Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Cheap and ageable....who knew?

We have a tendency to hoard and age our expensive bottles, scouring over reviews to see when the peak time to drink them will be, yet we drink cheap wines too young and whine about how we can’t get any good cheap wines. Well, last weekend I had a wine that reminded me we CAN age cheaper wines too!!!

In Dec 2007 I wrote about how the new (then) blend releases from Mondavi and Kendall Jackson surprised me. Last weekend, for wine club’s Poor Man’s Night, I picked up a bottle of the 2006 Robert Mondavi Vinetta – Schucks (local grocery store chain, for the non-Lou readers) had it on sale for 9.99 and they had a 2006 and some 2008. Well, I picked up the 2006 and low and behold, it was really good! We opened the bottle around 4:50 and had an ounce to determine if we should decant, decided against it, left it uncorked and then tasted it again around 6. It was surprisingly good, especially stacked up against its younger but similarly priced competition. A lot of cheap cabernets have had really strong vanilla undertones lately-I think it’s the winemaker’s way to cover up lack of quality wine making by over-toasting the barrels, so this was a nice change. Good dark fruit, cassis....

So here’s what I’m thinking – next time you want to buy a couple bottles of $50 wine, go buy a bottle of something like this, with enough cabernet it in to age (over 70%), let it decant for a couple hours or aerate it, see what happens. If it softens a bit and there’s not a dominating vanilla (or other) flavor, then grab a case. (I have found, so far, that if you keep a wine with a dominating flavor, especially vanilla, it doesn’t ever go away…..but if you like smores, at least you can drink it with that!)

Or, if you happen to see the 2006 Vinetta at your local grocery store or wine shop, pick up a bottle, its ready to drink now!!!

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