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Saturday, April 25, 2009

Wine Bargain of the Week: 2007 Bogle Chardonnay and Petit Syrah

OK, OK. We know: Everybody who’s ever unscrewed the cap of a bottle of supermarket wine knows that Bogle is a reliable brand. But let us tell you a story about why it’s important to know some wines you can always count on—any time, any place.

Every autumn Tim (and sometimes Ruth) goes to a ranch/farm near West Tallgrass, South Dakota, for an extended-family reunion, where 30 to 40 relatives gather to hunt ring-necked pheasants and catch up with one another.  Last year Tim and Ruth and two of Tim’s nephews were responsible for the big Saturday night meal. As luck would have it, the case of featured wine didn’t arrive despite UPS’s best efforts to find its way from East Tallgrass.

Tim’s brother forgot to mention that the wine hadn’t arrived, so when we realized our predicament late Saturday afternoon, we called the two attendees who were still driving across what could best be described as land that had been rejected by the director of Dances with Wolves as too desolate and unpopulated. We were in the proverbial middle of nowhere. We needed six Pinot Noirs and six Chardonnays.

Luckily, the cell phone tower out on the highway was working just enough that day so that we got through to niece Amy, who stopped in a town east of Tallgrass (pop. 500) that is considered “the City” by everyone within 150 miles. She went to the only liquor store and gave us the names of six wines. What else, we asked. No, THESE ARE THE ONLY SIX WINES IN THE STORE, she answered. We know enough about wine to be able to buy over the phone, but this was clearly going to be a challenge. The first five were so bad the local drunks wouldn’t touch them. The last of the six was Mark West Pinot. Bingo.

But no Chardonnays, period.

Then caller No. 2 checked in from 30 miles west of West Tallgrass, where the local hooch establishment had a grander selection. But still, we’re talking about a store that my brother doesn’t consider worth a visit—and he lives in Fort Pierre, South Dakota.

Fortunately, caller No. 2 knew a bit about wine, and we knew the hunt had been pared to Chardonnays, so she began reading the blanc list. Bogle Chardonnay! Bingo twice in the same hour. Bear in mind that we were sitting in the wine equivalent of the nosebleed bleacher seats of the bingo hall. Truth be told, the only reason the store had Bogle was that the label depicts a ring-necked pheasant, the peacock of the local tourism economy. But never ask why when you find yourself holding a lottery winner.

Bogle wines, particularly the Chardonnay and Petit Syrah, consistently get high marks despite their under-$10 price. They are both great everyday wines and perfect for large gatherings where you want a quality wine that won't bust the budget. The ’07 Chardonnay is buttery and spicy and smells like pear and apple. The Petit Syrah is jammy, with lots of red-berry fruit color and taste.

If you're having a party, there's no need to spend $15 to $20 on wine you're not sure about. Just put out the Bogle. The hunt need not necessarily be difficult.

Thought: Why does man kill? He kills for food. And not only food: frequently there must be a beverage. Woody Allen said that.

1 comment:

  1. I've been loving the Petit Syrah for awhile now(and it's easy to find!), but haven't tried the Chardonnay. I will next time.