Sunday, July 1, 2012

The Reverse Wine Snob

Carlos pointed me to this Business Insider article, which interviewed the The Reverse Wine Snob. I'd never heard of him. He rates wine under $20. Had I found my wine arch-nemesis?*

Not at all! While I tend to only drink wine that costs more than $20, I would love to find enjoyable wine under that price. It's possible I have become snobbish in what I like, but I hope not.

Reading his Top 10 Red list inspired me to try his highest rated wines and see what I thought. I called up Jose, resident Costco evangelist, to get me in. I had been wanting to go there since I watched the CNBC special on CostcoWe walked the wine aisle, looking for any matches from the list. I picked up a few bottles, two from his list, and we headed home to give them a try. A couple of texts to Bob, and he and Carolyn were on their way to join us. They arrived with enough cocktail weenies, cheese, and crackers to feed an army.

2008 Dry Creek, Old Vine, Zinfandel

The first wine we tried was a 2008 Dry Creek, Old Vine, Zinfandel. It wasn't on the top ten list, but I always like to have a Zin for Jose. It cost $18.89. Variants of this wine, there are 3 different Zins, have scored high in a couple of our blind tastings, but this bottle didn't work for me; it tasted chalky, perhaps from tannins. It may also have been from the serving temperature; Jose pointed out the wine was too warm.

2008 d'Arenberg, The Laughing Magpie, Shiraz Viognier 

The second wine we tried was a 2008 d'Arenberg, The Laughing Magpie, Shiraz Viognier. It wasn't on the top ten list either, but it was from the creator of The Dead Arm, a bottle Jose gave to me as a birthday present years ago, and I figure what the heck. It cost $17.99. It tasted pretty good.

2009 Tudal Family Winery, Tractor Shed Red

The third wine we tried was the 2009 Tudal Family Winery, Tractor Shed Red, a California blend of Sangiovese, Merlot, Zinfandel and Cabernet Franc. This is #2 on his list and cost $6.99. It tasted great! I'm going to have to try a couple more bottles to verify our original findings. Bob asked me to pick him up one, which I did, but since he didn't take it home...

2010 Napa Cellars, Napa Valley, Merlot

The last wine we tried was the 2010 Napa Cellars, Napa Valley, Merlot. The 2009 is #7 on his list. This cost $12.99. It too was very good and warranted further investigation.

Bob and Jose concentrate on the tastes and smells

Sue shines with glass in hand

* Everyone knows that Carlos is my poker arch-nemesis.


I tried the Dry Creek again days later at a poker game and did not at all get the chalky taste. In fact, it tasted quite nice, though it didn't help my poker game (but what can). Either the temperature was too high or the bottle was bad. I would guess it the former.

We tried the Tractor Shed Red again last night. It's unfamiliar taste seemed pretty rough to me. I may try it again, but I'm not thinking this is drinkable unless you proceed it with two other bottles.

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  1. Glad you liked a couple of my picks! The Tractor Shed Red really is pretty amazing for the price. The makers of the wine, Cerruti Cellars, have some other really nice wines I'll hopefully be reviewing soon as well. And so far all the Napa Cellars wines I've tried over-deliver for the price.

    Hope you'll try a few more of my picks too! And let me know if you come across any other great wines under $20! Cheers


    1. Cerruti Cellars is in Oakland; I'll have to put them on the list of wineries to visit

    2. Yeah, they have a nice tasting room in Jack London Square with a replica of the Tractor from the bottle out front. I stopped in a couple months back when I was traveling through. (I think the winery itself is in Napa.) If you go tell them the Reverse Wine Snob sent you :)

  2. I've got your #1 waiting at KnL and I'll be on the look out for the others.

    1. Nice, I thought the 2009 vintage of AMV Tous Les Jours Syrah was completely sold out!

    2. We finally put the Sryahs we could find to a blind tasting: