It is easy to knock California for not making affordable wine worth
drinking. And that‚€™s mostly the wine industry‚€™s fault, because they
would like us to focus on the high-end cult cabernets and chardonnays
that sell for triple figures to exclusive mailing lists. I‚€™ve always
thought there must be some good, cheap California wines, and figured
they are mostly sold in-state, never reaching the East Coast.
Well, I‚€™m wrong, as usual.
Parducci 2005 Sustainable Red ($10) is not only delicious, but politically correct in the green sort of way. Parducci is part of the Mendocino Wine Company,
a leading proponent of sustainable, organic and biodynamic viticulture.
This blend, unspecified on the label, includes merlot, cabernet
sauvignon, syrah, primitivo, zinfandel (the winery cheat sheet doesn‚€™t
distinguish between those two), petite sirah, and viognier. It shows
great fruit and balance and is deliciously fun.
Another pleasant surprise is Fess Parker Winery’s Frontier Red Lot No. 91 (about $11),
a multi-vintage blend that features the man himself in Davy
Crockett/Daniel Boone finery (or at least millinery) on the label and a
juicy, delicious red wine inside. Great for burgers, pizza, or just
about any other casual fare that calls for red.