Pete's, if you haven't been, has got all of the charm of your average convenience store. I like this. They have shopping carts at the door, and you're free to stock up on whatever you want. They sell beer at good prices, box wine, jug wine, bottled wine, and exotica such as a $150 3-pack of Columbia Crest [?] meritage - a limited edition with a fine art print. Intriguing, but out of my price range.
On Saturdays, they have wine tasting available. I've never bothered. The store was filled with middle aged white people and the occasional gay couple [OK, one - I could tell by their Drakkar Noir] wandering around with glasses, drinking and wondering about what to buy. A handsome older gentleman started filling my basket with bottles until I asked him politely that he not do so - his wife and her basket were just a little further. He apologized, and joked about wanting me to pay for his wine. I said, nah, don't worry about it, I can see you're married - I don't know what I was getting at and in any case no one got the joke. Ah well.
Anyhow, I had come with one bottle in mind: a second bottle of the 1999 Glen Fiona 'puncheon aged' Syrah. I had confirmation from the winery this week that it was in fact cofermented with viognier, so I thought I should splurge on a second bottle and lay it down for at least three more years.
But... you know how these things go. I figured it couldn't hurt to do a little bit more shopping as long as I was there, mostly for pricey things for laying down. ['Laying down' is UK wine snob speak for 'putting in the cellar and drinking many years later'.] And so I did. Grand total: 25 bottles, $407. Not cheap, but good value. I don't normally buy wine in this quantity, but every once in a while I do. It's been a wine buying month mostly because I expect a tax refund in a few weeks, and I'm armed with a 0% interest credit card. Not real prudent, but hey. It's my life.
Here's the haul:
2000 Yalumba Barossa Shiraz [South Australia], $13
There were only two bottles on the shelf, so I grabbed them both. This was one of my favorite cheapies while I was in Australia - at the time, it cost something like $7 a bottle. However, the dollar is now worth a lot less, and I found myself suddenly realizing that wine of this quality is still a good value at $13. I aim to lay this down for another couple of years, perhaps to celebrate the 5 year anniversary of our visit to Australia in February 2007.
2002 Joel Gott Zinfandel [California], $14
A couple of weeks ago, I found a really funny looking bottle of Zinfandel for $12.49 [$10 in California] - it was a one liter jug style bottle, like you'd normally associate with Carlo Rossi style crap. However, this seemed like it must be good wine because of the store where I found it, so I took it home. On the back was this URL:
and virtually no further zinformation. I am deadly curious about its contents but must refrain from drinking the jug until the proper social opportunity presents itself.
In the meantime, Joel Gott is apparently one of the guys behind the mystery jug, and it was on sale. The bottle was also highly appealing: on the reverse, where you might find marketing speak about little red fruits or fireplaces or perhaps technical notes á la Ridge, all it said was "Enjoy."
I hope I do.
2000 Quilceda Creek Red Wine, $29.50
Given that this is ostensibly the most famous Washington winemaking outfit, and given that the "real stuff" is mailing list only, and given that I will presumably never make it onto the mailing list, I figured I might as well blow my budget on their "table wine" and see if it's either (a) good and/or worth the $30, or (b) utter crap made valuable only by the name on the label.
Of course I'll probably want to wait ten years first. Guess I might get on the list by then, eh? [HAW HAW]
2001 Edmeades Zinfandel [California], $12
Ugh, I just found out that this is part of Artisans & Estates, a/k/a Kendall-Jackson. I feel so dirty. I now know this is from the Anderson Valley, has lots of new oak, and is part Durif. I really have no idea what to expect now. I only bought it 'cuz I was reading a new book on Zinfandel last night and this guy sounded interesting - but he sold the business in the 1980s to those creepy K-J folks. Ah well.
2001 Hedges CSM [Washington], $9
A random cheapie, Bordeaux-style. Should drink this next year, I reckon. Who knows... could be good, could be bad. If anything their marketing director is vaguely attractive [but is that bad Photoshop or an alcoholic's nose?]:
Sometimes it's fun to buy cheap stuff on sale - occasionally you might just get something wonderful. If not, at least you'll still get something to drink with your dinner.
2000 Domaine du Vieux Télégraphe [France], $46
Quite obviously way out of my price range, but what the hell. This came up in conversation with my Dad, and I've been curious to try this for years. It's probably going to sit around in my cellar until at least 2015, alas. This is btw the joke Randall Grahm is making by naming his old vine mataro Old Telegram.
