The blogs are full of specialty blooging: catblogging, birdblogging, foodblogging, gunblogging, and wineblogging, to name a few. I read many of these with great interest (OK, I skip all that kitty-cat crap), and I especially do appreciate the connoiseurship of the winebloggers. They point me to some truly remarkable vintages, and I value their experience, taste, and insight.
However, I always tell myself "Get a franken’ grip! This is just a farookin’ bottle of wine that you and the mrs are going to gulp down with supper!" [We do a fair bit of suppertime wine-gulping.] We do not, as a rule, drink $30 wine [3 bottles per week comes to $4680 per annum, before tax and aspirin], nor $20 wine, and only rarely $10 wine. And yet, we’re not untutored savages, drinking Boone’s Farm from a brown paper coozie; we do have our standards. Therefore, we have appropriated a term from the Brits, to describe palatable table wines that are priced under $5: plonk. We love plonk.
Plonk is wonderful. For about $1800, you can have a bottle of it with every dinner of the year, and maintain a low, even buzz. You can spit the wine back into the glass [Reidel crystal if you want, you can afford it] and bellow "Lousy, all that’s missing is the pickles!" and you’ll have still gotten a full $5 value, just for an excuse to act outrageously. But more often, you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how much good everyday wine is out there. My suspicion is that the developed world is close to being awash in good wines, and that many of the people buying "luxurious" wines are wasting their money, not realizing that the better is the enemy of the good. When I find a great luxury wine, I might buy one or two bottles. but I know it won’t last. When I find a great plonk, I buy 2 or 3 cases, and enjoy it for months.
Today’s plonk is Papio’s 2002 Chardonnay. The mrs stumbled upon a promotion at a local wineshop: Papio was selling for $3.60 the bottle [$1314 buys a year’s supply!], so she took a flyer on one. Although I am normally not a big chardonnay drinker [I have recommended some chardonnays for suppository use only], I consented to try the Papio with this afternoon’s homemade pizza. Dang! that’s pretty good plonk! Sweet with lots of fruit, a texture similar to a good Gewurtztraminer, only the tiniest vanilla tinge, and not a trace of oak. It’s a good thing the mrs only bought the one bottle, or we’d have split two over supper. The label is goofy, and has an interesting backstory; vintner Michael Kafka is a jazz afficianado with a soft spot for jungle primates. So…his labels have monkeys playing music in the trees. Not bad for monkey wine, I say. Papio 2002 Chardonnay, go buy a case.
Happiness is buying a fine bottle of wine to go with your dinner—and getting change back from a fiver.