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Category Archives: $10 wine

Wine of the week: Alliance Loire La Clotière Rose 2012

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La Clotiere roseOne of the Wine Curmudgeon’s best friends in the wine writing business hates rose. This is something I have never understood, because his palate is impeccable in almost every other way. He is even open minded when he tastes Tennessee wine, hardly something that one sees very often.

So, Tom, the La Clotiere rose ($10, purchased, 12%), made with the gamay grape in the Loire region in France, is for you. It’s not a dry white wine that happens to be pink, something you insist is the case with most roses. Rather, since it’s made with the same grape that’s used for Beaujolais, it’s soft like that style of red wine. But because it’s much more than just a red wine that’s pink, there is also an almost tropical fruit flavor along with the cherry, and the softness is balanced by a bright acidity that gives the wine a surprising freshness. And, of course, it’s dry.

The La Clotiere rose is an excellent example of the quality and value that one can find in modern rose, and is exactly the kind of wine to review in anticipation of tomorrow’s annual rose extravaganza. I stumbled on it while looking for something else, and bought it because it’s almost impossible to find a badly made $10 rose anymore. Highly recommended, and a candidate for the 2015 $10 Hall of Fame.

How much should an everyday wine cost?

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everyday wine costThe Wine Curmudgeon, working through his tasting notes on CellarTracker (the blog’s unofficial wine inventory web app) found this January comment for the 2007 Robert Mondavi Oakville cabernet sauvignon: “Nice every day wine at this price point.” The price? $45. Is that how much an everyday wine should cost?

Which raises one of the most contentious issues in wine, and one that doesn’t get enough discussion: How much should an everyday wine cost? This CellarTracker user (and no, I’m not going to name names) figures that an everyday wine runs the cost of a car payment each month, $315, and you only get to drink wine seven week nights a month to ring up that total. Even Eric Asimov at the New York Times, whose savvy is as good as it gets, figures discerning drinkers need to spend as much as half of that, in the $18 or $20 a bottle range.

My views on this are well known: One reason Americans don’t drink more wine is that we’re told we have to spend too much money to do so, and so we don’t. Or, as the guy who checked me out in a grocery store several years ago said, when he saw that I had bought several bottles of $10 wine: “Why are you spending so much money on wine?” And he didn’t say it nicely, either.

But my views aren’t the only ones. Hence this poll, courtesy of Ranker (the blog’s unofficial polling app): How much should an everyday wine cost? Click on the respective price range — those of you who get the blog via email may have come to the site to vote. The poll will run until May 22, and I’ll recap the results on May 24. Vote away, and don’t be shy about leaving your opinion in the comments.

Lists on Ranker

Wine of the week: Pedroncelli friends.red 2012

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Wine of the week: Pedroncelli friends.red 2012The Wine Curmudgeon, despite his crusade for wine labels that look like they belong in the 21st century, was more than wary about this wine. “friends.red”? Talk about chalk on a blackboard.

Still, the wine comes from Pedroncelli, one of my favorite producers and one that has long cared about quality cheap wine, so I was willing to give the benefit of the doubt. For which anyone who buys this will be grateful, because we’re talking $10 Hall of Fame quality.

The Friends ($10, sample, 13.9%) — sorry, I can’t type it with the dot red — is a red blend with mostly merlot and syrah, the kind of wine I wish more California producers were interested in making. That means it’s not only priced correctly, but interesting, with more than syrupy fruit flavors. It’s surprisingly rich and full,  probably from the barrel aging, and something  that rarely happens with wine at this price. Look for red berry jamminess, soft tannins, and the correct amount of acidity for this style of wine. Plus, there’s no residual sugar, which I thought I tasted in the previous vintage.

Doing a Mother’s Day barbecue? Then this fits the bill. It will pair with almost anything, and it’s soft enough for people who might not like red wine and will still please those of us who do. Highly recommended.

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