Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

Sign in to follow this  
Daily Gullet Staff

Kissing the Frogs

Recommended Posts

So they are "blowin" who away--the US, Australia, Chile? who?

By what criteria?

who cares?

1. yes

2. mine

3. apparently you

So it's all about you!

:wink:

Fair enough.

I really don't care.

I do care when one feels the need to denigrate one wine to promote

another.

I am curious as to how you have been able to recently taste all these "bargains."

Many of which (as you indicate) are difficult to find--how have you found them?

I have noted many times that alerting people to worthy wines (and wine bargains) is a welcome endeavor. Most every major wine publication and wine critic does this as a primary responsibility.

So making a recommendation based on the attributes of a particular wine is usually a safe way to go. I am not sure why you can't simply do this without muddying up the waters with tired arguments about old world vs new world.

The truth is things are changing and these notions are rapidly disappearing. I am seeing more and more labels on European wines with the varietal listed. Screw tops are also turning up.

broad and sweeping pronouncements like many you make are no longer valid. Terroir is important but it has been misused by many European proponents to sell wines as superior when, in fact (in the glass) the wines are disappointing (and not so unique).

There are many interesting wines (from small and large) wine makers from places like the Loire but for years many wines were disappointing--out of balance acid in sauvignon blancs, watery and bland Muscadets and under ripe vegetal cabernet Francs. I would say that part of the reason many of these wines are not widely known and sold here is they got off to a bad start!

The Languedoc has had their problems as well, witness the sweeping changes there. You mentioned Tannat earlier, well the microbullage that so many old world proponants have decried (Nossitor for one) was invented by the French to soften wines from a varietal that produces hard tannic and unapproachable wines.

The fact is too many people (consumers and the trade) tasted many of these wines and found them no bargain at all--at any price.

It is also true that the small number of fine efforts were snapped up and sold here by many fine and diligent importers. (many thanks to them). what is often overlooked is that these importers often convinced these small producers to adapt wine making techniques in order to improve the wines to the point that they could be sold--the new world telling the old world how to make wine--sacre bleu!!!

You also fail to advise people that many of the wines you are recommending are based on a specific vintage and that buying another (lesser vintage) means they may be getting a wine that tastes quite differently. Oh but that's terroir! Yes, that's a red wine made in a cool climate so expect a lot of variation year to year. Perhaps this is also a reason these wines have not achieved great popularity. (wines from warmer climes do not face this problem as acutely-and yes they have their problems with over ripeness.)

Things are improving. We are seeing better quality wines at all price points more often.

I have no argument with many of the wines you note here. (I am still wondering how you found some).

Things are improving elsewhere as well--Australia is certainly not a monolithic producer of monolithic wines--all shiraz's do not taste the same any more than all syrah's from the Rhone do!

Anytime I see someone bring up Yellowtail the alarm bells go off.

Why don't you make the comparison with one of the many mass produced wines from Europe (maybe from one of those mega co-ops).

The problem is you are overselling the wines you want to recommend; and as if that's not enough, you set up straw men as competition.

I have seen far too many instances of experienced tasters confusing US Chardonnay with white Burgundy and Aussie Shiraz with Northern Rhone syrah--things are just not so simple!

IMOP your fine tasting notes and some basic information about these wines is really all they need. (it is certainly all I need)

:wacko:

anyway cheers!

and keep the recommendations coming!!!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I am curious as to how you have been able to recently taste all these "bargains."

Many of which (as you indicate) are difficult to find--how have you found them?

I go to the store and buy them and and I enjoy them with my dinner in the evening. I try to avoid lining up wines and tasting them as much as possible.

I buy most of my wines at: Liner and Elsen, Portland; E and R Wines, Portland, New Seasons (grocery store) Portland area, Pastaworks (grocery store) Portland area. I also have Doug Salthouse, owner of SmartBuy wines in New Jersey select a case of his favorites to send me once a month. He has a great palate and sends me some really interesting wines.

I am not sure why you can't simply do this without muddying up the waters with tired arguments about old world vs new world.

The truth is things are changing and these notions are rapidly disappearing. I am seeing more and more labels on European wines with the varietal listed. Screw tops are also turning up.

Because I see the new world wine industry being dominated by corporate winemaking and unlike Europe there is little hope for small artisan producers unless they are making expensive wines from famous varietals and get big points from some critic. Yes, things are changing - for the worse. Sure you see more varietal labeling coming from France, they have to eat too and they are getting a beating from the Yellow Tails of the world because most buyers are too lazy or too greedy (payola talks).

