Thursday, January 11, 2007

"I Wonder What the Poor People Are Drinking?"

NEW YORK, NY--(MARKET WIRE)--Jan 9, 2007 -- According to the 2007 Luxury Institute Luxury Brand Status Index (LBSI) survey of Super-Premium Table Wines, Robert Mondavi Private Selection edged out Sterling Vintner's Collection. Raymond placed third, followed closely by Chateau St. Michelle and Antinori.

Wealthy consumers who know the brand rate Robert Mondavi Private Selection highest in delivering consistently superior quality and being consumed by those who are admired and respected.

(Read the entire press release here.)

Thanks to St. Vini over at Zinquistion for pointing me towards this information. Having worked retail wine sales, I can confirm that a surprising number of well-heeled customers prefer brands like Mondavi PS. Probably for the same reasons they like Outback, Starbucks and Borders—they know what to expect.

There are so many wine drinkers that just can’t bring themselves to deviate from their favorites. And while I can rant about trying new things—and Eric Asimov can write about it, people don’t change.

But that’s just fine with me. They can drink up all the Sterling VC they want. That leaves more Argentine malbec, Côtes du Rhône, white Bordeaux and all of the other, lesser-known wine bargains in the world for the rest of us.

For about the same $10 that a bottle of Mondavi PS would run me, here are two wines that I’ve had recently that put to shame most of the corporate wine out there.

Wishing Tree Shiraz 2004 ($9.99) – This is a blend of grapes from Western Australia and South Australia, which is another way of saying that they are from Somewhere in Australia. In any case, wherever they got them…those were some good grapes. I referenced this wine when I mentioned my affection for Aussie fruit-bomb wines, and for that I owe it an apology. I’m sorry.

While the fruit is both prominent and pleasant, there is much more to this wine. In addition to flavors of blackberry and cherry, there is licorice, a little smoke and a lovely aroma of tea. The wine’s firm acidity gives it a focused mouth-feel and keeps it from being flabby and overly soft.

Winzer Krems Grüner Veltliner “Reid Sandgrube” 2005 ($7.99) – Yeah, yeah, I know that I usually try to stay away from any wine that is “hot.” However, if the “hot” wine happens to be $7.99 and real tasty, I can make an exception.

This is a lovely example of grüner on the cheap. The flavors are reminiscent of apricots, peach, apple and Alpine flowers. It’s soft, refreshing and very food-friendly; it made friends right away with our sushi.

(By the way, I made up that bit about “Alpine flowers.” It does have some nice floral notes though.)

I was interested that Chateau St. Michelle was on the short list. For a big corporate winery, they crank out some seriously-good value wines.

1 comment:

Sonadora said...

I had my first veltliner the other night too. I will look for the one you tried as I am interested in another example.

And I was going to ask you what in the world alpine flowers were! :)