention, largest wine retailer in the whole damned country) a whole MAGNUM of French Cotes du Ventoux rouge, under the label of La Vieille Ferme (2007) for $9.99!  Now, this stuff is NOT vin du table, but actual Appellation Controlee, Produit de France! Produced by one of the outstanding families in French wine production, the Perrins of Chateau de Beaucastel.  And while we have not broken the seal on this 1.5 liter bag-buster, we have to at least let our faithful know about what appears to be QUITE a bargain.  The ‘slacker’s got to have a party so he won’t feel bad about opening such a large bottle…

Later, whites and sparklers.

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