BEST of the Undrinkables

undrinkableWEB.jpgBanished to the corners of the wine cellar; the remains of subscription programs long canceled. Wines too awkward to pull the cork with friends. When did you subscribe to these guys? Why? These are wines that can only be poured with strangers – on holidays with bring-along guests – who do not know better. Like we did not know better when we signed on for blends of Cabernet and Syrah. Now that we have unequivocally declared our slavish devotion to Pinot Noir we strive to find opportunities to drink some of these undrinkables.
And we find those opportunities. Pay attention to the older vintages and the funky blends. And how can it be that wineries usually counted on for a decent effort can produce a wine so stanky? We are blessed that every bottle is not awful. Some are…drinkable. It is better we take on this task of finding the best of the undrinkables. Let our pain perhaps spare you some of your own. Who better to savor the pleasure of pouring $15 worth of wine down the drain…than tBoW.
clautmourv04WEB.jpg2005 Clautiere Estate Mourvedre ~$20: Not so bad! Actually tasted better after three days. The winery does a very commendable job playing along with their east-of-the-101 Paso vineyard filled with old vines and new plantings they put in. This is nice Mourvedre, solid fruit, not too sweet, with Central Coast character especially on the hottest side of the region. Three days later still ruby red color. Tastes better, some spice, light to middle weight. Fruit is restrained. A winery growing the right grapes and putting out a decent product at a fair price. 14.2%
2003 Clautiere Estate Mon Rouge ~$20: Half Syrah, half Cabernet Sauvignon and a touch of Mourvedre gives a funky nose with some sweetness (the Cab). As a wise winemaker once told me, “Cabernet is a great blending grape”. Works here. Give it the aerator and it opens nicely. BBQ notes on the nose. Bring out the air blaster! I can see the chocolate appeal and some cinnamon. Nice wine if fruit forward non-descript Central Coast red wine is your style. 14.6%
hafnercab99WEB.jpg1999 Hafner Cabernet Sauvignon $25 then: This baby sat in the upper reaches with the two bottle cruvinet out of sight for years. Then it got moved to the bar Christmas 2008. Finally, we cracked it. Alexander Valley [ed. the one between Calistoga and Healdsburg, not the Anderson Valley up 128 to Boonville and Mendocino – report coming soon] fruit is soft and shows nicely. The opposite of the big overwhelming Cabernets favored by many oenories. A rare breed indeed. $13.5%
fatalone05WEB.jpg2005 Fatalone Primitivo $30: Yow that’s acidic almost a spritz. Coffee nose and flavors with dark ripe fruit. Still light weight but hardly delicate. So different instyle; we often like these unusual Italian wines. However, this one just fades into darkness over time. IGTY might say “you can polish your wheels with this stuff.” From Puglia. 15%
MVent08WEB.jpg2008 Domaine Diochon Moulin a Vent $22: Even Kermit gets it wrong sometimes. This should be a strong effort but instead it is lean, woody without much fruit. Did this go through airport security a too many times? Is this an example of excessive NTSA enthusiasm? If I bagged this wine along side a bottle of grape juice fermented in my x-rayed shoes would I be able to tell them apart? Either a bad bottle or a bad wine. It happens. 13%
MMCab98WEB.jpg1998 McKenzie Mueller Cabernet Sauvignon $45: Bob Mueller is a master winemaker, no questions about that. This was a delicious wine IF YOU ARE A CAB FAN. We had the perfect occasion to bust this open with two Cab-os at the table and steak on the grill. I made sure to open this ahead of the 2001 Honig and the 2004 Steltzner. Dark fruit, holding back much of its charm, waiting for a little time to open up. Masculine wine; being from Carneros it shows more of the Sacramento Delta certainly than Napa mountains or lowlands. Downright Acadian. 14%
windwardPN98WEB.jpg1998 Windward Pinot Noir ~$24: It seemed like a good idea at the time; a noble experiment growing Monopole Pinot Noir. We stuck with this winery for 5 years. Ergo tBoW still has a mixed case tucked away in the cellar. 1998 was an early vintage. There was nothing left in this bottle. Typically, the wine has a tomato nose and flavor…and not spicy tomato. The red soft kind. Make me an offer. I have Reserve too! Maybe you can grow Pinot Noir in Malibu but you sure cannot in Paso. 14%
snake-liquorWEB.jpgThis image of what is probably a toxic drink was just too good to leave out….

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