I love the country wines of Italy, France and Spain. Unassuming, un-oaked, personality soaked bargains that make the most of simple meals. There are so many of these wines available for under $20 it is astounding – especially considering how weak the Dollar has been for the last few years.
It has been a national embarrassment for many, many years that American wine producers have been unable to produce anything of interest in the bargain basement. What could be our excuse on the climate blessed West Coast? There should be an ocean of great bargains. Instead all we can muster is a sea of cookie cutter, industrial wines with, at best, no personality or, at worst, an undrinkable gloppy-ness. Clean they are, but that’s it.
Being the slow learner that I am, I picked up a bottle of 2006 Petite Sirah from Vinum Cellars in Clarksburg. I thought what the heck: Petite sirah? From Clarksburg? That could be good, a no-name variety from a no-name region. After all, why spoofulate up a Clarksburg petite sirah? Put me in the corner with a dunce cap. You’d think I’d learn. What did I get? A purple glop of something that barely resembled wine. Undrinkable and inexcusable – even at $12 a bottle.
As much as I hate to write about wines I don’t like and that it’s perhaps unfair to single out this wine when there are so many like it, it’s just such a waste to make purple glop from grapes that could give us good wine for everyday drinking.
The fact is that you rarely get decent American wine until you cross the $20 threshold. The choices under $20 seem to be purple grape marmalade glop and/or neutral corporate wine. By the by, often these types overlap.
So I have put myself in the corner with a dunce cap writing over and over again, “I will be good” and not buy American wines for everyday drinking. For some bizarre reason to get a decent inexpensive wine I have to find it from producers over 4,000 miles away.