Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Wine Cube Cabernet Sauvignon

This addition to the list of boxed wines is also a wine that we were drinking at our house in early December.

Wine Cube Cabernet Sauvignon
From Target / Trinchero Family Estates
California, Monterey & Lodi Delta
3 liter box, vintage dated
About $16

Our cabernet is oak-aged for richness and sports juicy blackberry and plum flavors with a touch of herbal complexity.

Although I can find some reviews of Wine Cube's other wines, I cannot find any reviews of the Wine Cube Cabernet Sauvignon in the press, blogs, or forums. As I said, this is the wine we drank at our house in December. Each evening I decant several glasses worth while dinner is cooking. We found this wine to be very good. I give it 3.5 stars (out of 5). Mr. FlyByNight (aka Diablo Rojo) gave it 4 stars. DR often describes bad wine in the way one would judge the unfriendliness of a mean neighbor's pet dog (growls, or bites). I would guess this one exhibited something along the lines of a friendly wag and a big, slurpy smile.

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Aussie Grapes in American Boxes

Western Farm Press today published an editorial by Harry Cline, commenting on the Aussie wine glut making it's way into the US market in the form of "critter wines." But that's not all. Apparently Aussie bulk wine is finding it's way into containers with "American" labels.

Bottled critter wine from Australia has cut into bottled California wine sales. Now, apparently surplus critter wines from Australia are being shipped to California in bulk to be blended with California wines and carry an American appellation.

Consumers may not recognize the difference, but California grape growers do because this has been a major factor in the dearth of winery buyers for 2006 California wine grapes.

For example, there is a Franzia Bag-in-a Box White Zinfandel being sold in supermarkets that looks like a California product. However, there is no California appellation to be found anywhere on it. The appellation says “American.” The reason is that as much as 25 percent of the White Zinfandel in the bag-in-a-box is wine imported bulk to the United States, likely from Australia, and bottled by the second largest winery group in the United States, Constellation Brands.

Spilled Aussie wines stain the market / Spilled Aussie wines stain the market

And this is happening in a year which has been particularly tough for US growers, their harvest going begging for buyers.

For grape growers struggling unsuccessfully to find a home for their grapes, the huge increase in imports is like rubbing salt in the wound, since U.S. wine sales are up 2 percent to 5 percent, yet California growers are not benefiting. “It really concerns me to see California wineries importing wine in a year where so many gapes are available for sale in the state,” said San Miguel, Calif., grape grower Tony Domingos, in a recent edition of the CAWG newsletter. “I can understand the reduction in grape purchase due to the 2005 surplus, but to see new records of bulk wine imports when we have plenty of high quality grapes at reasonable prices is alarming.” “We need to create consumer demand for California wines and take back our market share from the imports,” added the San Luis Obispo County grape grower.

Spilled Aussie wines stain the market / Spilled Aussie wines stain the market

I guess the message in this is, whether bottle or box, "look for the California label."

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