Friday, January 18, 2008

Wine of the Year

The Wine Spectator took all the wines they reviewed over the course of 2007 and narrowed the list down to their top 100 wines. While the average price for the top 10 wines are $99.80 (with an average score of 95.9 points), the average for all 100 is $42 (with an average score of 93 points). I became interested in this list years ago when a $10 1992 Rosemount Shiraz took #2 on their list (the rest were over $100). Some standouts this year cost much less than the average and you may be surprised! Mid-priced? #91 is a 2005 Seghesio Zinfandel Sonoma County ($20, 90pts). I saw one at Costco for $14, but it may not be the exact one. Rosemount returns with ther 2003 GSM (#60, around $18 at Sam's recently). 2005 Rombauer Carneros Chardonnay was #39 (92pts, $32) and 2005 Altos Las Hormigas Malbec at $22 was #45. Two standouts (to me) in the top 10 were #2 Ridge Chardonnay for "only" $35 (95pts!) and #5 Two Hands "Bella's Garden" Shiraz, 95pts @ $60. I love anything from both of those producers! Those are all too rich for me (esp. in this market) so how about #35 for $13 (Ch. St. Jean Fume Blanc 2005) or #75 La Marca Prosecco for $12? Try #71 2004 Columbia Crest Merlot for $11. The biggest surprise? #72 2005 Yellow Tail Shiraz for $11! You can find that all day long in your local Kroger, right?? Go figure! Again, it just shows that a wine doesn't have to be expensive to be good! Click on the link attached; click on "Full list of Top 100-PDF" for the entire list. Enjoy! Click HERE

The Legislature is now in session!

Here we go again! Time for tax and spend fun under the gold dome. One item that failed last year was the Sunday Sales amendment. I find it odd that Georgia is one of only 6 or 7 states that don't allow the sale of alcohol on Sunday. The fun logic of this is that you can go to a restaurant or bar and drink all day, then drive home, possibly endangering your life or the lives of others, but you cannot buy wine or beer at a store. Yes, if you plan ahead, there is no real problem in your life (i.e. stock up on Saturday is what people say) but I can remember heading to a friends' house on a Sunday and wished I had remembered to bring a 'hostess gift' of a bottle of vino. If we lived in 85+percent of the country we could have stopped in our local grocery and grabbed that gift, but no, Georgia (and Sonny) say NO. I find it odd that Georgia is 'more' Bible-belt than the rest of the Southeast Bible belt. Regardless, I recognize that this is not a hot button item for most people and to be honest, it is not truly that big a deal for me either. It is merely a question of convenience, not of conviction. My 2 cents.

What really burns me up is that it is STILL illegal to have wine shipped directly to you in Georgia. Yes, you can visit California and buy wine to ship "on the spot" but I can't just call up my favorite vineyard and order a case. It's not like anyone would order a case of Kendall-Jackson Chardonnay from California, it would be prohibitively expensive to ship. What I WOULD like to order is something like Ridge Winery's "ATP" program. I have bought wine in this program in the past and have shipped it to another state to pickup. Why? Ridge makes several small-production wines for this ATP program versus their wines found in any store/restaurant. I once had some of their Zinfandel that was part of a 13 barrel lot (under 100 cases made)--I would NEVER have been able to buy that wine in GA. Most producers send us very little of their production. It is the liquor distributors and their large cash donations to Politicians that keeps us from doing this. Sure, the legislators will say it's a loss of tax revenue, but I would gladly pay the tax just like I do when I visit my local retailer. I would still buy locally, but for collectors, we want more CHOICES. One sidenote, if you don't believe what I said about the lobbyists, try going to the Secretary of State's office and check the Election Commission's records. I did that in the late 90's when they passed the stupid felony law and was amazed at the contributions made by distributors to the Alcoholic Beverage committee. But hey, that's politics. How much money do you have, huh? That one vote of mine isn't enough... I need a check with several zeros I guess....