Seattle Wine Blog

This blog is dedicated to commentary on all aspects of wine, especially short entries to help you find the best wines without the usual hype and spin. These are my frank, independent opinions, usually based on tasting wine at a public event, off the shelf or at the winery. "All creative acts must arise out of a specific soil and flicker with a spirit of place" -D.H. Lawrence

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Recession Reds

Even though Washington and Wall Street have declared the recession over, the rest of us know that we are still up to our eyeballs in it. As early as the beginning of 2008, Patterson Wine Co. in Woodinville, Washington offered a 2006 Recession Red. Made from Cab grapes sourced from such classy vineyards as Klipsun Vineyards on Red Mountain, they hadn't quite gotten it, pricing it in the $20 vicinity. Along came Recession Wine Company making decent plonk for about $4 according to  Most consumers have cut their price point, but not their consumption. If you were paying $10 you've moved down to $5, $7 you're down to $3. one world wide web wag sent around a "hoax" alleging a consumer survey showing that Chateau Traileur Parc was the winning name for Walmart's  branded wine, Oak Leaf We recently offered a tasting class of Recession Reds. The rule was no bottle over $5, but wines could be purchased on sale. For under $75, I was able to purchase 14 bottles of wine. The tasters were average consumers who like wine.

The most interesting result was that, for the most part, the wines were not bad, similar in quality, and quality didn't correlate with price. We started with NV Barefoot Pinot Noir from California and there was universal agreement that  the wine was unpleasantly acidic.Next we tasted seven low priced Merlots blind.They were:

1) NV Southern Point - Walgreen's - $3
2) NV Charles Shaw - Trader Joe's - $3
3) NV Double Dog Dare - Total - $3
4) NV Oak Creek - CVS - $3.50
5) 2008 Searidge - Safeway - $4
6) 2008 Turning Leaf - CVS - $5
7) 2004 Columbia Crest "Two Vines" - Safeway, $5

There were no statistically significant differences among the wines. There were no really bad wines and no real standouts - just good enough wine for great prices. It was just a matter of personal preference. I preferred the Columbia Crest and the Charles Shaw, but then you might call me a wine snob. Most of the tasters preferred the least expensive wines without knowing the prices.

The same procedure was followed for a tasting of six Cabernet Sauvignons:

1) NV Pacific Peak - Total - $2
2) NV Inglenook, Chile - CVS 1.5 L - $5
3) NV Quail Oak - Safeway -$3
4) NV Double Dog Dare - Total - $3
5) 2009 Charles Shaw - Trader Joe's - $3
6) 2008 Searidge - Safeway - $4

Again, there were no meaningful differences among the average scores. I had a slight preference for the Inglenook.

So, guess what folks, you can get a pretty decent everyday quaff for just a few bucks. So kick back and enjoy while you wait a few more years for the recession to be over. BTW, what do you think Greenspan, Paulson, Geithner, and Ken Lewis are drinking?
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