12 dollars + 12 years

A couple times a week, I get phone-call, text or DM from someone deer-in-headlights on the wine aisle of the supermarket. I have a handful of brands I toss out and everyone goes away happy. This is one of those bottles. But that’s not really what this post is about: This post is about the fact I ALSO buy these wines from time-to-time, but instead of reviewing them when they are fresh and bright and in the time-frame 99.999% of consumers drink them like a smart person, I tend to stash them away and forget about them. So this blog is really about another topic, and one of my favorite subjects: Aged supermarket wines. It’s so interesting to visit these at 10 or more. Here we have the ‘Sonoma County’ (note the embossed bottle) at 12.

Appellation is vital in purchasing these wines. It’s a lot like kitchen knives–one of my other hobbies. Department store knives (like most supermarket wines) come several ways. Henckels and Wustoff both have 4 lines of *classic* Sabatier-style knives, all looking nearly identical from a couple paces. But pay attention and you will see one is made in China, one Brazil, one Portugal or Spain, and one Germany. The price changes with each region–as does the quality. Mass-producing wine brands are the same, and Chateau St. Jean is one you DEFINITELY want to watch that second line. AND I HAVE SEEN THEM STOCKED WRONG ON THE SHELF BILLIONS OF TIMES. But I’ll shut up now, let’s talk about the wine.

Dark burly garnet with considerable sediment. Creamy smelling, gobs of dark reduced cherry and dank wood, newsprint and grimy briar. Some burnt/roasted nuances, but nothing offensive. But not very interesting either. In the mouth, round, full, candied; a little heat masquerading as spice and acid, with one-dimensional, kinda sweet tannin. Gorgeous tertiary velvet and polished oak. It’s pretty–and interesting–fun to drink, not tired in any way but also not something to wax poetic about. While the ABILITY of these wines to last this long is admirable–and a true litmus for supermarket darlings–I’m not saying it is necessarily the proper treatment. Drink them 5-7 and be more impressed with the fruit.

2008 CHATEAU ST. JEAN Cabernet Sauvignon Sonoma County 14.2


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