Journalists, and ex-journalists, are often guilty of getting cute ideas to tell a story. Tonight I was a victim, horribly jaded now, from my own journalistic tricks.
Today, Sept. 2, is #Cabernet day in the social media world. Bloggers, Tweeters (Twitter for the newbies) and wine writers are all drinking and writing about Cabernet Sauvignon today. The - #Cabernet - allows you go search on your favorite search engine and find thousands of entries about the king of grapes - Cabernet Sauvignon.
I was trying to think throughout the day what Cab I could pull from the rack, storage system, or even my basement of goodies. When I got home I had nothing really except expensive Cabernet. I don't like opening those when I'm cooking just for one so I looked a little longer. I had a couple of nice blends but I felt that was not in the spirit of things. I wanted a Cab that was at least 75 percent Cabernet (which California laws require in order to call it a Cab) and not a blend that was half Merlot or another grape.
So this is where I out-tricked myself. I thought, 'Well, Howard you write about value wine. You've been known to bash supermarket brands on occasion so why not head to the Kroger and buy a bottle of Cab. That's a great angle, clever fellow!"
So off Krogering I went and found the ever-growing wine aisle. They actually had a bottle of Louis Martini Cab which is darn good stuff for the price point. I wrote about it back in March.
But I felt like that would be cheating. I picked up a bottle of Alamos Cab, the great Argentinian producer, and held on to that one. Then my eye caught Parkers Estate Old Vine Street 2007 Cabernet from Sonoma Valley. I grabbed that one, a steal I thought at $13.99 and regularly priced at $19.99.
Click on the link to the winery - try to find a Mr. or Ms. Parker, an estate, or anyone with a pulse other than a marketer. My dear wine buddies, that's a clue! And, maybe needless to say, not a good one!
Parkers Estate is a product of the Winery Exchange that according to its website is "a full service, corporate brand beverage alcohol company that sources beer, wine and spirits from the finest regions of the world." In simpler terms, it's corporate wine. But honestly much of what you drink is probably corporate wine if you're buying it at the market.
The wine actually wasn't bad on the nose so I held out hope my clever approach to #Cabernet Day would pay off. It was a beautiful dark purple. But then I actually tasting it.
Now in all fairness it's not awful, bad perhaps, but not disgusting. It has a hint of dark fruit on the palate but a flat and somewhat astringent taste that kills the fruit rather quickly. The alcohol is relatively low at 13.5 percent, but on the nose I got alcohol - a bad sign.
I had not had the wine open long when first tasting. It would probably improve some with serious decanting. I found a handful of amateur ratings for this wine which were consistently around 83 points. Low 80s usually mean good wine, but pretty unremarkable. I'd have a hard time getting out of the 70s on this one.
So why pick on this one wine? It's the whole point of my wine writing really. There are really nice Cabernets, and plenty of other wines, less than $15 but you usually will not find them at the grocery. Martini, Duck Pond and Milbrandt of Washington state, and many others make a well-balanced Cabernet that will really surprise you for the price point. (Oh, why didn't I go with the Alamos?)
You shop carefully for your family, loved ones and friends. You should shop just as carefully for your wine.
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