After lying dormant for a few months, we’re reviving Grocery Outlet Spectator with a fantastic four-wine bonanza plucked from none other than Humboldt County’s Grocery Outlet. Our party of four made fresh crabcakes, scalloped potatoes and a green salad to soak up the wine.
The following bottles found our way into our cart…
Russian River Valley Sonoma Cuvee Chardonnay, 2006
($4.99, suggested retail $19.99)
Ross: “Good for a Chardonnay, but I’m not a fan of the varietal. A lot of times they pick the fruit too young, but I think the sugar is developed in the grapes. It’s a full, mature Chardonnay. ”
Johanna: “G.O. white wines are tough, they usually just taste like green apples. This one tastes like fruit and vanilla.”
Arlen: Shrug. “It’s like a nice walk in the spring. For Grocery Outlet Chardonnays, which can be brutal, I would give this high marks. ”
Laurel: I took one sip and immediately ran to the computer to look google it. A rare Grocery Outlet find, I would buy and enjoy this again.
Official tasting notes can be downloaded (pdf) here.
Ripe flavors of pear and Meyer lemon bring substantial counterpoints to delicate oak nuances offering components of cinnamon, nutmeg, and hazelnut. This refreshing wine exhibits a delightful crisp complexity; the rich, creamy mid-palate is framed by a well-balanced acid-tannin structure leading to a brilliant clean finish that leaves you wanting more.
2006 Goodnight Zinfandel, Firestone Vineyards
($4.99 retail value $14.99)
Arlen and I picked up a bottle of this wine at the Berkeley Grocery Outlet last week. We decanted it for approx. 15 minutes and really enjoyed it. We tried it again tonight and felt it really benefited from the air circulation – so much so that it wasn’t a big hit with the dinner party. I’d buy this bottle again, but it made me consider investing in a traveling decanter.
Our Zinfandel offers up classic Zin notes of cracked white and black pepper, caramel, pomegranate, and summer raspberries. In the mouth, this wine is not shy on fruit, with jammy notes of backyard plums, boysenberries and blackberries. Because of its inherently soft tannins, this wine is drinkable in its youth, and pairs exceedingly well with pizza, cheeseburgers just off the grill.
2007 Chilean Caliterra Reserva Carmenere
THIS wine was the hit of the night. By far the house favorite, everyone thought this was a winner, despite being thrown off by the screwtop and odd label. Upon further internet investigation we found this wine was selected Chile’s best Carmenere blend in 2008. There are so many wine competitions – how else does Barefoot Wines always have some sort of award? – but I think this one is a goodie.
2006 Vina Calina Merlot Alcance
It had all the markings of a decent wine – a heavy, expensive looking bottle; an elegant label design. But alas, it was a trap. This was the only bummer of the night. It was passable – but one-dimensional. That’s what you get taking a chance on a Merlot.