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Wine on a Dime: Bring Home the Wine!

Wine tasting is not a spectator sport – a full participation of all team members is essential for success and fun. This column is in honor of the recent Winter Games in Vancouver, which seemed good timing to toast this event.

With the exception of two semi-ringers from TJ’s, the rest of the picks were from Grocery Outlet. Five countries “competed” – Australia, France, U.S, South Africa and Argentina. The U.S. took the gold for red, silver for white. South Africa’s Shiraz received the gold for reds.

All wines were tasted blind. Each bottle was wrapped in a numbered paper bag, we only knew the type as red or white. After each group of white or red wine tasting, the winery and price were disclosed. All the whites received below Yah scores with the exception of the Charles Shaw Pinot Grigio, which fared the best with everyone giving it a Yah and above. The reds suffered a similar fate except for the Shiraz – highest rated with Charles Shaw Merlot coming in second.

We discovered there’s reverse correlation between cost and taste – at least for wines under $5. The Charles Shaw standard is good and predictable, plus you can’t beat the price at $1.99.

The eclectic food flavors were in harmony — chow mein and teriyaki wings by Joy, a wonderful medley of tastes by Doni’s salad of arugula, pears and candied pecans and a spectacular chocolate custard with reduction of fresh raspberries topped with fresh raspberries by our new tasters Bob and Karen McGrath. Blood oranges, luscious Meyer lemons and magenta quince blooms from Don and Elaine Cohen’s garden provided a festive accent.

NAH = Life is too short to drink bad wine — marinate something in it.
SHRUG = Would probably drink it but not sure why.
YAH = Like it, would probably buy again.
HOORAH = Love it, run out and buy a case.

  Wine Price   Store   Nah   Shrug   Yah   Hoorah
1 Ventus – Savignon Blanc 2007
Patagonia – Argentina
$4.99   G.O.   3   4        
2 Les Arpents – Chenin Blanc 2007
Loire Valley, France 1
$2.99   G.O.   7   1        
3 Charles Shaw – Pinot Grigio 2009
Napa & Sonoma, California
$1.99   TJ   1       6   1
4 Reserve Perrin – Rosé 2006
Côte de Rhône, France
$4.99   G.O.   7   1        
5 Pampa de Baco – Malbec 2008
I.P. Mendoza – Argentina 2
$4.99   G.O.   3   5        
6 12 Apostles – Shiraz 2009
Aussie Vinyards – S. E. Australia
$3.99   G.O.   4   3   1    
7 Rustonberg Roxton – Shiraz 2006
Western Cape, South Africa
$3.99   G.O.           6   2
8 Charles Shaw – Merlot 2008
Napa & Sonoma, California
$1.99   TJ       3   5    


Wine No. 1: “tastes like the white part of grapefruit” and “like a sweet tart”

Wine No. 2: “left on the truck too long … prune juice.”

Don Cohen is a retired commodities trader who has lived in Redding for 10 years. Joy Yoshioka is a retired high-tech exec who has lived in Redding for four years.