Due Regazze Vineyards (JPB's Vines in Cameron Park, CA)

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Comfort Wine

We’ve all heard the phrase “comfort food” but has anyone ever heard of “comfort wine”? I know I haven’t so I’m claiming it to be my catch phrase contribution to society! The best way to define “comfort wine” is a wine that makes you feel at home. Envision yourself sitting in your living room next to a warm fire with the TV remote control in one hand, and a big goblet of red wine in the other. Yes, autumn has arrived and winter is around the corner. People in the Northern Hemisphere are preparing for shorter days, colder weather and the beginning of the holiday season. Now is the time to find the crock pot, dig out the chili and stew recipes, and load up on some hearty red wines.

With Chardonnay weather behind us (also known as summer), now is the time to start picking up some red wine that can last you through the winter. There are still some pretty decent bargains but my sources are telling me that favorable pricing may be ending soon. Consumers have worked through most of the excess production of the 2006 and 07 vintages and the 2010 and 2011 grape crops have yielded significantly less fruit. While I don’t think there will ever be a shortage of wine to buy, I think we have found some stability in pricing. Below are some wines I feel best exemplify the concept of comfort wine. Some I’ve never tasted but have been suggested by readers of the Winologist blog. Most are more than reasonably priced and for the first time ever, some are from outside the U.S. Whether you decide to go with these selections or not, there is no better time to reload the cellar than now. And if you hear anyone using the phrase,” comfort wine”, you will at least know where it came from..

Napa Smith 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon- The good news is this wine is as good as it gets for the price point of $18.99. Great vintage year for California Cab and this monster offers wonderful robust flavor and a long detailed finish. The bad news is this winery is out of business. There are about 300 cases left. Contact Raj at Lakeforestwines@yahoo.com

2010 Cercius Cotes du Rhone Villages Visan- This French Rhone Style blend(85% Grenache and 15% Syrah) scores 93 points with Robert Parker and sells for under $17 dollars a bottle(special deal for a case: 13.99 a bottle). While I have not tasted this wine, my go-to guy for old world wines says this is a steal. There are 5000 cases available in the U.S.. If interested call Brian at 704-996-0007.

2005 Chateau Labat Cru Bourgeois- There is true irony in recommending this wine. My buddy Crusty Old Mick bleeds big bold California Cabernet. While he and his family spend a semester in London, Mick discovered there is some place called the Bordeaux Region located in France. They seem to be able to make pretty good wine! The Chateau Labat has become a staple for him. Perhaps even more impressive, is the price point: Under $20.00 U.S. For more details, go to www.winedoctor.com.

Mateo 2007 Old Vine Zinfandel- Not everyone enjoys the intense flavor of old vine Zin but at $7 dollars a bottle its worth trying to find out if it is for you. This Sonoma County product is something that was also recommended to me by a reader (Thanks Craig Stive!) but I have yet to try it. I only bring it to your attention because at this price point, it probably won’t be around too long.

Carmel Road 2005 Pinot Noir- Another recommendation from Lake Forest Wines for under $15 dollars. While I can’t say it is the best Pinot I tasted, it certainly is a great value, especially for a Pinot. I recommend opening this bottle up and allow some air to get to it. This was truly a different wine once it opened up. I Picked up some cherry flavor along with a hint of toasted almond in the finish.

Guenoc 2009 Victorian Claret-The story on this Northern California Coast Bordeaux style blend is it was made for a company on the east coast who went bankrupt. In an effort to get rid of it, Guenoc Winery is pricing it to move! Lake Forest is selling it for $13 bucks a bottle and it’s worth every penny. It would be better if it aged another year or so but that did not stop me from buying a case. As always, the challenge will be saving a few bottles for that long.

next time JPB

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