Archive for May 3rd, 2013

May 3, 2013

Chateau Ste. Michelle Indian Wells Red Blend, 2010

Red blend.  How banal.  Compact car.  Pay phone. Simple syrup.  Common thread.  Could there be anything less interesting than a wine proclaiming it’s a blend?  At least the French are clever in how they present blends.  Bordeaux is, by definition, a blend.  But I digress.

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The humble boring descriptor on this label belies something spectacular: A gorgeous blend.  Amazing value.  Superb flavour.  Amazing depth considering.  Fruity, jammy, spicy.  We got gas at Fred Meyer and picked up a bottle in Bellingham on a whim.  $13.99.  Why not try it out with some BBQ?  It was only $14?

 

Vineyards across BC’s Okanagan aspire to create a wine like this.  They often fail but when they succeed you will pay $40, $50 or more, and when they do create wines this good they get 90 points and they sell out fast.  You can get in your car, drive to Fred Meyer (of all places!) and get three bottles of the CSM blend for the price of one Canadian half decent red.  That’s what many wine lovers in BC call the three-to-one and although incredibly common you rarely read about it in the Canadian wine review columns: Three wonderful, satisfying, delectable reds, easy access in the US, versus one hard-to-source expensive bottle in Canada.  And you don’t read about it much because the wine reviewers don’t pay exorbitant prices for wine and rarely run into access issues the way consumers do.  So, yes, that’s a dig at a) Canadian liquor taxes, b) the reviewers in their wine cloister, c) the wine establishment, and d) the consumers who don’t complain.

 

So, since this review is as much a digression and rant as a review, let’s toast Mark Hicken who, almost on his lonesome, goes to bat for the consumer at his excellent Free the Wine site.

 

Price: $13.99 USD.  $13.99!  Thank you Fred Meyer!

 

Market Liquidity: Like your most comfortable t-shirt.

May 3, 2013

Buehler Russian River Valley Chardonnay, 2010

002Something I really wanted to like, from the label alone!  I read a high-praise review somewhere or someone served it at a dinner and it was magic or the very friendly clerk in Liberty on Commercial (oddly, the most organized of their stores) praised it.  Somehow we had a preconception of loving it.  But all of us found it without much character.  It doesn’t have a steely edge, it doesn’t have a brazen oakiness, it doesn’t have a buttery lusciousness, it’s just a little tiny bit of all the things that often drive drinkers to choose Chardonnay.  Maybe without preconceptions you will love it?

 

It might be the exact wine for a middle of the road crowd, a crowd pleaser.  But it fell flat at our dinner table.  Quite floral.  Pricey to boot.

 

Price $27.99 at Liberty

 

Market Liquidity: Just not in our wheelhouse.