Thursday, March 26, 2009

Great Grapes for Cheap Skates

Last night, I dreamt I was at a long table where 9 bottles of wine were lined up in front of me, and they were all very good and mostly under $15. Wait... it was reality, how wonderful. A large party of 14 wine lovers got together on my patio deck in the lovely evening sun to see if they could ferret out the 2 expensive bottles that I mixed into the cheapos. We were eager soldiers out in the wine wilderness trying desperately to answer the unending question, does price matter.
Here was the line up:

The Whites:

Argentina, Fuzion, Chenin Blanc/Torrontes, 2008 - $9
Australia, Stickleback, Chardonnay/Semillon/Verdelho, 2007 - $15

The Reds:
Portugal\Dao, Meia Encosta, Red Blend, 2006 - 12
USA\Oregon, Erath, Pinot Noir, 2006 - $33
Italy, Flaio, Primitivo\Zinfandel, 2006, $13
USA\Washington, Hogue, Cab\Merlot, 2004, $15
Canada\BC, Osoyoos Larose\Le Grand Vin, Merlot\Cab, 2006, $45
Spain, Pedro Pergolas, Tempranillo\Old Vines, 2005, $11
Italy\Sicily, Montalto, Nero DAvola\Cab, 2007, $12

Out of the 9 bottles presented, BC, Osoyoos Larose won hands down with all 14 of us. Yes, the $45 bottle. This doesn't necessarily mean that price always matters, let me be very clear about that. And the water gets even murkier when you step into the $20 range vs the $50, most definitely. But it's interesting isn't it, if I were to gamble on it and bottle price was no object, then I would buy in the $50 range all the time. However, because this is reality and cash money is the king, I would do some research in the cheap realm and buy the $12 Montalto, Sicilia every time except my birthday.

Here are the wine notes on the top 4:

Osoyoos Larose
- We've got a whole lot of vanilla and cedar blending with great ripe cherries and currents. Tannins are green and acidity is high, perfect for aging. This wine is amazing and if you let it sit for 5 years it'll be even better.
Montalto - Blackcurrent, cloves and ash attack your palette and you love it.
Hogue - A big wine, lots of fruit like plums, smokey tobacco, spice and bitter lemon, great with Bbq Chicken.
Fuzion - The is a wonderful value for sipping on the patio in summer, it packs a flavour punch with big apricots, honey, jasmine nose and a good acidity. It threw sparks with our Spanish cheese, Manchego.

There you have it. Let it be noted that all the wines were enjoyed, especially for their price point vs tastiness, except the Flaio, Meio Encosta and the Stickleback which had few supporters. The Pedro Pergolas was noted by two regular consumers of the beverage as being a substandard bottle. Over and Out.

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