We look at navigating the world of wine kind of like a treasure hunt. All it takes is one toe-curling wine that blows you away and all of the sudden you are compelled to seek out more. The adventure and sport comes into play in trying to find that next wine at a great price. Anyone (who has lots of money or a flexible expense account) can drop a few hundred dollars on a bottle of 1998 Latour and have a wonderful experience, but where is the find? That sense of personal gratification that only comes when you feel like maybe, just maybe, you beat the system. The great values are the real jewels in the search.
Recently, we’ve come across two delicious wines that we didn’t have to sell stolen office supplies to pay for. (Although if anybody is in the market for a Swingline in mint condition, we may know someone…)
2003 Mount Langi Ghiran, “Billi Billi” Shiraz, Australia, around $16
The first one we discovered was this spicy, full-bodied Shiraz from Australia with screw cap. This wine surprised and lured us in from the first sip. Absent were the heavy, jammy notes that you sometimes see in Australian shiraz. This wine was lively, with bright notes of spices and black cherries that didn’t weigh down your tastebuds. This is a new world wine for old world enthusiasts.
2003 Chave Offerus, St.-Joseph, France, around $28
Yes, the price tag jumped a little but at $28 this wine is still a great value. Our problem is we love Northern Rhone wines but they tend to be hard to find and very expensive. This wine is a delicious exception. On the nose are smoky, peppery aromas and ripe blackberry and plum notes that intensify on the palate. If that doesn’t convince you, maybe the gentle hint of bacon aromas that come alive after a swirl or two in the glass will. (Probably not a good wine for Passover).
Coming across the occasional find like these is the perfect motivation to keep us going. Sure, this can be an arduous job of smelling, sipping and swirling wine (carpal tunnel is a frightening reality we very well may face) but if you keep searching you never know what you are going to find. As Napoleon Bonaparte once said, “Victory belongs to the most persevering.”