Wine — Behind One Door Is Great Wine

Behind One Door Is Great Wine

By Tim Protzman

Behind one door is great wine Behind the others is a taste like a goat

There’re two shows on TV that if you explained the plots to me I’d be totally uninterested.

But, in reality I can’t seemed to get enough of them. ABC’s Extreme Makeover Home Edition, which on paper seems as boring as watching paint dry (because that’s what they show you), takes the element of workplace friction, interesting characters and human kindness and combines them into a wonderful show where they remodel a house to help a deserving family. Sure, it’s fun to watch them fight over which throw pillows to buy, and I love it when the host heaves a sink through the window during the “teardown” process. But the show’s real success is the care and planning they put into matching improvements to the family’s tastes. It’s kind of like selecting wine.

The second show is Antiques Roadshow on PBS. People drag in their junk and treasures for an appraisal from experts and the most interesting ones get on the air. I like it when someone buys a Monet for a dollar, but it’s fun to see the snooty collector get told they spent $1,200 dollars on a fake, even if it is a good fake.

Both shows are very popular and I think it’s because we like to see the underdogs win, whether they get a new house or a thousand-fold return on their investment. We live vicariously through their good fortune, hoping that someday we might find a Da Vinci or Navajo blanket in the attic.

It doesn’t matter if you’re Trump or someone who buys the giant pack of paper towels at a shopping club; we all love a bargain.

This week’s wines are all bargains that cost less than $10 dollars, but provide a far greater return on investment, and in the tradition of Let’s Make a Deal there’s are a few zonkers behind Door Number Three, proving that we all get fooled sometime.

American Whites

Atlas Peak Chardonnay, Napa, $9.99. Creamy with some oak.

Callaway Chenin Blanc, Central Coast, $7.99 (you can’t go wrong with any Callaway wine)

Kendall Jackson Sauvignon Blanc Vintners RSV. North Coast, $9.99, a bestseller and for good reason.

Meridian Chardonnay, Santa Barbara, $8.99.

American Reds

Camelot Cabernet Savignon, $6.99, Central Coast. Try the pinot noir too!

Pavilion Cabernet Sauvignon,  $10.99, A great Napa wine at a great price.

Frei Brothers Redwood Creek Syrah, $7.99, nice fruit, cherry, with cassis and spice undertones.

2001 Hacienda Cabernet Sauvignon, Claire de Lune, $9.99

1999 Frey Vineyards Organic Mendocino Zinfandel, $7.99, more pinot noir tasting than zin.

Vigil 1997 Late Harvest Zinfandel 375 ml for $3.99, rivals a more expensive port.

2001 Leaping Lizard Merlot $10.99.

Monterra Promise 1995 Cabernet Sauvignon San Bernabe Ranch. Yummy and fruity with low tannins and jammy grape flavors, $10.99 from Monterey.

2001 Gallo of Sonoma, Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir — a sleeper. Deep cherry tastes, easy to drink and $9.99. Could have more gravitas, but who’s complaining.

Firestone 2001 Central Coast Cabernet Sauvignon, $9.99. From the Santa Barbara region just north of Santa Ynez.

CK Mondavi 2001 Wild Creek Merlot. From the Peter Mondavi branch and the Charles Krug Vineyard, $7.99. Exceeded my expectations.

Fetzer 2001 Five Rivers Ranch Santa Barbara County Pinot Noir, $9.99. Warmly red and fruity with hearty tannins and a touch of spice.

Beaulieu Vineyards Coastal Estates 2001 Pinot Noir, $9.9,9 nice inexpensive California pinot noir. Strawberry and cherry fruit flavors.

Imported Rose

Bodegas Muga’s 2001 Rosado. A blend of 60 percent Grenache, 30 percen percent Viura, and 10 percent Tempranillo in a great Spanish rose, $7.99.

Chateau Calissanne Cuvee du Chateau from Aix en Province, The best rose from France I ever had, $8.99. 15 percent cabernet sauvignon, 50 percent Grenache and 35 percent syrah.

Imported Whites

Piesporter Michelsberg Kabinett — Sweet but lighter than most Rieslings. Green apple tastes and green pears and ripe plums. $8.99. Germany

2002 Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc, Cooper’s Creek, New Zealand, $8.99. Any sauvignon blanc is good at this price!

Bodega Jacques and Francois Lurton Valle de Oco Pinot Gris, $8.99, Mendoza, Argentina.

Imported Reds

Monte Antico Toscano IGT, 2001 $10.99, Tuscany, Italy.

2001 Umberto Fiore Barbera D’Alba.  Thick and intense needs a heavy meat with a Bolognese sauce, $8.99.

What’s behind door Number Three

1992 George DuBoeuf Saint-Veran $6.99. Great year, terrible wine. Tasted metallic and oxidized. A Zonk.

1984 William Hill Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon. $18.99. Great wine, but alas very faded and oxidized. Almost caramelized and with a vinegary odor. A near Zonk.

1999 Beringer Gamay Beaujolais. $4.99. A blend of pinot noir and valdiguie, an obscure French grape, that’s been successfully introduced to California. A National Treasure!

Find your wine

The New Hampshire Liquor Commission can help you find your wine with a click or two. Just go to, type the name of your wine into the product locator and click “go.” The site’s search engine will come up with a list of stores that carry the bottle you seek.

—Tim Protzman

2005 HippoPress LLC | Manchester, NH