It’s Memorial Day weekend. Enjoy
This blog is what I call “this and that about wine”. In the last month I have read a few articles on wine that I found interesting.
We all walk around a retail store like Total Wine lost in a sea of wine reviews. A recent article in the WSJ brought the issue front and center. This blog will take a quick look at simplifying all the noise. Second will be a short piece on Sauvignon Blanc looking at the broad array of flavors that make this wine a challenge at least for me. And lastly a few bargain wines for masses at the barbecue.
What’s up with wine ratings.
Wine reviewers continue to grow in number and their impact on wine sales is substantial. That said, not all reviews are equal and the standards they use vary greatly.
When walking the isles of Total Wine you will find an array of unknown rating specialists. Total Wine is a major player in buying up large quantities of wine and reviewing them internally. This might result in just a little bias. I tend to avoid all wines so reviewed.
“Mr. Suckling noted that he had rated some 10% of the more than 17,000 wines he and his associates tasted last year as worthy of 95 points or more, which he defined as wines that made him want to “drink the entire bottle,” he said.” Mr. Suckling’s percentage was double that of the team of reviewers at Vinous, who rated only 5% of the roughly 23,000 wines they tasted in the past year 96 points and higher (WSJ Article ). Having tried a few wines rated by Mr. Suckling I tend to avoid wines he likes.
The article reaffirmed my own impressions.
- WineSpectator provides a reliable review
- Robert Parker – while he is really good, but do understand they have a tendency to over rate cheap wines, that tend to be big and juicy. We are talking an under $15 bottle of wine so big and juicy works for a barbecue or every night meal. I have purchased a number of his 92 rated wines and enjoyed them understanding what they are. Great value.
- Vinous is a new name to me. They receive strong positive feedback from wine merchants.
- Wine Enthusiast – They are usually 3 or so points higher than WineSpectator. To me this can mean a buy or no buy depending on price point.
- One last note of caution. Some wine merchants have been known to inflate a score when displayed and if the year on the talking points and the wine do not match it may be meaningless for your purchase.
Sauvignon Blanc is not a wine purchased often in our household. A recent article on the wine was interesting and could expand our pallet. The flavors in a Sauvignon Blanc change a little with price point in many cases. A glass of grapefruit or lemon just is not my idea of a sipping wine. A wine with pineapple, marmalade and key lime could be very interesting.
A quick outline of the sauvignon flavors at various price points.
93 rated wine @ $30 per bottle: pineapple, marmalade and Key lime.
90 rated under $20 – Pear, Melon, and Key lime
88 rated under $15 – Lemon, lime, and grapefruit.
92 rated @ mid $20s – honeysuckle, marmalade, core of apricot and lemon zest.
90 rated $15 range – varies from Melon and Tangerine to a lime and Ruby grapefruit.
87 point Kirkland – Yup a Costco deal at $7 – Peach / Melon and Citrus
My recommendation is to take a minute or two and read about the wine you are about to purchase. Make sure your desires and the wine are a match.
Wine for the Barbecue –
- Kirkland Sauvignon – at $7 what can I say. Try any number of the Kirkland wine especially for the masses.
- Excelsior – Cabernet – South Africa –juicy Cab rated 88 for $10 bought a bottle at Whole Foods – not bad off dry.
- Seghesio Zin – 2016 – rated 93 wild berry, cinnamon and licorice. Usually sold at Costco with over 100,000 cases in the market – if you like Zin you will really like this wine.
- Any of the 14 Hands wine from Washington State. All under $12. White and red. All produced in large case lots.