Supermarket Wine

There are a few super-market bottles which please over and over and over and have for years.  People ask me, “I know nothing about wine.  What is a good wine to buy?”  And of course they live in Virginia or Boston or Denver and I’m always kinda just, well, “Avoid the top shelf, be careful on the second shelf, your price-point will probably be well-served on the third and be careful on the fourth and the bottom shelf?  Well, only if you’re going to a cheap party of beer drinkers.”

If you have $25 to spend on a cab from Napa/Sonoma, what do you buy?  BV Rutherford?  Beringer KV?  Simi?  Merryvale Starmont?  Coppola Black Label?  Kenwood Jack London?  I present:  Chateau St Jean Sonoma Cab.  List is what, 30$?  But well-played, down in the 17$ range.  The CALIFORNIA is a solid wine too, but…. well… most of us avoid the California AVA because millions of gallons and oak chips and lab-adjusted and all that.  But this is the cab directly below Cinq Cepages and it is running, what, 75$ these days?  I LOVE this wine.

Deep ruby and staining.  Nose full of all that wonderful cab stuff… leather, tobacco, nutmeg, and because Sonoma: Brier.  This one is not even close to 10 yrs old and still shows wonderfully.  Beautiful polish happening, and this is not something I would keep around for 20 years–although it might be interesting!  Finish for days and days and just enough tannin and acid wrapped around the dense, heavy, ripe, fruit to keep those of us who don’t prefer Malbec interested.  The 08’s are all but gone.  09 likewise.  ’10 is the norm, and we shop at our little wine-shops and overlook this stuff, but DON’T BE SNOBBY!  This.  Is. Solid. Wine.

2008 CHATEAU ST JEAN Cabernet Sauvignon Sonoma County 14.2

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