Rode in on the Greyhound, I’ll be walkin’ out if I go

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.

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