Monday, March 30, 2009

Go forth, blindly

I don't usually taste wines blind. But last night, Chris showed up at Brad's with a bag. Two wines were within. Somehow, a 2006 Ridge Monte Bello, previously decanted and rebottled, metamorphosed upon the table, where we were eating thick-cut dry sausage (it's better that way, per Brad) and hacking into some stinky cheeses.

Chris felt best to repair to the balcony to pour his mystery wine into a decanter.

It awaited us on the table, thereafter.

So, accordingly, some time later, with steaks, we poured the mystery wine. I swirled and sniffed. Hm, very young and fruity. But with a richness to it that wasn't of a young wine from a cold climate. It reminded me of the nose on young Côtes du Rhône. I sipped. Smooth, lacking any hard angles, and very pleasant to drink.

"This has got to be Syrah," I opined. (And we'll smooth over the fact that I don't like that grape.)

Brad said, "But no, there's no peppery, garrigue thing going on..."

I shook my head. "It's got to be that! There's a kind of loamy taste there."

We debated the wine's tastes for a while, and finally, Chris showed his hand.

Good god!

Yes, it was Gallo Hearty Burgundy. No vintage noted.

Chris described having drunk this (or watched it being drunk by his parents) many a year ago, before the American wine world's new flowering. A jug wine, now utterly reviled as a distant, benighted drink of yore.

But, amusingly enough, this was more than "correct" to drink. It was even quite proper.

We surmised it might be a blend of Zinfandel and Petite Sirah, perhaps somewhat highly cropped, resulting in lower alcohol levels.

But not a bad mass offering by any stretch of the imagination.

A truly unexpected, wonderfully nostalgic thought!

Bring out the rumaki.


Joe said...

Brutal honesty!

But that doesn't look like Brad's table....

wineman said...

That was indeed my table covered by a place setting.

Winegirl is apparently very jealous that I know how to slice sausage thinner than she can. Wait 'til she sees what I can do with cauliflower.

Sharon said...

Ha! That was the thickest sliced sausage I have ever seen!

D Marra said...

Yep - that's what branded, factory wine is supposed to be: correct and pleasant to drink. Just not "real" or inspiring in any way. Nice one, though!! With all my opinionated opinions about wine, I'm a prime target for being caught out with something like that!!

Ray Walker said...

brilliant honesty! I imagine many would be taken by that one as well. Myself included. :)

From Bottle to Box said...

Great story. I've been hunting for cheap wine my entire life. It's the hunt that keeps me going!