This is a two-fer, a buy one get one free! (The blog post, not the wine, though I like the idea!) I’ve noticed these two, nearly side by side, on the bottom shelf of the domestic reds section for a while now, and have been tempted by their $6.99 per bottle price (750ml), but until now resistant. Crane Lake is one of the plethora of labels marketed by Bronco, the people who make, among many others, 2 Buck Chuck. Well, The Store now has them reduced to $4.99, so sign me up! One of each, please.
Had the Petite Sirah first, and liked it. If you’ve nosed around this website a bit, you may have gathered Petite Sirah is among my favorite varieties. It is, typically, big and bold, rather tannic, a bit acidic, and sometimes need decanting to mellow a bit. Revisiting the overwrought coffee analogy, it is dark roast, no cream or sugar. The Crane Lake was more “soft” right out of the bottle, and a bit thinner than my bench mark Cheapskate Fave, the Glen Ellen Petite Sirah. I spoke to another customer in The Store who was buying the Crane Lake Petite Sirah because, like me, he loves Glen Ellen when it’s on sale for $6.99 or $7.99 per big, but not so much at the current $12. This was his second time buying the Crane Lake, saying he thought it just as good. I think it’s a close second, but I like the bigger body, more bite style, though I can understand folks finding this one friendlier, and smoother. That, as a friend often says, is why there’s chocolate and vanilla. But I’d definitely buy this again at $4.99, especially when my fave isn’t on sale.
On the other hand (there’s always another hand, isn’t there) the Malbec wasn’t a keeper. Sometimes I have to laugh at the tasting notes around The Store. All the subtle flavors these “tasters” find. One says “toast with orange marmalade”, another, inexplicably, “black currant and iodine”. Iodine? Is that good? If I were writing one of those signs for Crane Lake Malbec I’d say “plum and black cherry with a overtone of Slim Jim or Lebanon Bologna”. I’m being serious. Well, mostly serious. But I kept sipping, and thinking, what is that? What is that taste? Slim Jim! Not necessarily bad, certainly more appealing to me than iodine, but unusual in a wine. There are other low cost Malbecs around that are smoked-meat free, so I’ll not likely revisit this selection.
Hey, one out two ain’t bad. Isn’t that a Meat Loaf song? Or maybe not.