Last night we raved about a blend from Artesa and couldn’t say enough good things about that wine. Well, tonight we’re heading in the other direction – south. First of all, we have had our share of excellent wines from Australia. As a rule, they’re bigger, bolder and fruitier than many American wines. So, when looking for another value priced wine when we visited our local Sam’s Club, we happened upon this wine from the McLaren Vale (pronounced valley) a place from where we’ve enjoyed some delicious wines – called Red Knot.
The first thing we noted – right off the bat – it’s a young wine. A 2011 vintage means that it’s probably going to be much more fruity with less structure. Very mild tannins with virtually no finish is kind of what we expected. However, because of where it came from, we felt like we were heading down the right path for a good find and priced under $11 a bottle. How often can you come across a sweet deal that includes a good price from a good ‘home’?
We should have known when we opened the bottle – and we have to borrow this phrase from our good friend Patrick Wilt at Grape Juice in Kerrville – he says, “At the end of the day, it’s all grape juice!” Well, that’s EXACTLY what we smelled upon opening . . . it had the aroma (the smell?) of Welch’s Grape Juice. Actually, it could have been ANY brand of store bought grape juice and we were not excited. A pour into a glass and a swirl didn’t change a thing . . . a sip – a little aeration – nothing. The wine had NO taste. It was like drinking a glass of store bought grape juice. We pulled out the receipt to confirm that we hadn’t spent too much on it, but in all fairness, this one was overpriced even as a value wine.
What makes our comments almost hysterical are the comments we read from Australia – Here are a couple of them: “Shingleback’s cheapy is a youthful beauty. Cabernet really belongs in the Vale and these guys are doing it very well.” or how about this one: “That the discounters frequently trim the price of Red Knot is a sure sign of popularity. And popularity, in this instance, proves that Australia’s savvy palates know a bargain when they see one.” We’re sorry – are they CRAZY? Trim the price because of popularity?? Savvy Palates? Really? Retail 101 – if it DOESN’T sell, mark it down and someone will buy it. Continue marking it down UNTIL someone buys it! Savvy palates know a bargain – or, as we translated, we were thirsty enough to drink the first bottle we came across!!
Don’t get us wrong; it doesn’t have to be high priced to be good and there really are plenty of value-laden wines on the market – several of which we’ve already written about! Unfortunately, we’re going to find the occasion ‘dud’ – just like in Monday’s blog about ‘Mystery Date’ – we rolled the dice and landed on a ‘DUD’, but you get to be the beneficiaries of our sacrifice – so you’re only homework is to decide for yourself if we’re right about our review of the wine or take it at face value and protect our wine’s identity.
For $10 we learned a lesson – not all wines from Australia’s McLaren Vale are going to be home runs. We knew that sooner or later we’d run into one of these, and tonight, that is exactly what we did. What made matters worse was the fact that this wine has won six Bronze medals this year in wine competitions and a Gold medal. We can’t help but wonder how good it would have been had there been seven Gold medals and one Bronze! Not to be the case today.
Regardless as to whether you enjoy your red wine or your white wine, please enjoy it responsibly and remember to recycle whenever possible.