The Wine Curmudgeon is not making this up. Writes the Spectator's Tim Fish about Smoking Loon syrah, a fairly typical grocery store wine: "I thought it was juicy and lively and surprisingly complex for the price, with notes of cherry, cranberry and spice. ... How, I wondered, can an $8 bottle of Syrah be this tasty?"
I truly, honestly try not to make fun of the Spectator and its approach to wine. I realize it gets old after a while, and regular visitors here want to read something else. But then they do stuff like this -- what's a Wine Curmudgeon to do? So consider this a public service to my colleagues on the higher end of the wine writing business: Smoking Loon makes about 1 million cases of wine a year, and it's what we like to call widely available.
The other interesting thing about Fish's Smoking Loon post? The comments (well, some of them) don't rip Fish for recommending an $8 wine. Maybe we're making progress after all.