• Two Thumbs Up
• A wonderful aroma of violets and dark berry fruit is followed up by simple, enjoyable flavors of black cherry, cassis and a touch of minty eucalyptus. Medium-bodied for a cab, it should go great with burgers, pizza and grilled chicken.
I’ve received a lot of grief recently about the priciness of the wines I’ve recommended, showing little concern for our tough economic times. Also through the magic of the internet, I’ve withstood reader ire for my inability to offer up bottles that are widely available.
Guilty as charged.
But before I fall on my sword, let me just say discovering uniquely delicious wine that goes for less than $20 is a hard number to roll. There are plenty of drinkable, inoffensive wines out there, but I don’t think you crack open a newspaper or navigate to a website for average stuff. On the flipside, there are tons of pricier wines that are downright yummy—often with interesting stories to boot—but, of course, they have more limited production.
So, how about a compromise this week? I’ve got two wines for you. One ridiculously inexpensive (How’s three bucks sound?). And one not so inexpensive, but reasonable at $20 (However, it’s absurdly good and generally available).
The Bronco Wine Co., the same folks who brought you Charles Shaw wine (otherwise known as Two Buck Chuck), now offers Down Under. It is a line of Australian chardonnay, shiraz and cabernet sauvignon wines for the suggested retail price of $2.99. What are we to call this? Down Under Wonder ? Kangaroo 23 Skidoo? Three Dolla Koala? Whatever you call it, the cabernet is pretty darn good. They made 15,000 cases for the U.S. market. Your local wine shop should be able to track it down.
For the price of seven Down Under Cabernet Sauvignons, you can go way up town and buy Blackstone Sonoma Reserve Merlot ($20). I wrote about this wine in 2007 because I felt it drank like a $35 wine. I’m writing about it again because not much has changed in three years. They made 27,000 cases. That’s 324,000 bottles or 1.62 million 5-ounce glasses. Not quite enough for a toast with every man and woman in the U.S.A., but you get the picture.
(Wines are rated on a scale ranging up from thumbs down, one thumb mostly up, one thumb up, two thumbs up, two thumbs way up and Golden Thumb Award. Prices are suggested retail prices as provided by the winery, one of its agents, a local distributor or retailer.)