My wine co-blogger and dear scientific colleague, Erleichda, and I had hoped to bring you an account of the wines enjoyed at our recent meetup. Erleichda and I have recently had the good fortune of regaining support for our scientific interactions and had a face-to-face conference of the principals for planning and reviewing our collaborative studies. As you would (and should) expect, getting the two of us together would also include the enjoyment of various wines and culinary delights.
However, circumstances beyond our control led to our group being treated to an evening at an establishment whose wine selection could be viewed generously as undistinguished. I believe that Erleichda’s direct quote was, “Wines for the beer-drinking frat crowd.” (To be fair, the beer selection was equally bland.). You know it was bad when I tell you that Erleichda drank iced tea the rest of the evening after the first glass of wine because he “didn’t want to waste the energy of his alcohol metabolizing enzymes.”
But please don’t misunderstand us: we are not being wine snobs.
Instead, we mean to suggest that an establishment that needs to have a limited selection of inexpensive wines can do so quite effectively without compromising on quality. In fact, today’s weekly “Tastings” column by Wall Street Journal wine writers Dorothy Gaiter and John Brecher, their latest sampling of Italy’s Montepulciano d’Abruzzo wines opened with this statement:
We just completed a tasting in which every one of our favorites rated Good/Very Good or better and cost $11 or less. Ka-ching!
In fact, their second-ranked wine of the tasting, Castellana (Cantina Miglianico) 2006, can be had for $5.99 retail price (750 mL bottle). That was the same price charged of Erleichda and me at our ill-fated meet-up for a glass of substandard wine. Dottie and John ‘s top choice of the tasting, Valle Reale “Vigne Nuove” 2005, goes for the equally reasonable price of $9.95.
So, even if you’re in the restaurant business and forced to buy from a high-volume distributor, you can still provide reasonable, low-priced wines to your customers. A previous issue of The Friday Fermentable covered our unscientific survey of ScienceBlogs bloggers for their favorite inexpensive wines. More recently, my own <$12 surprises at the supermarket have been the 2005 merlot and 2006 chardonnay from Bogle Vineyards, a perennial “best-buy” brand, and the viognier and old-vine zinfandel from Cline.
I would’ve gladly drank these over the wines offered to us that would make the term “proletariat swill” an affront to the proletariat.