Bordeaux QPR: Mission Impossible?

Chateau Margaux

A lot of you have told me that you shared my recent despair over how hard it’s getting to find wines of good Quality-Price Ratio (“QPR”) in today’s economy. The price floor for wines that are good but affordable seems to be moving briskly into double digits.
Now, let’s turn to Page Two: It’s the price of good Bordeaux that really gives me a gut punch.

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Château Amour 2011 Médoc ($23)

Château Amour 2011 Médoc

Clear dark garnet at the center, dark almost to the clear edge. Attractive if simple, characteristic Bordeaux scents, blackcurrants and black cherries reflect its equal proportions of Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. Fresh black fruit and a clear sense of Bordeaux cedar/”pencil lead” on the palate, laced up with palate-cleansing acidity, reasonable 13% alcohol, and soft but perceptible tannins. Tart black fruit lingers in a long finish.

Check prices and find vendors for Château Amour Médoc on offers only a few vendors for this wine, but you can find lots of affordable Medoc on this link. Click the blue “Cheapest” tab at the top to sort the wines from lowest price upward.
Finally, The California Wine Club has this International Series selection for $23 at this link. Read article.

Enjoying bubbly? Lose the flute.

Flute, not-flute

The cork comes out with a noisy pop! Fizzy wine pours frothing into a tall, narrow glass called a “flute.” Was your New Year’s Eve like this? Stop! Reboot! Let’s make a quick resolution: No more wasting the joy of quality sparkling wines in a traditional glass that is profoundly unsuited to show off their fine aromas.

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Gérard Bertrand 2012 “Cuvee Thomas Jefferson” Cremant de Limoux Brut ($17.99)

Gérard Bertrand

This sparkling blend of Chardonnay (70%), Chenin Blanc (15%), Mauzac (10%) and Pinot Noir (5%) shows a clear, pale straw color in the glass. A frothy white mousse bubbles up but falls back fast; but a steady stream of pinpoint bubbles lasts and lasts. Delicate, pleasant white fruit on the nose: Green figs, maybe, and a hint of dates, with subtle pears in the background. Carbonation and crisp acidity start the flavor with a palate-cleansing effect, then simple white fruit follows the nose, with just a hint of fresh green herbs that lingers into a long, clean finish. (Jan. 7, 2016)

Check prices and find vendors for Gérard Bertrand “Cuvee Thomas Jefferson” Cremant de Limoux Brut on

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Is QPR dying, or is it just me?

Monopoly man

I’m sorry. I’m feeling a little crabby today. I’ll try to keep it under control, but I’d like to get your reality check. Here’s today’s heartburn: It seems to be getting harder and harder to find wines of real QPR, which I hope you’ll remember as the wine-geek term, “Quality-Price Ratio.”

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Argyle 2013 Willamette Valley Oregon Pinot Noir ($20.99)


Clear garnet, on the light side, as is often typical of cool-climate Pinot Noir. Initially it’s loaded with fresh fruit aromas and flavors, red berries and cherries, appealing if a bit simple. After an hour airing in the glass, as so often happens with Pinot Noir, it wakes up to somewhat more complex characteristics, red fruit and black tea. The palate also evolves, showing light tannic astringency that joins its snappy acidity and rational 13% alcohol to make it palate-cleansing and food-friendly. Its $20ish price tag places it toward the lower end of the spectrum for quality Oregon Pinot, but it’s a good value at that point. (Dec. 12, 2015)

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Wine list is meh? Have a cocktail!

A Sazerac cocktail

This may sound like heresy from a wine writer, but when I go out to eat, I don’t always order wine to drink. What’s up with that? I do love wine. … But I don’t always like wine in the context of the modern restaurant wine list. When I scan the list and find nothing that excites me at a price I’m willing to pay, that’s when I clap my hands and cheer about the cocktail renaissance that’s become a big thing on the restaurant scene.

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Giving thanks for social wine

Wine Feast

Yesterday was Thanksgiving Day, a time when many Americans give thanks for a good life by enjoying food and drink. We were right there with them, marking the feast with not one but two festive gatherings. Yet it wasn’t really a “wine-geek” day for me, and that has something to do with my morning-after thoughts about wine and food and community with friends.

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Domaine de Bachellery 2013 Pays d’Oc Pinot Noir ($11.99)

Domaine de Bachellery

Clear, dark ruby. Red fruit and apple aromas and a whiff of spices; ripe and juicy, plums and cherries and tart, snappy acidity in the flavor, with a touch of oak and a back note of soft tannins. Rather simple, not a great deal of Pinot character, but it’s a decent, versatile table red that shows Pinot Noir’s easy affinity for a wide variety of foods. Modest 12.5% enhances its simple grace at the dinner table. At a Thanksgiving Day dinner, it showed the versatility of Pinot by pairing effortlessly with both light and dark turkey meat and a delicious variety of side dishes.

If you’d like to try affordable Pinot Noirs from Languedoc’s Pays d’Oc, offers vendor and price information about dozens of options at this link. Read article.