Doing a Grocery Outlet night… you guys are always begging for this and it’s been a while. Found these three today and–like always–pretty careful selection went into them. 90% of the bottles there I wouldn’t touch with a ten-foot-pole, but these 3 spoke. One of straight curiosity; one a somewhat odd variety and AVA from a rather lack-luster brand; one a VERY odd variety from a relatively unknown–but often quality–label. The entire trio cost me $30.
First the latter: a Lodi Teroldego from Michel-Schlumberger, and I think very few people in California would drink this wine–certainly NO ONE in the 99. Crazy staining florescent purple, nose harsh and shrill with light, candied fruit beneath. This thing needs PLENTY of air: P&P is pure battery acid. It’s a raspy, raw, coarse swallow, bitter and grating, the fruit ridiculously young and un-relenting in tannic, sharp berry. All of it quite well-integrated and surprisingly balanced–despite the shuddering brittleness of it. It needs 5 years, and I think I might stash a couple.
The curiosity: A Bulgarian wine, 7 years old and SY/ME with a splash of PV. Beautiful long cork, REALLY ruddy brick in the glass, and FAR past prime. This wine is either completely tired or was cooked, but it smells and tastes like a 30YO Merlot–and not a good one. Oxidized, maderized, flatulent and dead, it’s done. This will make my garbage disposal sparkle inside!
And… the Sterling. ALSO a 14 and hailing from Mokelumne River AVA. Claims to be a ‘Cellar Club Only’ selection, and that would make sense because you’re not gonna find it at Safeway with the rest of this once-great producer’s junk. Solid ruby still purple at rim–not a trace of brick–smelling rather toasty. Burnt rubber and asphalt control the nose: those heated Lodi foothills taking their toll. A bit of barnyard and deep peachy-watermelon ripe fruit. Chubby and un-interesting in the mouth, heat and awkward juxtapositions between fruit and structure present themselves. This could be a beautiful wine–it’s held up quite well–but peppery angst over-powers un-expressive fruit. It’s not BAD–just not particularly good either. I’d highly recommend buying all three of these wines! I mean, WHERE are you going to get this kind of education for 30 bucks??? Don’t just listen to me, TASTE & LEARN!!!