Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Cheap Wine Can Be Scary

Everyone likes a bargain, me especially. However, when it comes to inexpensive wine, there seems to be a lot more misses than hits.

Within the vineyard, the vine leaves should be thinned to allow more sun onto the fruit. Yields are reduced by "green harvesting", that is, removing surplus grape clusters to allow the energy of the vine to concentrate on the remaining bunches. The aim is to achieve low yields to intensify the flavor. (It has got to be hard to see tons of your profits left to rot on the ground!)

Rather than gather the grapes at the "official" start of the harvest, they are left to hang and are tasted regularly to ensure that they are physiologically ripe when picked. This ensures the fruit has no harsh tannins or bitter elements, but has plenty of natural sugar.

Not all producers follow these practices and the result is overcropping. It is often associated with irrigation, when vineyards have large yields of under-ripe grapes, and produce generic table wine.

Life is too short to drink boring wine. An enjoyable wine should be balanced, interesting and most of all, food-friendly.

An E-book called "Fool-Proof Wine Values" incorporates the results of extensive tastings into a useful consumer guide, featuring reports on 147 inexpensive wines from 44 producers that meet a tough criteria:

• Taste like wines priced in the $20 to $50 range
• Cost $10 or less
• Deliver consistent quality year after year
• Are readily available at wine shops in the U.S.

It sells for $19, with a 100 percent, 60-day, no-questions-asked, money-back guarantee. Itr can be downloaded at:

Enjoy some BOO-TI-FUL and inexpensive wine tonight!