I was going to rant today. I’ve been on a bit of a roll. And then I thought “Self, let’s talk about wine.” After all I have been referred to as a “Wine Blogger” and that moniker has gotten me some amazing access, which I most certainly appreciate. So the least I could do is to write a little about the juice.
My pals at Pleasant Hill Wine Merchants, who’ve gotten their ass handed to them by this economy but are still fighting on, came up with a good little wine a month or so ago. This little sweetheart retails for about the same as a sixer and a bag o’ chips. It’s a Lodi wine, which of course you cannot mention Lodi without me singing, albeit off key. I have no idea who makes this stuff. Oops! Hello The Google. Delicato Family Vineyards. Funny, they had a highly rated Merlot a number of years ago that was selling for like $6 a bottle. I thought that one was green.
I know it’s named 181 for the clone of Merlot. It’s a nice little cheapo Merlot that didn’t go see Sideways. (This is why I can be called a wine blogger). The 181 is a ballsy Merlot. Miles would have approved.
It’s got deep dark fruit, vanilla, sultry spices and a nice tannic finish. All for around $12 a bottle. I know what you’re thinking and you’re right. Even your broke ass can afford this one. And that’s why I’m drinking it. It’s a wine my broke ass can afford of remarkable quality for the price. And finding a great underspriced wine is so much better than not drinking.
They also make a 337 Cabernet Sauvignon. It’s also a cheapo Lodi wine and it’s also of exceptional quality for the price. I’m not going to lay this bad boy down for 7 or 8 years, but for $11 a bottle, I’m going to stay pleasantly numb. This one needs a little spin through the Vinturi but after that it’s got a rich balanced attack on the palate. It’s got a little sweetness on the finish that will trick you, a little like a Zinfandel, but really kind of typical for Lodi wines. It’s got ripe cherries on the front palate, then it visits a little cedar and vanilla as it finishes with that surprising hint of sweetness. At $11 a bottle I can drink this one all night every night.
And then last Saturday night I lost my mind and reached into the Wine Dog Cellar and out I came with a 2002 Rombauer Proprietor’s Selection Merlot. Actually, I’d lost my mind when I decided to leave that or lose that in the cellar for this long. Rombauer’s style of big fruit forward wines don’t lend themselves normally to long cellaring, not that 9 years is normally considered long. It’s ions in Rombauer wines. I got a pleasant surprise. First, I hadn’t lost it. It was still alive in spite of most recommendations that it is to be consumed prior to 2010. I don’t think it had much more life in it, but it was still alive. It had a lot of high heat that I know it didn’t have back when I bought it in 2004. It still had nice plums and a hint of vanilla, but had now developed a nice finish that isn’t so typical of Rombauer wines. I’m glad I opened it, I should have done so about 4 years ago, but it was a nice change up to my steady diet of cheap wine these days.