The Wine Curmudgeon has written more than 200 wines of the week since I started the blog, and none has been a bigger surprise than this. Cellar No. 8 wines are about as ordinary as possible, the kind that defines grocery store wine. The reds all seem to taste the same, regardless of the varietal ? lots of sweet fruit, some fake oak, and the kind of tannins that are there only if you pay careful attention.
And then there is the Eight ($10, sample), which is a stunner. This red blend, made with the usual suspects, is grocery store wine the way it should be. It has legitimate tannins and balanced acid and just enough red fruit ? no cherry bomb here — to round everything out. Yes, it ?s simple, but it's clean and professional, and that's what you want in a simple $10 wine (which is probably closer to $8 in many locations). Drink this slighlty chilled on its own or with barbecue and burgers.
Given this brand ?s track record, I almost didn ?t taste it. But the Wine Curmudgeon is nothing if not stubborn, so I figured I ?d have a glass and use the rest of the bottle for cooking. Stupid me. What ?s the most important lesson in the wine reviewing? Taste the wine before you judge it.