Wine review: Chateaux La Croix Chantecaille 2005

image Some of the most overpriced wine in the world comes from Bordeaux, thanks to the weak dollar, wine snobs, and speculators. (Yes, people speculate in wine, just like they do real estate and pork bellies). So when the Wine Curmudgeon finds a red Bordeaux that ?s more or less a value, it ?s something to write about.

I found Chateaux La Croix Chantecaille (about $29)when I was putting together a Two Wine Guys event (shameless plug alert) as a birthday present for someone who wanted to do Bordeaux. We did three wines, all terrific, but this was the only one that was worth the money.

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Green wine, part I: What is it?

This is the first of two parts looking at green wine and environmentally friendly ways to produce and package wine. Part II, which looks at how green wine tastes, is here.

Each week, I get a handful of news releases detailing the wonders of some producer ?s latest foray into environmentally friendly wine. Almost always, the releases focus on the packaging and almost never on the wine itself. Their point, it seems, is that we should focus on the product ?s carbon footprint (a way to measure how much in the way of greenhouse gases ordinary things produce), instead of the product.

This is not a good idea. People drink wine because they like the way it tastes, not because it comes in a box that meets European Union specifications. In addition, the entire concept of what ?s green and what isn ?t is so unclear that some green products could be worse for the environment than some non-green products.

Green wine has a role to play, but only if it tastes good. If it doesn ?t, then consumers will ignore it — regardless of how many trees the packaging saves.

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Wine of the week: Bogle Petite Sirah 2006

image The Wine Curmudgeon will not forget the first time he drank this, years ago, when he was just a little cranky and starting out as a professional wine drinker. I bought it by mistake, not realizing there was a difference between petite sirah and syrah. And who says mistakes don ?t pay off?

Very little has changed with this wine over the years. It ?s still cheap, about $10, and still good ? peppery, dark and fruity, but not as showy as shiraz.  It ?s like the person who shows up at work every day and does a fine job, but never gets ahead because they don ?t run around high five-ing everyone during meetings.

Drink this with end of summer barbecue, sloppy, tomatoe-y Italian food, and even something as simple as meat loaf.

Wine scores: The Wine Trials author strikes again

Thursday update: The cyber-ether is atwitter with reaction, much of it supporting The Wine Magazine. The magazine has slammed Goldstein, calling him a publicity seeker and worse. One of the best discussions is at Dr. Vino.

The Wine Curmudgeon is in awe. I knew Robin Goldstein, whose Wine Trials has been chronicled here several times (and is one of the most popular posts), was a clever man. But this clever?

He pulled one over on The Wine Magazine, getting it to give a fictitious restaurant one of the magazine's awards for the quality of its wine list. It's one thing that a restaurant that doesn't exist won an award. But the best part? The fake restaurant's "reserve wine list" was mostly some of the magazine's lowest-scoring Italian wine from the past 20 years.

Scores don't matter. Right, Robin?

Wine scores: One more time

The Wine Curmudgeon can ?t believe he missed this one: Retailers sometimes put the wrong scores on wines. A Washington Post spot check in January found that 25 percent of 100 displays did not truthfully represent the wines they advertised.

Shocking? Perhaps. But not surprising. I have spent a lot of time lately discussing wine scores, and this is just another fault. And, believe it or not, I ?m not the only one who feels that scores are a scourge on the Republic. Others are out there, fighting the good fight ?

? The Wine Camp Blog, which calls itself a wine free zone.

? My pal, W.R. Tish, the Abraham Lincoln for all of us who oppose scores.

? The great Jancis Robinson, whose piece discussing scores is among the best I ?ve seen.

? The legendary Dan Berger. Not everyone has the guts to write that ?I refer to the prejudice that some reviewers have for lower-priced wine. Their reasoning goes: ?If the wine isn't selling for a lot of money, it's probably not very good. So it probably deserves a score of 85 or so. Now let's taste it. ? ?

Tuesday tidbits 40

? Texas case at center of wine shipping dispute: Expect to hear the results of an appeal by wine wholesalers later this year or early next challenging a federal court decision that overturned a Texas law that restricts Internet wine sales. In January, a federal judge said that the 2005 Supreme Court decision that allowed wineries to sell to out of state customers should also apply to retailers. Currently, most states forbid retailers not in that state from selling wine to state residents. And, just to show how weird the world is, the lawyer representing the retailer group is Ken Starr. Yes, that Ken Starr.

? Wine scores again: A Wine Curmudgeoner forwarded this, after my post about an alternative to wine scores. Beverages & More, a leading national retailer, has a unique approach to scores ? the chain does its own. The article does a nice job discussing the benefits and dangers of this approach, though it overlooks the solution: Get rid of scores.

? Wine and Facebook: The Wine Curmudgeon, who is reasonably cyber adept (wouldn ?t be here otherwise), will admit that he that he doesn ?t quite understand Facebook, the social networking site. So when I see that Four Napa and Sonoma producers are launching a Facebook campaign for green wine, I ?m intrigued. Can it really change our behavior? Or is this just some marketing fluff to get mentions like this?