Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Chateau Wal-Mart

We live in a strange world up here in Canada. A very regulated world - sure, we get "free" healthcare and great welfare if you don't work, but the price is high taxes on everything. This includes booze. In Quebec and Ontario we have to buy all our wine through provincial liquor board monopolies that charge whatever they want. So, we have a kind of skewed value rating system compared to our great free market neighbours down south - a twenty buck "premium" wine here is often a less than ten dollar bottle of plonk down there. Don't believe me? Well, I just spent my annual "beer week" down south with the boys but managed to slip in some wine. And where does one go shopping for wine in the US of A? Well, in more places than here. I was in the local "Chateau Wal-Mart" and saw their prices so I couldn't resist grabbing a bunch of bottles. Most of these wines were less than $10, some as low as $6. The best of the bunch was the NAPA Valley Vineyards, reserve, cabernet sauvignon, 2002. A full bodied oaky smoky chewy wine, I give a "Good" rating, was still great value at $12. Next best was the Five Rivers, cabernet sauvignon, Paso Robles, 2004. Similar in style, also full bodied and chewy, an even better bargain at $8. The J. Lohr, Seven Oaks, cabernet sauvignon, Paso Robles, 2005 is also a good, full bodied oaky wine perfect for sipping and great value at $10 (this wine I know sells for $25 up here. Unbelievable). Even the "okay" Jacobs Creek and Yellow Tail wines are super cheap - $11 a magnum (they are $13-15 a regular bottle here!). The only disappointment was the Kendall Jackson, Vintners reserve, Zinfandel, 2005 - a medium bodied lightly fruity effort, definitely not my style of zin. It would be thought of as "okay" for value up here at $13, but compared to what you can get there for the price, I wouldn't buy it again....
So, for everyday wine wine bargains, I am envious of you Americans; you can try all these bargains and if one doesn't measure up, it still ends up being a cheap drain cleaner.
Oh, in case you wondered what happened to the beer.....

Burp!, er Cheers!


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