2002 Cline Los Carneros Syrah [California], $16
I love Cline [but not their cheap white or rosé wines]. I love everything about them. I especially love their cheap syrah and their single vineyard zins, even if I don't have any in my cellar right now. Reading the label today, I noticed that it claimed that the fruit was from cool climate syrah vineyards, which gladdens the bearish heart indeed. So, here's hoping this is vaguely like cool climate Aussie Shiraz [think Plantagenet] at a more reasonable price.
1998 Penfolds Bin 28 Kalimna Shiraz [mostly South Australia], $15
Again, only two bottles on the shelf, so I took 'em both. I'm not sure if I've ever actually tasted this wine but now have a quasi-vertical in my cellar: 1996, 1997, 1998, and 2000. According to Penfolds this should really hit its stride in ten years or so. Good thing I'm patient. :)
Come to think of it, I've probably tasted every Penfolds shiraz at this point save for the really cheap stuff and the Bin 28. Strange.
2002 Te Matua Sauvignon Blanc [New Zealand], $8.50
I have no idea why Kiwi sauvignon blanc is suddenly cheaper than ever before, especially given the huge rise in the value of the Kiwi dollar, but I'm not complaining. They also had the 2002 Giesen we had at dinner at Ivar's earlier in the week for just $10. Amazing.
My good friend Neville [woof!] brought us a bottle of the Te Mata chardonnay in Australia back in early 2002, and it was really remarkably good. I hope this stuff is as well!
2002 Cline Ancient Vines Zinfandel, $12.75
Never had it before, will probably love it. See Cline syrah, supra.
NV Mumm Napa 25th Anniversary Cuvée, $18
I don't know what this is and I can't seem to find any info online. I used to like their blanc de noirs - I once demanded a bottle of it at Netscape after finding a ship stopper bug - but I haven't had any since I gave Neville a bottle in 2000. I hope this is OK. They seem to have changed winemaking recently to be sweeter, which I think sucks. Long live Domaine Carneros. Á bas with the dosage-overdoers at Mumm.
2001 Justin Obtuse [California], $11.75 [375 mL]
I had a half bottle of this with my Dad on his birthday last year, and it was fan-fucking-tastic. Worth every penny.
2003 Neil Ellis Sauvignon Blanc [South Africa], $12.75
Surprise, I have a mini-vertical - looks like Dan picked up a bottle of the 2002 last summer which we never got around to drinking. This is supposed to be seriously good stuff - all I need is some spring weather to crack one open.
2001 Belle Pente Pinot Noir [Oregon], $16
I don't know anything about this one. Their dry riesling is supposed to be fantastic, so I figured their pinot might be good too...
2002 Ste. Chapelle Dry Riesling [Idaho], $5
Yes, Idaho. This is really tasty if well chilled, kinda skanky if not. Amazing value at this price.
1994 Armagan Brut [California], $11
This bottle is just about the ugliest one in my entire cellar, but how I could I resist a mystery ten year old bottle of California sparkling wine?
1999 Andrew Rich Mésalliance [Washington/Oregon], $21.50
This is some wacky Bordelais-y blended wine. I trust it'll be as good as the syrah... I seriously need to call this guy next month and order a case. Beautiful packaging, incredible wine.
2001 Andrew Rich Syrah [Washington], $19.50
Ask mtzlplck about this one; I'm sure he'd agree that it was the bomb. I bought all the bottles they had in the store - sadly, only two left at this point. Yum.
2000 The Eyrie Vineyards Pinot Noir [Oregon], $17
This is from the vineyards that started it all in Oregon. I can't believe the pricing now that I can compare it with online outfits - it should've cost more than this, I suppose.
1999 Glen Fiona Syrah Puncheon Aged [Washington], $20
The original reason for my trip [see above].
2000 Rancho Zabaco Dry Creek Reserve Zinfandel [California], $13
I have two bottles of the 1997 left at this point - I had originally purchased those for something like $7 back in the heady days of the dot com boom. They just keep getting better with age; I shared on with mindplay about two years ago, and it was lovely; opened another one last month with Dan, and it was even better. I hope the 2000 behaves similarly, but I'm going to try some other bottles in this price range before committing, just because I don't really like the idea of throwing more money at Gallo. Still, if theirs is as good as I remember, I guess they'll be the ones to get my money...
Annoyingly, my receipt doesn't have a lot of these wines called out by name or vintage, so I need to go write some stuff down before I complete this post.