One of the things I do on a fairly regular basis is host opening night parties at the Eclectic Company Theatre, where I am a long-time member. It's always challenging to find inexpensive wine to pour for folks who are not necessarily looking for great wine, just something the wet their whistle and improve their theatre-going experience.
We've bought various Argentinean and Chilean wines at Trader Joe's, but the inventory there changes pretty quickly, and recently we haven't been able to find the La Boca Malbec from Argentina, so we went a bit further afield. A new store, Fresh and Easy owned by British company that also owns Tesco, opened in Burbank (and all over LA, as far as I can tell). JD went to do some grocery shopping and came back with info about a huge wine sale taking place: Wines that were already seriously inexpensive had additional discounts in case lots. So, he picked out 2 whites, 2 roses and 2 reds, paid under $12 for the 6 bottles, and brought them home to taste.
The 6 wines - interestingly mostly from Spain - had some interesting variety.
#1 - 2009 Saludas White Wine. Vino de Tierra de Castilla (this is the region the wine is from, plus indicates that it's table wine). The bottle didn't specify the varietal, so we assumed it's a blend of Albarino and maybe something local. Color was watery straw, the nose lemon-lime. In the mouth, really dry, low alcohol (11.5%), and a terrible, long, sour finish. I think the technical term is 'ick'.
#2. NV The Big Kahuna Chardonnay from Southeastern Australia. Pale gold in color; smells like Chardonnay - apple in the nose, some soft citrus in the mouth. The notes on the bottle say melon and apple, but we didn't taste it. It was inoffensive, drinkable.
#3. 2009 Wink California White Zinfandel. Yes, JD brought a bottle WZ into my house. Well, technically it is a rose. This was pale pink with a nice cherry nose. Initial taste was pleasant, not over-sweet, but the extra-long finish seemed to get sweeter, and it was actually a little hard to get the taste out of our mouths. It reminded me of watered-down Kool-Aid.
#4. 2009 Saludas Tempranillo Rose, also from Tierra del Castilla. Deep, deep dark pink color. Not much nose, but black cherry and spice in the mouth. Nice and fruity without being sweet. We liked it a lot.
#5. NV The Big Kahuna Cabernet Sauvignon/Shiraz blend from Southeastern Australia. Rusty, oxidized color - strange for such a young wine, and with a screw cap. Tar and something odd, almost corkiness in the nose. Solvent in the mouth. I think this bottle was just bad; something went wrong with it.
#6. 2009 Saludas Tempranillo. Tierra de Castilla again. Deep purple color. Earth, tobacco and leather in the nose. Medium tannins, plums and other black fruit in the mouth. We liked this one, too.
So, we'll be serving these two wines for the opening nights (4 in all) of our upcoming Hurricane Season, 7th Annual One-Act Play Festival.
The first opening night is Friday, July 9th - you should come! Opening night party, interesting, never-produced original plays! Hope to see you there.