June 2010

Popular wines

‘Good, Better, Best Wines’ a guide to popular wines

In her book, “Good, Better, Best Wines, A No-Nonsense guide to Popular Wine” (Alpha Books, $ 12.95), author and wine critic Carolyn Evans Hammond says more ink is being spilled on writing high-priced, hard-to-find wines than on big names, cheaper (less than $ 15) those most Americans buy.

When she realized that there was no book that tackled well-known brands, such as Yellowtail, Gallo, and Sutter Home, to name a few, and even, the horrors, wines clubbed, Hammond knew she had to write it down. After all, as she says in the foreword, “… with over 20 great eight dollar chardonnays on the shelves side by side, it’s hard to know which one to choose. You certainly can’t taste or even taste it. smell them all before you buy, and there aren’t many labels to scratch and sniff. So it’s clear that it’s high time a reviewer carefully examined – and tasted – the most popular wines in the world. United States … “

Drawing inspiration from the 120 best brands listed in the Beverage Information Group’s Wine Handbook, Hammond, who lives in Toronto, made the sacrifice to taste 500 wines on our behalf.

“The book took me about eight months to research and write,” Hammond wrote in an email. “The tasting portion lasted about four months, and I tasted every flight of wine comparatively. For example, I would spend an afternoon tasting (and spitting out) $ 5 to $ 8 cabernet sauvignon – that sort of thing. thing. Not all the wines I’ve tasted ended up in the book, of course, only the ones worth recommending. “

The wines on display all cost less than $ 15, as 90% of the wine sold in the United States costs less than $ 15, she said. Hammond divided the prices even more finely in his book: less than $ 4.99; $ 5 to $ 7.99; $ 8 to $ 10.99; and $ 11 to $ 15.

“I tasted the typicality, the balance, the individual expression and the value for money,” she said. “I put personal preferences aside, which is necessary as a professional taster.”

So what does the woman behind the glass like to drink herself?

“My favorite wines vary depending on mood, season and setting,” she replied, “but I tend to gravitate towards leaner lately,

whites with a mineral expression such as

chablis and riesling – I find them


“And for the reds, I particularly appreciate reds that are well structured, friendly and not too rich in alcohol, such as Nero d’Avola, Beaujolais and good Pinot Noir –

probably because they are supremely “drinkable”. “

If guessing which bottle of wine to buy isn’t enough, there’s help from “Good, Better, Better Wines.” Here are a few examples from wine critic Carolyn Evans Hammond’s book to choose from:

Chardonnay ($ 5 – $ 7.99)

Good: The Little Penguin, Australia

Better: Leaping Horse Vineyards, California

Best: Lindemans Bin 65, Australia

Chardonnay ($ 11- $ 15)

Good: Clos du Bois, California

Better: Columbia Crest Grand Estates, Washington State

Best: Kendall-Jackson Vintner’s Reserve Jackson Estates Grown, CA

Sauvignon blanc ($ 5 – $ 7.99)

Good: Pepperwood Grove, CA

Better: CK Mondavi Family Vineyards Willow Springs, California

Best: Robert Mondavi’s Woodbridge, California

Sauvignon blanc ($ 8 – $ 10.99)

Good: Kendall-Jackson Vintner’s Reserve, California

Better: Fetzer Vineyards Valley Oaks, CA

Best: Rosemount Diamond Label, Australia

Merlot ($ 8 – $ 10.99)

Good: Fetzer Vineyards Valley Oaks

Better: Bogle Vineyards, California

Best: Rosemount Diamond Label

Pinot Noir ($ 11 – $ 15)

Voucher: Jacob’s Creek Reserve

Better: Robert Mondavi Private Selection, California

Best: Beringer Third Century, California

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