Crowd-Pleasin Wine–Yes, Even the Snobs

Here’s a no-brainer.  Classic, classic cab profile and on every supermarche shelf from here to Pensacola.  FR puts this around 30$, but play your cards right and it can be had for slightly above half that.  Made to be accessible young–right off the shelf, but with enough finesse and balance to gently age wonderfully.  I have these back into the early 2000’s and they are fun daily-drinkers which do not disappoint.  Some of my winedork friends laugh at aging cheap wines, but I find it interesting–it only works with solid, well-made wine.  Mass-produced, yes.  Huge corporate-owned, yes.  But so is almost everything these days. A good old friend told me years ago, “Ya know, Gallo makes 400,000 cases of wine a year, and ya know what–they probably know something about wine.”  Take that as it may, I still don’t buy a ton of supermarket brands.  Giant oak, check.  Decent extraction, check.  ‘Perceived sweetness’ (gawd I hate that term), yes.  But with it comes a 30yr history and a backbone to back it up.  This wine is no slouch.  Perfect ruby with clear edges.  Nose of dense, ripe fruit and maybe a touch of banana-peel and pipe-tobacco.  Probably totally lab-created and probably 10,000 cases made, but–occasionally–that is not a BAD thing.  If you do not know anything about wine–you find that wall of wine at the grocery completely intimidating–and you have to get a bottle for that party you’re going to or for that new girl who is coming over and you are cooking for her, grab THIS.  Finessed and balanced, hugely-fruited and spicy, and just the right amount of tannin and acid bringing up the rear to tell everyone you are not buying shit off the bottom shelf.  Please note–because umericans are CONSTANTLY challenged with appellations–this is the SONOMA.  Not the California.  There is a huge difference.  Pay attention to your labels, people.

2008 CHATEAU ST JEAN Cabernet Sauvignon Sonoma County 14.2

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