Looking back at the wines I've tasted for this blog, almost all of them were rated above average. This might not seem logical until you consider the millions of gallons of mass produced plonk out there. Bronco, makers of Charles Shaw, farm 100 times as many acres as are planted in the whole of Santa Cruz County.
Of course there are the exceptions. Take for example the 2007 Picchetti Viognier, Still Water Vineyard, Paso Robles. Viognier typically makes light, crisp, floral wines, but in this instance it's been pummeled with oak and malolactic fermentation to the point that it resembles a generic over-manipulated Chardonnay. Loads of vanilla and buttered toast masking the fruit apart from some honey notes. 75
Then there's the NV Fortino Mirabella, Central Coast. Now this time I had fair warning; non-vintage, generic appellation and no vineyard or grape varieties listed. It's just a few left-over barrels blended together, and it tastes as you'd expect; a simple, sweet fruit cocktail, without much structure. It's a wine for people who don't like wine - which is fair enough, but the $16 asking price is unreasonable for what you're getting. 75