- 2016 Maison Barboulot Cabernet-Syrah $4.99 (@Trader Joe’s; California)
- 2016 Sterling Chardonnay, California $4.99 (@Costco; California)
- 2017 Maison Barboulot Marsanne-Viognier $4.99 (@Trader Joe’s; California)
I have to admit that I was avoiding tasting these three wines because more often than not, wines priced below $5 are a bit of a crap shoot, the operative word being crap. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that all three were keepers.
You know how much we love wine values under $10. Most of the wines we feature fall between the $5 and $10 price point. So we get downright giddy when we find solid wine values south of $5.00, even when it’s just one cent shy.
The Sterling Chardonnay was one of those Costco wine deals where there is a discount applied at check out. In this case, the wine had a faux price of $6.99, with a $2.00 “coupon” automatically deducted and yielding a $4.99 price on your receipt. It’s magic!
The wine is pretty magical too, when you consider the price. It has a nice crisp nose of apple, pear and wet stone. It features flavors of pineapple, lemon/lime and white peach. If you’re a California “Chard” drinker, this wine should not disappoint.
The two wines from Maison Barboulot are from Trader Joes, which appears to the the only place you can find them. Those of us “in the trade” refer to these as exclusive brands. Others refer to them as private label wines. But quite often (especially at TJs) these wines are where you will find the extreme values.
Both wines are complementary blends of two varietals and both are produced in the Languedoc appellation of South Eastern France. The Languedoc is like California’s Central Valley, a workhorse region that turns out high value wines that a meant for quaffing, not studious contemplation.
Just two weeks ago in a different post, we were discussing how a big dollop of Viognier in the blend is transformative. In that case it was being blended into Chenin Blanc. Here it is blended with Marsanne (mar-sahn) which tends to be rich, almost oily when it is bottled without the benefit of another varietal. That 30% of the cuvee that is Viognier helps yield a nice bright white wine that is a clean, clear pale yellow. It has a nose of white flowers and stone fruit and tart flavors of lemon/lime. There are no discernible oak flavors, but who can afford an expensive oak aging regimen when you making a wine in France that is going to sell nine time zones away for a mere $4.99?!
Aside from the fact that it’s a great sipper, this wine would go well with food, especially Asian cuisines and rich chicken and seafood dishes. And since it only clocks in at 12.5% alcohol, you can enjoy 2-3 glasses without hitting the snooze button.
Last but not least, since it really is the best wine of the three, the Maison Barboulot blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah is a delight. It is a nice smooth rounded wine that is a pretty, intense and pretty intense purple/red in the glass. It has aromas of ripe cherries, cured meat and leather. (Trust me, these are good things!) It has nice flavors of black cherry and blueberry pie.
Here at Vinopointer.com, we like our canine references, so here goes:
There is not a runt in this litter.
All three of these wines are good everyday wines that will pair well with food. You can by a case – even a mixed case – for $60. Need I say more?