The Grapevine

What Your Wine Shop Customers are Reading: WS 3/31/14

February 20th, 2014

This time around in WS, it’s Bordeaux time, with cover stories on “The Lady of Mouton” and 200 wines from the 2011 vintage rated at 90+. [level-members]

First, the front of the book. I really fascinating chart lays out the connection between what you drink and how you vote. It’s really interesting stuff. Those most likely to vote amongst us tend to drink wine more than spirits. Democrats drink more in general than Republicans. Smoking Loon drinkers tend to be Democrats who can be relied on to vote. Robert Mondavi drinkers tend to be Republicans who can be relied on to show up and pull the voting booth lever. (Or hang a chad, as the case may be.) Drinkers of Don Julio and Jagermeister tend to stay home on election day. Worth a peek on the WS website – and perhaps a share on your social media channels.

Your bottles may not be bottles any more. Truett-Hurst has launched a white and a red packaged in recycled cardboard shaped like bottles. Paper Boy Chardonnay and Paso Robles red blend, both around $15, are screw-cap enclosures with thin plastic liners. There’s a video on the WS site showing how these work – they can even survive an ice bucket for about an hour.

The Spirits column covers flavored whiskeys, which we’ve noted in the past, are among the fastest growing segment of the fast-growing whiskey category. Jack Bettridge does his best to not look down his purist nose at these, noting that things like Jim Beam’s Red Stag, which is flavored with black cherry, are a “no brainer” for mixed drinks like Manhattans and Old Fashioned. I guess, but I’m still looking down my purist nose at these …

Savvy Shoppers looking for Smart Buys might like the Bodegas Aragonesas Garnacha Campo de Borja Coto de Hayas Centenaria 2012 for $17 or the Best Buy Charles & Charles Cabernet Sauvignon-Syrah Columbia Valley Post No. 35 2012 for $12.

James Laube’s column claims that size does matter, but not how you’d think. First off, it’s bottle size we’re talking about. And second, the conventional wisdom about smaller bottles aging prematurely may not be true. Regardless, it’s a difficult theory to test, particularly when considering the realities of the occasional corked bottle. All things considered, proper storage matters more than bottle size.

The 2011 Bordeaux vintage is quite solid in WS’s estimation. So are prices … though surprisingly, there are 17 wines at 90+ for prices ranging from $19 to $35.

California Rhones endured a tough growing season in 2011, but wines are better than expected. Still, the vintage rating overall is 85-88. Better wines and better values are available in other vintages. [/level-members]