Thursday, March 5, 2009

2005 Clos LaChance "Black Chinned" Syrah

There was an interesting article on yesterday about the lack of representation of Californian wines in UK merchants. According to one independent wine merchant, California has few mid-range wines and does not offer good value for money.

Well I'm not sure what exactly they define "mid range" to be, but I can think of at least one larger sized Californian producer that offers good value for money: Clos LaChance. Their "Hummingbird" range is readily available in many supermarkets round here. The official retail prices are in the $15-$20 range, but they can often be found for less, particularly in supermarkets. I recently noticed a promotion in my local Safeway on the 2005 Syrah - reduced from $20 to $10, with an additional 10% off for mixed half cases. At that price who can refuse?

This is a lovely, dark, new world Syrah. On the nose we noticed oak and eucalyptus; on the palate lots of black fruits and a hint of coffee. As time went by the tannins became more pronounced. At $9 a bottle this is a screaming bargain; the promotion lasts until March 11th at larger stores.


Cdurzy said...

screamin deal...i like it! thanks dave.

In terms of the UK: I can tell you why CA wines are under-represented.
1. Importers/distribution in the UK is impossible to get. Because...
2. Pricing once the wine lands is ridiculous. Tariffs
3. The labeling requirements are a pain. They want us to take off the health warning and alcohols have to be rounded to .5%. Also, name of importer needs to be on the bottle. Makes things very difficult for smaller producers to sell wine without a special label or relabeling (an added expense).

Dave said...

While I'm not disagreeing with you, most of that is the same for every importer. I don't know whether the rules are different within the EU, but surely the tariffs must be the same for the US as for South America, Australia and South Africa, all of which seem to have much wider ranges available.

As far as the labeling requirements go, I can't see a logical reason why the Surgeon General warning should pose a problem, but I'll take your word for it that it does.

For the alcohol content, I've never understood why it's so difficult to predict to within 0.5% what the alcohol level will turn out to be; the US rule of +/- 1.5% always seemed unreasonably vague to me.