vintager cabernet & vintager chardonnay
For as long as I can remember I have been asking my wine reps to bring in whatever they have from California that is very, very good, and inexpensive. The words are an oxymoron and I have argued them countless times, for years. Why is it that California cannot make inexpensive, good wine? And I make no apology to this comment – J. Lohr is not an inexpensive, good wine. I’m talking about making wine that tastes way better than it cost. I’m unrepentant when it comes to California. Make decent wine at a decent price. Don’t use your marketing skills and your apologetic assumption that all Americans believe that White Zinfandel is the ‘creation’. Because it is not.
For years this has been my request. Occasionally we have found great wine at a great price and we have bought it and sold it to our customers. And have done so gladly, because the wine was good. This morning I was reintroduced to a private label wine collection from California. In the interest of being totally candid, I tasted these wines back in October of last year. I thought they were very good but the price was not. And so I passed on the wines. Today I re-tasted them and again was very taken by them. Even more so when I was informed that because of my comments back in October last year the distributor had agreed to lower the prices.
I am now able to offer two great Californian wines for under $20 per bottle. For a limited time (2 weeks from today – February 10) these two wines are on sale by the solid case for $16.00 per bottle. Thereafter, if I have any left, they will retail for $22 and $24 per bottle respectively.
The Vintager Chardonnay. The wine is sourced from Knight Valley in California. The distributor is not allowed to say where the grapes come from but we did our own homework and the grapes come from Newton Vineyards. I have to say that as chardonnays go I was very surprised at how good this was. There is an element of oak both on the nose and the immediate palate but thereafter you do not get the oak-nose bleed that is so common from Californian chardonnay. There is a very subtle sesame oil flavor (oak) on the front palate that follows through with a textured balance of white peach, white grape and apricot on the finish. We all thought that this was an exceptional chardonnay. When we first tasted it we would have been required to price it at $26 - $28. At $16.00 this is a train robbery.
Next up was the Vintager Cabernet Sauvignon. Again, when we first tasted the wine I thought ‘wow’. This is a 2008 classic Cabernet from California, but I have to price it at $36.00. At the time I already had a bunch of mid $30 Cabernet but I really would have liked to include this. Problem is, selling a private label wine – i.e. A wine that has been sourced from other vineyards and sent to a custom crush facility to be bottled under the label of a distributor, even if the wine is very, very good, I feel that I have to inform the customer of the wines provenance and I don’t think selling it at $36 is quite fair. This wine is very, very good. It has that aged nose of cedar plank and incense, on the palate it has a little prune, some roasted fig, touch of balsamic for acidity and plenty of rich dark fruit. At $16 per bottle/solid case this is an excellent table wine. Californian Cabernet at this price doesn’t get much better. And believe me, I have tried finding it for 10 years.
Today’s New Wines:
The Vintager Chardonnay. $192.00 solid case – 14-day offer. Retail price February 11 $264.00 case
The Vintager Cabernet. $192.00 solid case – 14-day offer. Retail price February 11 $288.00 case.