Don’t Judge a Winery by its 2m Cases

11 year-old Korbel Natural and while I know a good number of you wine1percenters know the drill, I also know from past experience a BUNCH of you are going OMG WHY IS McCONNELL DRINKING SHIT LIKE KORBEL?!?! And to them I say: You NEED to familiarize yourself with Korbel NATURAL. Korbel is one of those brands who have damaged themselves in the eyes of serious wine people by inundating the national market with hundreds of thousands of cases of their entry-level Brut and Extra Dry and therefore pushing aside everyone with a palate. But they also make GOOD wine!

Natural is where it’s at. RIDICULOUS bang-for-the-buck. Under $20, 65/35 pinot/chard all Russian River Valley fruit, zero dosage, of course methode, and made exactly the same way since like 1880. This is NOT your mom’s drugstore Korbel. Oh! And it’s VINTAGE! How bout them apples? I keep a fat stack of this in the cellar and try to buy them regularly so I have a choice of aged or young as my mood dictates.

This is a 2008, dark and rosy-orange (they are light light straw on release), cork didn’t swell; regular–but slow-moving–bubbles, creamy yeasty thick almond nose.

In the mouth, the spritz and acid still hit first–just like a good natural should–rich fruit reduction, flaccid strawberry, orange blossom, pear-sauce, and the crisp burn of bubbles searing the finish amidst thick bitter composition and dry composure.

FYI these are COMPLETELY different beasts when young: searingly bone-dry, etching acid, lemon and bright berry. Any serious wine person who poo-poo’s Korbel BUT has not had Natural gets an asterisk.

And yes, I opened it on #globalchampagneday halfway as a joke and halfway in-your-face because they somehow trademarked the word ‘champagne’ to use on their labels in California–despite the French–I don’t know the whole story, but there it is: CHAMPAGNE!! Maybe someone smarter than me can fill us in. Before you judge, remember this winery has been around a long LONG time in California, back when words like Burgundy, Rhone, and Chablis and Champagne were common on American labels and no one thought twice about it.

2008 KORBEL Natural Russian River Valley Sonoma California 12.5

www.korbel.com

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