Good Morning Gentle Readers,
One advantage of being a Commonsewer as opposed to a Con-Noisier is that you can get right to it and dispense with all that flowery, jargonistic, wine snobbery prose.
The 2005 Smoking Loon Cabernet is a pretty good wine. Best of all there's not a trace of that ghastly, sickly, off-sweet, cloying taste that is often passed off as cherries and often afflicts cheap Cabernet and Merlot. Its a very smooth wine with a nice balance. Although it may not be quite what you would call a full-bodied wine, it does a pretty good impression of one. Lots of black fruit, a little oak, a little vanilla, without a lingering finish. That means that bit you savor at the end of the sip doesn't last very long. Wish it did, but it does not detract.
As TWC is fond of remarking, I've had wines costing two and three times as much that weren't as good. Here's one.
Quite honestly, the Smoking Loon blows the doors off the rest of the bargain rack reds. Meridian, Red Truck, Two Buck Chuck (Three Buck Chuck back east), Glen Ellen, Forest Glen, Mondavi Woodbridge (one of the better cheap cabs), Turning Leaf.....shall I go on? Not lumping here, certainly, there are varying degrees of quality among the wines just mentioned, from the plonkish Two Buck Chuck to the pretty decent Woodbridge, but they are all inexpensive wines.
TWC recently picked up a case at Sam's Club for $5.94 per bottle, a spectacular buy, as this wine typically retails in the $8.00-$11.00 range. Truth is, I paid more than that for one glass of the stuff at the Rusty Harpoon.
TWC can't vouch for availability so you might want to scamper on down to your local Sam's and check because the big sign said One Time Buy. I also noticed that Smoking Loon Cabernet can be had at that French Store, Tar-jay for about $8.00 (that's California money, it prolly costs more in your state).
Smoking Loon was created by Known Republican Don Sebastiani who, some two decades ago, so incensed the local Democrats that they yachted out to the middle of Santa Monica Bay and unceremoniously dumped hundreds of dollars worth of Sebastiani Wine into the harbor. It was supposed to be a kind of Boston Tea Party morality play except the allusion eluded me. It still does. What? Taxation without really mediocre non-government wine?
Sebastiani traditionally has made only bulk wine meant to be rebranded by other companies. Despite that, I seem to recall that there was some fairly forgettable wine marketed under the Sebastiani label some years ago. Could be wrong. About seven years ago Don & Sons formed a new company called, well, Don & Sons aka Three Loose Screws with the idea of marketing good wine at good prices.
Kitschy labeling is mostly off-putting to me, I almost expect any winery with a cool label to be guilty of false advertising. Think: Red Snake Merlot, an insipid poseur worthy of Miles' derision. Wait, I haven't written that review yet so no link. Don & Sons use clever labeling to get your attention or even to elicit a smile but when the wine is poured, its pretty good. That's what counts.
This little fourteen minute video, produced by Don & Sons, has gotten quite a bit of attention since its debut at the 10th Annual Sonoma Valley Film Festival. I think you'll enjoy Bret Lyman's cinematic portrayal of harvest. A day in the life, if you will. The life of winemaker Richard Bruno.
was to show the real level at which wine is made. It's not all about the labels and all this other stuff. There's a real human element, a real human connection to wine that is often overlooked in this whole big wine industry that we all live in.
Email subscribers will find the video here.
The Wine Commonsewer