Bottoms Up

Beer and wine in the Bay Area and beyond

“The Wine Trials” provides good finds

By Jessica Yadegaran
Thursday, August 28th, 2008 at 12:43 pm in Uncategorized.

So, now that I’m a little obsessed with this trixter, Robin Goldstein, I decided to pick up his latest book, “The Wine Trials” ($14.95, fearlesscritic.com). It’s a guide to 100 wines under $15 that outscored $50 to $150 counterparts.

Among the Trader Joe’s usual suspects (Bogle, House Wine, Parducci, Rosemount, any Vinho Verde), Goldstein and his team of brown-bagging blind tasters uncovered a few gems for me. I was particularly interested in discovering Old World buys, since I know the New World value market pretty darn well. Good thing Goldstein ranks the wines in categories like “light, Old World reds under $15″ and “heavy Old World whites under $15.” It’s and easy and quick way to find exactly what you’re looking for in taste and price.

So find I did: Spain’s 2006 Campo Viejo Rioja Crianza ($9), which ranked #2 of 39 for Old World Reds under $15 is totally old school, super earthy and takes you away to rustic cobblestone streets. The blend of Tempranillo, Garnacha and Mazuelo pairs beautifully with lamb and duck.

Another eye opener: The 2006 Cave de Lugny Macon-Villages ($11) ranked #2 of 15 for heavy Old World Whites under $15 and it’s a steal given its elegance. It’s steely and complex (the opposite of overly oaked California Chardonnay) and reminds us what the grape is like — acidic, citrusy, flowery — when it’s not masked in imitation vanilla.

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  • http://none Wine Investigator

    Hello Jessica,
    I am always looking for new wines from Napa Valley. I hear that new ones pop up almost every other day, but when I try to search for them I have trouble finding any. Do you have any suggestions for me on how to find new wineries or labels? Or do you know of any you would recommend?

    Thanks for your help,
    The Unsuccessful Wine Investigator

  • Jessica Yadegaran

    Sure, there are more than 400 wineries in that area. Why don’t you tell me what you like to drink and I can help you narrow it down.
    cheers
    Jessica

  • http://none Wine Investigator

    Jessica,
    I like wines that are food friendly and not very oaky. I won’t name any names, but I try to stay away from the big butter balls that have been 100% oak fermented. The main thing for me though is finding wines that are not well known or are new.

    Thanks for the help,
    The Wine Investigator

  • http://none Wine Investigator

    Jessica,

    How can I forget? I like wines that come from sustainably farmed vineyards as well.

    The Wine Investigator

  • http://www.jasonswineblog.com Jason

    If you like sustainable try Ceago Vinegarden’s offerings, they are all biodynamic. Better yet they have a second label I picked up at TJ’s. I rated the 2006 Dynamic Red Table Wine ($9) #6 in my Top 10 Trader Joe’s Wines. Enjoy!

    Cheers,
    Jason

  • Jessica Yadegaran

    Ceago’s Sauvignon Blanc is excellent. Also try Paul Dolan’s line, and the new Benziger Signaterra Pinot Noir.

  • http://none Wine Investigator

    Are those all Napa Valley Wines?

  • http://ibabuzz/corkheads Jessica

    No. Ceago is Lake County. Paul Dolan is Russian River Valley in Sonoma. Paul Dolan is Mendocino. If you like Napa, try Frog’s Leap and Grgich for organic. Try Murphy Vineyards to quench your craving for balanced, food friendly wines that are affordable (nothing over $26).
    Best
    Jessica

  • http://none Wine Investigator

    Thank you Jessica, you’ve been most helpful.