Category:A Featured Post

The Wine Curmudgeon on Dallas TV

And what difference does it make that they misspelled my name?

Because it’s the message that matters, and the message comes across loud and clear: “When you start out, all you ?re looking for is taste, if you like it it ?s a good wine, if you don ?t, you don ?t even have to finish drinking it. You can pour it down the sink. ?

Enjoy the video, and a tip o’ the WC’s fedora to Channel 11 and everyone who helped make it. And it has been at least a day since I mentioned that the cheap wine book would make a terrific holiday gift, hasn’t it?

Mini-reviews 54: Beaujolais Nouveau, Cousino-Macul, McManis, 14 Hands

Reviews of wines that don ?t need their own post, but are worth noting for one reason or another. Look for it on the final Friday of each month.

? Georges Dub uf Beaujolais Nouveau 2013 ($8, purchased, 12%): Much better this vintage — less banana and more oomph, including acidity that hasn’t been there for several years. It’s still not as grapey as it should be, but decent enough cheap wine. Good to see that this annual tradition is worth buying again.

? Cousi o-Macul Cabernet Sauvignon Antiguas Reservas 2010 ($17, sample, 14%). Chilean red has more in common with California Central Coast style, meaning lots of juicy black fruit and a little herbal aroma, than it does with many Chilean wines.

? McManis Viognier 2012 ($12, purchased, 13.5%): Oily, very fruity (peaches?), and a little bitter on the back — decent enough, but not near the quality of the rest of McManis’ wines. California and viognier continue to be a difficult combination.

? 14 Hands Hot to Trot White 2010 ($10, purchased, 13%): Nowhere near the quality of the 14 Hands red blend, this Washington state effort has an unpleasant finish and is uneven and disjointed, with an odd fruitiness. Very disappointing.

Wine of the week: Ch teau de Campuget rose 2012

Wine of the week:  Ch teau de Campuget rose 2012The Wine Curmudgeon is putting his keyboard where his metrics are. If rose is really undergoing a resurgence, then this post should be a hit with visitors and not end up in the cyber-ether wasteland where most of my rose reviews go.

And why not? The Campuget ($10, purchased, 13%) is an exceptional rose, especially for the price, made with syrah from the Rhone region of France. Best yet, it’s the kind of wine you can drink all day during Thanksgiving — tasty, fresh, relatively low in alcohol, and something that will pair with almost anything the holiday dishes up (pun sort of intended).

This is a traditional French rose, which means a little cranberry fruit and that the wine is as dry as the proverbial martini. It was exactly what I was hoping for when I bought it. Highly recommended, and a candidate for the 2014 $10 Hall of Fame.

Winebits 309: Thanksgiving 2013

Thanksgiving wine advice from around the cyber-ether, but not including the site that said picking the wrong wines would ruin the Thanksgiving meal. I guess I need to send that person a copy of the cheap wine book.

? The always tasteful Ray Isle at Food & Wine, with two roses — yes, two, and bless you, Ray — and nothing that costs more than $20. My favorite suggestion is the Adami Garb l Prosecco ($15), which he notes is direr than most Proseccos.

? Eric Asimov at the New York Times: “No matter how much you decide to spend on wine, serving myriad sweet and savory foods to a large group is no time to fuss about matching particular bottles with individual flavors; it ?s pointless.” Plus, none of the suggestions costs more than $25, and he says it’s OK if you don’t want to spend that much. Is it any wonder he’s the best wine writer in the U.S.? My favorite suggestion? New York’s Fox Run cabernet franc, made by the very talented Peter Bell.

? How about wines from American winemaking families for this most of American of holidays, suggests Katie Kelley Bell at Forbes? This is not the usual trendy California lineup, either, but includes choices from Virginia and the Pacific Northwest. Her choices are a little pricey, like the Gundlach-Bundschu merlot, but almost all are wines worth drinking.

Expensive wine 56: Torbreck The Steading 2009

steadingOne of the surprises when I wrote this year’s holiday wine trends post was the resurgence in Australian wine. The Aussies have been down for so long, and seemed to have so far to go to come back, that it was one of the last things that I expected.

Yet, on reflection, I’ve seen evidence of that over the past year, on both the low (Yalumba’s $10 wines) and high ends (the d’Arenberg Dead Arm). These are wines that acknowledge the excesses of the past but have found a way to make Australian wine that tastes not like someone thinks it should, but as it should, given the terroir the country’s winemakers have to work with.

The most recent example is The Steading ($38, sample, 15%), a shiraz that mostly lives up to the hype on the winery website: “The Steading is perhaps the most important wine within the Torbreck portfolio. …” It’s powerful, but not offensively so, as was the style in the past when 15 percent shirazes didn’t care what they tasted like as long as they were 15 percent shirazes.

It’s a dark, earthy and peppery wine, and thorougly intriguing. Missing was the blast of black fruit that I expected, but it was still fruity (blackberry?), as a wine of this kind should be. And, though the label says 15 percent alcohol, it didn’t taste like it. This is a a big wine that needs food, and would not be out of place at most holiday tables.

Thanksgiving wine 2013

Thanksgiving wine 2013Thanksgiving could be the greatest wine holiday in the world, if only because there aren’t any rules about what to drink. Or, at least in the enlightened wine drinker’s world, there aren’t any rules. Why should there be? The holiday celebrates the good fortune we enjoy in the second decade of the 21st century, and that we are able to share that good fortune with family and friends. So the wine police are not welcome.

Guidelines for holiday wine buying are here; this year ?s suggestions are after the jump:

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