The Trout Also Rises

"A blog upon my estutcheon" A weblog about fishing, hunting, hiking, cycling, books, beer, and other random musings. Any humor contained in this site is entirely unintentional and has not been tested on animals. e mail aaaaargh at msndotcom

Location: California

A hunter and fisherman, fascinated with books and history.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

99 cent store wine

This is now the official cheap wine blog, at least until the trout season starts again.

One of the wonders of Southern California are the 99 Cent Stores scattered through the urban landscape. Everything in the store costs 99c, or sometimes three for 99c, or ten for 99c.

Wine is regularly stocked in these stores, and much of it is quite drinkable.

My recent purchases include a 2002 Sauvignon Blanc from France (Fruits de France, Vin de Pays d'Oc). This was very good and buttery, great with fish or fowl. Just the right note of fresh fruit.

A good red that was purchased last week was the 2000 Vinterra San Juan Cabernet, which has proved a good tipple for heartier dinners. This wine is from the Argentine, one of the world's up and coming wine regions. Grab it if you can find it.

Perhaps the best wine I ever got at the 99c Store was the 1997 Marc Tempe Zellenberg Tokay-Pinot Gris. This Alsatian wine, in elegant green bottles, was in the stores last autumn, and I served a bottle with the Thanksgiving turkey. It is an incredible, complex wine and went well with the bird and trimmings. The back label says the grapes were harvested from a vineyard just over one acre in size, which places it squarely in the craftsman category.

I've found that the 99c Store wines often have problems that don't affect the taste of the wine. In the case of the Marc Tempe Zellenberg wine, the corks had started to leak, making the tops of the bottles unsightly. Other times, corks will be incredibly tight, or the wine on offer will be a white wine just past its peak. Drink them fast. Overall, though, I've found the whites to be generally better than the reds. Also, mixing the wine with sparkling mineral water will often make a average wine quite refreshing.

The worst wine I've bought there in the past few months was an Italian Sangiovese Rubicone. A bit of it got used for cooking; the rest went down the drain.