Screw caps are rapidly being adopted by quality producers the world over. European winemakers are just as technically sophisticated as their new world counterparts, but they have more a sense of their own terroir and history.

You also fail to advise people that many of the wines you are recommending are based on a specific vintage and that buying another (lesser vintage) means they may be getting a wine that tastes quite differently.

I can't believe I forgot to mention that! Thanks for reminding me! Yes there is vintage variation in many of these regions and this is one of the big things that makes them more exciting to drink. Unlike industrial recipe wines that go from vintage to vintage with a palate numbing seamlessness, wines that show terroir and individual character actually change from vintage to vintage - how fun is that :laugh: !! Best of all, thanks to advances in vineyard and cellar knowledge and technique (and perhaps global warming) the old vintage disasters of the past are behind us and the best producers produce at least good wines every vintage. Personally I love the excitement of experiencing the nuance of each year. After all, real wine is an agricultural product and should speak of three things: vineyard, varietal and VINTAGE.

IMOP your fine tasting notes and some basic information about these wines is really all they need. (it is certainly all I need)

OK here is what I suggest you do. Whenever you see an article by me, just skip down to the tasting notes and cut and paste them somewhere else so you don't have to be bothered by my other prose. We'll both be happier. :raz:


Edited by Craig Camp (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

could someone PLEASE step to the plate and specificly name several reasonably priced, under $20, preferably under $15, american,australian, (avoiding the new world moniker :biggrin: ) wines they enjoy.

c'mon john, you work retail, what are some non french wines your hot on?

no websites please. just your personal preferences that you buy and drink on a daily basis.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Here are some good values in American wine:

Saintsbury Garnet Pinot Noir $16

Iron Horse Sangiovese Rose $18

Edmunds St. John Gamay $18

Benton Lane Pinot Gris $14 (Oregon)

Wine by Joe Pinot Noir $16 (Oregon)

Argyle Brut $19 (Oregon)

Foxen Chenin Blanc $18

Alma Rosa Pinot Gris $18

Willakenzie Vineyards Pinot Blanc $19 (Oregon)

Elk Cove Pinot Gris $18 (Oregon)

Honig Sauvignon Blanc $15

Seghesio Zinfandel $19

Jade Mountain La Provencal $19

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Here are some good values in American wine:

Saintsbury Garnet Pinot Noir $16

Iron Horse Sangiovese Rose $18

Edmunds St. John Gamay $18

Benton Lane Pinot Gris $14 (Oregon)

Wine by Joe Pinot Noir $16 (Oregon)

Argyle Brut $19 (Oregon)

Foxen Chenin Blanc $18

Alma Rosa Pinot Gris $18

Willakenzie Vineyards Pinot Blanc $19 (Oregon)

Elk Cove Pinot Gris $18 (Oregon)

Honig Sauvignon Blanc $15

Seghesio Zinfandel $19

Jade Mountain La Provencal $19

I have to say that I've had the Honig Sauvignon Blanc on two occasions(same vintage) and found it to be very bad. I have, however, enjoyed Honig's Cab which costs $30/bottle. Am I wrong or do we happen to have a difference of opinion?

It is complete nonsense to bash all wine not European. It is clear that you have a huge bias toward the style of wine that comes out of Europe- fair enough. But, attacking non-European wine and anyone(JohnL) who disagrees with you makes you appear the type of wine snob who appreciates the foreign languages and cryptic labeling that keeps you separated from the rest of us silly Americans.

FWIW- My wife and I very much enjoyed a bottle of '05 Castle Rock Monterey Pinot Noir last night. Interestingly(or perhaps not), this is the first bottling(out of 5 total) from Castle Rock that we have thought much of, despite what seems to be a lot of positive press. I paid $10.29 here in California.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I have to say that I've had the Honig Sauvignon Blanc on two occasions(same vintage) and found it to be very bad.  I have, however, enjoyed Honig's Cab which costs $30/bottle.  Am I wrong or do we happen to have a difference of opinion?

It is complete nonsense to bash all wine not European.  It is clear that you have a huge bias toward the style of wine that comes out of Europe- fair enough.  But, attacking non-European wine and anyone(JohnL) who disagrees with you makes you appear the type of wine snob who appreciates the foreign languages and cryptic labeling that keeps you separated from the rest of us silly Americans.

FWIW- My wife and I very much enjoyed a bottle of '05 Castle Rock Monterey Pinot Noir last night.  Interestingly(or perhaps not), this is the first bottling(out of 5 total) from Castle Rock that we have thought much of, despite what seems to be a lot of positive press.  I paid $10.29 here in California.

