The Wine Curmudgeon tries, if nothng else, to be fair. I spend a lot of time not only tasting wine, but re-tasting it. Was my initial impression correct? Am I being too hard on a particular wine? Is the wine better than I thought it was?
Which is why this review is here. Big House Red, for those of you who haven't had to read this before, was perhaps the finest line of cheap wine in the United States. Then, in one of those things that happens and that I never seem to be able to accept (bands breaking up, ballplayers being traded), Big House owner Randall Grahm sold the label in 2006 to The Wine Group. The wine hasn't been the same since.
Or has it? I've tasted most of the vintages since the sale, and they seemed lacking -- missing something that they had when Grahm made them. But other people, including George Taber in "A Toast to Bargain Wines," don't feel that way, and Big House gets generally good reviews. So I decided to taste the wine one more time. More, after the jump:
But I wasn't overwhelmed. There's a difference between a wine that is OK and a wine that makes you stop after the first sip and smile (even at the $10 level). The latter are wines that get into the $10 Hall of Fame; the Big House, though, didn't make me smile. It inhabits that grocery store middle ground between the Two-buck Chucks and Barefoots, which are cheap, and the Bogles and Vitianos, which are more than just cheap. There's nothing wrong with that, of course. But the Wine Curmudgeon has always had higher standards.