Everything but the kitchen sink in 99 Point Wine

April 16, 2012

Wow!! A brown bag bonanza for Pinot Noir guzzlers flashed across my palate at a recent tasting. If you are one who enjoys inexpensive, valuable Pinot Noir, Matthew Fritz 2010, Acacia A 2010, Sean Minor Carneros 2010 and Bigvine Central Coast 2009 can all be found under $20. I chose each from a tasting of 47 pinots priced under $25. Good price value.

Robus Parkowania is hustling a wine named 99 Point Wine.  Check this out! "We’re not really selling the wine; in fact we don’t even make the wine, well not exactly. This is bulk juice that we’ve blended with our careful curated starter wines to match the palate preferences of most consumers. We’re really lucky actually, since there is an allowance for matter other than grapes in wine making, we were able to get some vineyard workers to drop a few jars of Smuckers into the fermenting vats, along with some Kenya AA coffee beans, a Phillies Blunt and several blueberry smoothies. On occasion, a ham bone might have been used, but we really weren’t very successful with our Syrah,” Robus added, almost as an afterthought. He also has a 22L product named 88 Point Wine.

Robus Parkowania, (I think Porkomania would be more appropriate) yeah, I’m profiling here, sounds like a Bernie “Madoff with your money” guy to me. He finished his commentary with, "A single case of 99 Points will run a retailer $600,  20 percent discount on 50 cases, all the way up to 110 percent on 1,000 cases.” When queried about 110 percent Robus replied, "We’re making it up on volume, but the real underlying strategy is stores will tie up all their storage with 99 Points! Therefore other products would have to give up the valuable shelf space.” Says John: Let me get this straight. If I buy 1,000 cases for $600,000 you will rebate me $660,000? Anyone sampling the wine, please send me a critique. Thanks!!   A fellow I once knew named Pete Chudzick owned a bar in Holiday Valley, in Ellicottville, N.Y. His motto, “We cheat the other guy and pass the savings along to you.”

Received mail that Chateau Branon Pessac Leognan 2009 is on sale at $120/bottle. The release mentioned the wine was rated 98 points and was a 500-case production, making it rare as Chateau Le Pin. Although that may be so, RP rated 43, 2009 Bordeaux, 98 points, 18 at 100 points. Hold your fire folks; these prices will fall.

The wine conglomerates are now mucking up the beautiful boutique New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc (SB) market. Shades of Cali wine, Batman!!! Following is a synopsized review of a Wine Access piece.  NZ currently unloads millions of $8/bottle SB cases, most of which are produced from the grapes of  prolific vines that are struggling to support the weight of their clusters. The guys from WA aren’t into promoting the dumbed down and mass marketed. “We might as well go back to the Home Depot to hawk tape measures. At least those things don't lead to sulfur headaches.” Yeah, Buddy.

There was a time when I anticipated tasting, then buying the best of the small production Kiwi releases, lovely wine with tropical concentration and zesty crispness. You may remember my proselytizing inexpensive Cloudy Bay before it was famous. The NZ SB seemed to be getting better each year. Then the conglomerates took over. The writers thoroughly trashed the “Big Biz’ takeover down under. One good line had to do with their efforts to reduce the cat's pee nose; far too scatological for these pages. I’m letting you know now before you go shopping for summer porch pleasers. Great, inexpensive NZ SB is getting more difficult to find. Should put out a review in April. Hold fire until then.

Tanzer and Michael Madrigale, sommelier for Daniel Boulud in New York City,  are heavily promoting Talley Vineyards Chardonnay Estate Arroyo Grande Valley, as the best Central Coast chard in a decade. I found some for $28/bottle. Lovely golden color, aromas of tropical fruits and ripe citrus, with new wood vanilla, it opens on the palate to pineapple, lemon and hints of orange rind riding a balanced but zesty tannin, acid frame though a persistent two-minute finish that is in good balance for a new wine. Drinking well now, a few years in your cellar will show great improvement. You should be able to find a case under $300. It is refreshing to find some Cali guys producing great unique Chards again.

I hope all had a wonderful Passover and Easter. Renewal will enhance your lives!

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