1. Concerning the Honig, that's just a difference of opinion - I'm not crazy for the cabernet. but it's a decent wine.

2. As far as I know, I'm a silly American too. At least that what my parents told me. As far as attacking American wine, I'm the only one so far that's supplied a list of favorites. I'll add to that shortly. Why is anyone who prefers European wine to American wine a snob?

3. The Castle Rock Pinot Noir is not to my taste and a bad deal even at 10 bucks - frankly even at 5 bucks.


Edited by Craig Camp (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A few more comments about Castle Rock Pinot Noir. When looking for values in American wine it is often best to stay away from varietals that are hard and expensive to grow. That = pinot noir.

If you want deals buy less popular varieties. For example, when looking at a $10 bottle of sauvignon blanc and a $10 bottle of chardonnay, almost always the sauvignon blanc will be the better deal. That's because it costs less to buy sauvignon blanc (buying grapes or wine is how almost all low-end American wineries work) so for your 10 bucks you are either getting the left overs of chardonnay or some pretty decent sauvignon blanc. This rule also works at the higher end of the price spectrum. A $30 sauvignon is probably at the top of its class, while a $30 chardonnay can be pretty ho-hum stuff.

When it comes to new world deals, pinot noir is the worst. The grapes are expensive and hard to grow and anything worth anything goes into higher priced bottles. You can bet that almost every low end pinot has the maximum allowed of something else blend in to make it both cheaper and bigger. Spend your money elsewhere. The same goes for Burgundy by the way. Expect $16+ for any pinot noir with a hint of character.

Other than pinot, I'm sure Castle Rock sells some very nice wines for everyday drinking.


Edited by Craig Camp (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
i would really be appreciative of a list of nice (john's word)/ great (chefboys word) american wines under $20.

my request is sincere, i am not trying to be argumentative or create some sort of competition here. i just am not aware of many inexpensive american wines.

and while we are at it, how about good american wines under $15 a bottle?

a-z pinot noir

yahmill pinot noir

cloudline pinot noir

jezebel pinot noir

castle rock pinot noir

millbrook pinot noir

etude pinot noir rose

benzinger cab /chardonnay / merlot

beringer cab founders estate / chardonnay / pinot noir

louis martini cab sauv

frog's leap sauv blanc

honig sauv blanc

silverado sauv blanc

covey run riesling

dr. frank chardonnay/riesling

ridge zinfandel

none of these are "great," of course, they are no coche dury or petrus, but for under $20, they are all great values.

whoever in this thread said compared white burgundy to cali chards and red burgundy to cali pinots and with SWEEPING generalizations said he couldn't find anything from america he liked....well.... this is just ignorance. laughable. i can't even believe someone is on a messageboard about food and wine and has the audacity to call all american chard and pinot bad? its almost hilarious, you have to wonder if someone is just trying to get a rise out of you....

i can think of tons of american chardonnay that rivals a large percent of burgundy...... ramey, ramsay, marcassin, chateau montelena, cakebread, kistler, Grgich Hills, Talbott, Landmark, Newton Unfiltered, I could go on and on and on...

Some of them are big and oakey like Corton, and some of them show restraint and balance like Puligny, some of these are outright delicious, but expensive.

And for Christ's sake the dollar is so bad right now that France is anything BUT value, unless you're shopping from the Jura, Savoie, Gascony, sw france, etc

AND, furthermore, its SO hard to find GOOD burgundy. there is so much bad burgundy year after year. you have to know the vintages, the producers, the prices, the single vineyards. its too complicated and there is too much crap.. and you have to wonder if the wine is too young (and tight)....or if its aged a few years and its good. Or has it shut down? They say the 1999 Burgundies are closed right now, and will open up again in a few years. What the hell is that?

Gimme a Ken Wright pinot noir or a Domaine Serene or Shea out of the bottle from 04, 03, 02, 01, 00, 99, whatever, it doesn't matter...and it will be delicious, and will be 10 years from now as well.


Edited by chefboy24 (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
whoever in this thread said compared white burgundy to cali chards and red burgundy to cali pinots and with SWEEPING generalizations said he couldn't find anything from america he liked....well.... this is just ignorance.  laughable.

Who said that? What side of the bed did you get up on? :blink:

i can't even believe someone is on a messageboard about food and wine and has the audacity to call all american chard and pinot bad?

Talk about the master of sweeping generalizations! Who said that. There is plenty of bad American Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, there is also a lot of great American Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. I'm afraid you're the one with audacity.

