We buy a lot of wine under $10, much of it rated highly by someone or other in the wine trade. Our mantra is: High rating, low price. We also buy a fair amount of wine that costs more than $10, which we don't write about here.
Every now and then we forget which is which, and sometimes when that happens we open a bottle we've had around for a while but never tasted and exclaim what a great bottle of wine it is. Usually we just assume that it's one of the more expensive bottles.
But the other night we opened a bottle of a little known (at least to us) chardonnay that had been in the cellar for a bit. It was oaky and toasty and was not unlike the chardonnays from Carneros that we love so much. The fruit forward taste, followed by a pleasant aftertaste of vanilla, was glorious. It even stood up against the very hot Indian food on the evening's menu.
We checked our wine store receipts and were shocked to find that this better-than-pleasant wine was not only $7.99 a bottle, but it was also available in 1.5 liter bottles for $13.99. Now that's a bargain.
We had it again the next evening with more subtle vegetarian fare, and again it was superb.
The wine was 2007 Oak Grove Chardonnay Reserve from California. The people at Beverage Dynamics, whatever that is, rated it 87. We think it's too low.