Daily Archives: 02/09/2009

Here’s another one from South Africa: Stellenbosch, home to some new stars in the wine world. Ken Forrester’s Petit Chenin Blanc is completely delicious. Fresh, fruity aromas precede a crisp and captivating experience, with melon and hints of honey flavors on the palate. South Africa’s major white grape is Sauvignon Blanc, and that is probably the future of white wine in this region, but this wine puts on quite a show for $9! A long and nicely refreshing finish. Drink it on a hot summer day, or a cool spring evening. Cook with it if you must, but stop to quaff. This is a great buy.


This was voted the most popular wine at an annual grand tasting I worked in 2007. An approachable Cabernet Sauvignon from Paso Robles, the 2004 Curious Beagle is a great example of how delicious domestic Cabernet can be. Both 2004 and 2005 have been great years for West Coast vineyards in general. This wine is rich with juicy red berries on the nose, black fruit in the mouth, and an enticing smoothness. Not too complex, but has great structure thanks to 18 months of barrel aging. It has a nice long finish; I would rank it far beyond its price point. Ready to drink now. $12.

The 2005 Chateau Bonnet Blanc, a white Bordeaux from the Entre-Deux-Mers appellation, is comprised of Sauvignon Blanc, Sémillon, and Muscadelle. At first, the nose wasn’t expressive, but as the wine opened up I was increasingly impressed with its distinct citrus overtones, focused on lemon and grapefruit. Light-bodied, good balance of sweetness and acidity, and the flavors play well together. Soft mouthfeel thanks to the Muscadelle, with some good lemon fruitiness and a quick tingling finish. At around $12 a bottle, this is a surefire keeper to watch in future vintages.

Here we have some 2001 Chateau des Graves, a straightforward Bordeaux from the Graves region, where the reds are generally of higher quality than the whites (particularly those of Pessac-Leognan). Though Château de Graves evokes a famous appellation in Bordeaux, its name is
actually derived from the gravelly soil composing part of this vineyard’s terroir. This wine had a distinctly earthy quality to it, with aromas of ripe red berries, and was nice and soft, probably due to a high percentage of Merlot in the blend. Tasty, and a good introductory Bordeaux Supérieur. 60% Merlot, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Cabernet Franc. $12 in more recent vintages.

I will not pretend that there are no other sites on the internet for wine lovers on a budget. Many of them are actually quite well-written, and display a delightful breadth of knowledge and experience. In establishing this one, I hope to distinguish myself by two means: my palate, and the prices of my finds.

Wines recommended in this blog will never exceed $30; while I do pay homage to the great nobles of Bordeaux, Burgundy, Piedmont and elsewhere, living in Manhattan makes actual purchases of these wines nigh impossible. As a result, I’ve made it my unending mission to find and make known to friends the good deals, the collectible steals. After months of urging by these same friends, I am bringing my knowledge to this public forum, hopefully to bear the scrutiny of fellow enthusiasts.

Hello, world. Drink with me.