Some of them are big and oakey like Corton, and some of them show restraint and balance like Puligny, some of these are outright delicious, but expensive.

Big and oaky like Corton? You've got to drink more Burgundy sir. Classic Corton blanc is hard as nails. It has no more oak than Meursault or the Montrachet communes. That's just plain wrong.

And for Christ's sake the dollar is so bad right now that France is anything BUT value, unless you're shopping from the Jura, Savoie, Gascony, sw france, etc

Umm.... :rolleyes: Shopping for wines from places like Jura, Savoie, Gascony and Southwest France was the point of the article.

AND, furthermore, its SO hard to find GOOD burgundy.  there is so much bad burgundy year after year.  you have to know the vintages, the producers, the prices, the single vineyards.  its too complicated and there is too much crap..  and you have to wonder if the wine is too young (and tight)....or if its aged a few years and its good.  Or has it shut down?  They say the 1999 Burgundies are closed right now, and will open up again in a few years.  What the hell is that?

Yes, yes, I see you deeply understand all the nuances of Burgundy. By the way, who is "they"?

benzinger cab /chardonnay / merlot

beringer cab founders estate / chardonnay / pinot noir

That explains a lot.

Gimme a Ken Wright pinot noir or a Domaine Serene or Shea out of the bottle from 04, 03, 02, 01, 00, 99, whatever, it doesn't matter...and it will be delicious, and will be 10 years from now as well.

All of us Oregonians are finally glad to find someone who includes 2003 in our line-up of great vintages! It's also great to know that vintage doesn't matter here in Oregon! I'll give Ken, Tony and Grace and Ken a call tomorrow. They'll be thrilled!


Edited by Craig Camp (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

thank you for your list chefboy. i'm going to try and find some of these and see how i like them.

however, is ridge making an under $20 zin? i used to buy them at that price point but haven't seen them below mid 20's and the most recent releases are well above that price.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
thank you for your list chefboy. i'm going to try and find some of these and see how i like them.

however, is ridge making an under $20 zin? i used to buy them at that price point but haven't seen them below mid 20's and the most recent releases are well above that price.

Ridge zins run just over $20, but their 3 Valleys blend, which is mostly zinfandel, is under $20.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I found this thread very informative. My perspective is skewed by several factors, but that might help me contribute to the discussion. I was almost 30 before I began enjoying beverages containing alcohol on any sort of a regular basis, and I was over 40 before I discovered that not all wine was as paltry as that sold in a ceramic jug. When it comes to wine I am very new, not very experienced, and still to this day can't come up with tasting notes longer than three words. But perhaps my compressed wine education will prove educational if not humorous.

First, I have lived my entire life in Texas and have not yet begun to travel extensively. The region is heavily influenced by fundamentalist religion and this greatly influences both availability and price when it comes to wine. For an example, I live on the northern edge of the Dallas/Fort Worth metropolitan area, where the population is on the brink of six million. Still, this area, along with much of the state, is 'dry' by default. To be able to sell alcoholic beverages requires a local election, and the petition and election process is convoluted at best. It was only three years ago that wineries in Texas were given an exemption from this process so that one may give tastings without a local election.

When my wife and I began drinking wine I was fortunate enough to select a delicious German dessert wine which I adored. However, finding the exact same vintage, class and producer a second time proved difficult. We quickly settled on Gallo's Cafe Zinfandel as our favorite for every day drinking while occasionally trying others based on label, marketing or recommendation. We then began touring the wineries of Texas and the tastings at least opened our eyes to the many varietals available, and we began enjoying red wine as well. We were also fortunate to have a friend working for one of the largest beverage distributors in the state and she kept us supplied and informed with many other wines from the world. And lately we visit a local wine store with a well-traveled owner who is pursuing the title of sommelier and who has further enhanced our exploration of wine.

We recently purchased a bottle of Cafe Zinfandel, and most of it went down the drain. Ack! Such sugar water! Hopefully this means that our tastes have advanced.....

Now to the topic of this thread. I can not say that I have experienced much in the way of French wine of any price range, except for a few tastings. The same goes for South American, Australian and other European wines. I have, however, found several Texas wines that I enjoy, and they are mostly in the under $20 range. I do not, however, trust my taste buds and palate yet, so perhaps I should start making those notes.

While I agree to a certain extent that the original poster made some sweeping generalizations I do thank him for the many suggestions he has made for inexpensive French wines. These suggestions and Peter Mayle's books are great inspiration. :smile: I have also enjoyed the discussion of large formulaic corporate labels vs. estate wine and the comparisons of old vs. new world. Thank you.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sign in to follow this  

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...