Monday, April 13, 2009

Treasure Hunter

Choosing a good wine can be an unsure and daunting task at times, when standing in front of a long wine shelf that seems to stretch out for a mile with hundreds of bottles from all over the world. I find myself drawn to the fancy bottle with the pretty label. I also wonder, if I splurge and go for the more expensive wines, will I have a winner? However, I have discovered with either case, cool looking labels and higher price tags don’t necessarily guarantee success. After all, we want to discover that one, Ok, maybe two or more bottles of wine that taste like a $200 bottle but only cost you $10. Is there such a treasure?

I discovered one such treasure and what I think is one of the best tasting wines in or out of it’s price point. It is grown and bottled here in the good old USA. I can make such a bold claim being the self proclaimed sommelier that I am and one who delights in a great tasting wine. I believe this is a wine everyone will enjoy.

I stumbled upon this knowledge during lunch one afternoon, killing time in a local wine shop. I found myself staring down those hundred or more bottles of wine. I was hoping to find that one that keeps you going back for more without crushing the wallet. A customer walked into the shop and I over heard her telling the owner that the wine he recommended was the best Merlot that she had ever tasted. Best Merlot, I thought, I like Merlots. Could this be the one? The customer couldn't stop talking about how great the wine was. The owner grabbed a couple more bottles, thanked her for returning and was happy that she had found his recommendation a hit. Since this customer couldn't say enough about this wine, I had to give it a shot and was even willing to step up and pay the $30 to $50 that such a wine would cost. After asking the owner about the wine he directed me to McManis Family Vineyards Merlot at which time I discovered that it was only $10.99. I made my purchase and took it home hoping for the best.

That evening we opened the bottle and served it with our meal. The richness of this Merlot was was like nothing I had tasted before. Bold and smooth with hints of pepper and spices. It turned out to be the treasure I had been looking for.

I have since found that McManis Family Vineyard produces other wines and having tasted them all, my favorite is their Petite Syrah. All of their wines are wonderful but in this sommeliers opinion (remember “self proclaimed”), you can’t beat the Petite Syrah.

Visit your local wine shop. They are always having tastings. (I like tastings, tastings, and more tastings.) The owners can help you pick out just the right wine for any occasion. Being at the right place at the right time (and listening in on other customer conversations) can lead to a great winner.

- D.K. of the Brew Crew

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