A Whine of Wines

A Whine of Wines

What follows is not truly a full Whine but it’s sort of a Whine and it’s about wine or should I say it’s information about wine that has come passed me recently and I as your faithful scribe am passing on to you.

First as a teaser I’ll share that the 2015 vintage Boudreaux tasting we attended late in January was fab, the Margaux is out of this world.

In food news, I had some tasty “dirty rice’ at a wonderful seafood place in Maui but could only get scribbled ingredients on a napkin from our waiter so I’m working on the recipe and I’ll have that for you too as part of a full Whine later this month.

On to wine news and notes, does any of this information relate to your current wine status?

  • The Wine Market Council’s John Gillespie said its annual survey of more than 2,500 wine drinkers, conducted last June and July, confirmed that more than half of those asked said they were buying higher priced bottles than they had in the year before. Forty percent said that they were spending more because their knowledge of wine had increased.
  • Higher priced wines “continue to consistently out-perform the lower end.” He sees that trend continuing, saying, “Some people aren’t drinking a lot more, but they’re drinking better.”
  • Well known Chateau owner Bruno Prats was recently asked if America will ever become a wine drinking country. And he replied, “If your first experience with wine is a great one, you’re going to be a wine drinker.”
  • My first wine was homemade Concord grape made by my Lithuanian grandfather in the Beverly neighborhood of Chicago; I believe I’ve worked through that event.


Food & Wine Magazine posted a list of “50 most trusted wines” and they appear to be right, all good solid selections that I have tried at one time or another, here’s a sample:

  1. BeringerFounder’s Estate California Cabernet Sauvignon ($9)
  2. Bogle Old Vine California Zinfandel ($12)  
  3. Chateau Ste. Michelle Columbia Valley Merlot ($15)  
  4. Columbia Crest H3 Cabernet Sauvignon ($15)
  5. Foxglove Central Coast Chardonnay ($17)
  6. Hess Select North Coast Cabernet Sauvignon ($17)
  7. J. Lohr Estates Seven Oaks Cabernet Sauvignon ($15)
  8. Kendall Jackson Vintner’s Reserve California Chardonnay ($14)  
  9. Pine Ridge Chenin Blanc + Viognier ($15)
  10. Rancho Zabaco Heritage Vines Sonoma County Zinfandel ($14)
  11. Ravenswood Old Vine Lodi Zinfandel ($14)  
  12. Robert Mondavi Winery Napa Valley Fumé Blanc ($16)
  13. Rodney Strong Sonoma County Chardonnay ($14)  
  14. La Crema Sonoma Coast Chardonnay ($19)   
  15. Brancott Estate Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc ($10)

50 of 50 Folonari Veneto Pinot Grigio ($6)



Thought you might be amused by a list of wines that in most cases you can’t buy as someone else already has.

The 10 most searched-for Cabernets

This list kind of proves that Napa is the most important wine region and the spiritual home of New World Cabernet and is what the 1%er’s are drinking – or trying to. I’ve been lucky enough to have drunk some of the Caymus and the Mondavi.

  1. Screaming Eagle Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley

California’s original cult Cabernet, this wine’s breathtaking price tag ($2,972 on average) reflects its scarcity. Only available through the winery’s mailing list, Screaming Eagle has garnered multiple 100-point scores from Robert Parker, which has helped push it to #1 on this list.

  1. Caymus Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley

This family-owned winery has been making wine since 1972 and it has built a solid reputation for quality – and without depending on scarily high prices. This wine retails for an average of $76, making it the cheapest wine on the list.

  1. Scarecrow Cabernet Sauvignon, Rutherford

Another cult classic, this wine is made from grapes grown in the Rutherford AVA. Consistently good scores and a hefty price tag ($694 on average) make it an aspirational search for many Wine-Searcher users.

  1. Caymus Vineyards Special Selection Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley

The big brother of the second-ranked wine, this is a much different proposition. Weighing in with an average score of 93 and a $172 price tag, this is Caymus’s flagship wine and it doesn’t appear every year – although for the 18-year stretch between the 1997 and 2014 vintages, it never missed a beat.

  1. Shafer Vineyards Hillside Select Cabernet Sauvignon, Stags Leap District

Widely regarded as one of Napa’s top wines, this wine combines gobs of black cherry and blackcurrant fruit, underpinned by spicy French oak and forward tannins. Shafer is one of the founding wineries of the Stags Leap AVA and this $300-plus wine is its 95-point-average calling card.

  1. Penfolds Bin 707 Cabernet Sauvignon, South Australia

What on earth are you doing here Aussie? Penfolds is best known, of course, for its Bin 95 Grange, but this wine keeps some household names from Napa off the list. It’s not cheap ($321 average), but it is rewarding with a 94-point average critic score.

  1. Robert Mondavi Winery Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley

Normal service is resumed with this well-known winery’s appearance. Often hailed as the winery that sparked California’s modern era, this wine has been an enduring favorite, with available vintages stretching back to 1969.

  1. Dunn Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon, Howell Mountain

Randy and Mike Dunn make two Cabernets, and this one is easily the more popular, despite the weightier price tag ($139 against $93). Wines from an unbroken run of 34 consecutive vintages, from 1980 to 2013, are available too.

  1. Concha y Toro Don Melchor Cabernet Sauvignon, Puente Alto, Chile

It seems surprising to see Concha y Toro in here, given the company’s value offerings and ubiquity, but the Don Melchor is a special beast, made from grapes grown on clones of pre-phylloxera vines. And its average critic score (93) is higher than its average price ($92), which is always a relief when it comes to Cabernet.

  1. Silver Oak Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon, Alexander Valley

It might sound odd, but this Sonoma varietal wine is one of America’s darlings, appearing on wine lists across the country. It’s also a relative bargain, with an average price of $79, making it the second-cheapest wine on the list.

And as for Valentine’s Day I’ll suggest that you simply review my list of sparklers and Champagnes that I posted for the holiday on the web site.

Enjoy and drink well!