If you frequent wine shops, you’ve no doubt seen, and perhaps wondered about, those stacks of deeply discounted, perhaps a bit obscure labels scattered about most stores. “Special Purchases”, “Super Buys”, “Saver Stacks”, “Bulk Buys” or similar euphemisms often describe this merchandising technique. They often present very good deals, but the downside is that, often, they are available only short term. When they’re gone, they’re gone. So even if you find a winner, a Fave, your good fortune is usually temporary. I have been hesitant to report on my findings from these “specials”, since I don’t know how widely, or for how long they will exist in the market place. Some I’ve tried recently I’ve discovered were from recently defunct producers ( a $6 Gewurztraminer, an excellent $9.99 Australian Shiraz, a $7 white blend from the same Australian). So reporting on a very finite supply from a no longer producing name seemed of little value. Others may be just the end of a vintage that someone, somewhere wants out of their warehouse. And some may be ongoing, active, widely available wines that the retailer simply scored a good buy on in return for a giant order.
This one, Copa Del Rey, as best I can determine, is a viable, ongoing concern. This may be an end-of-vintage situation, but at least the label isn’t headed to oblivion. Apparently. Copa Del Rey (Cup of the King) is a partnership of Hahn Family Wines, a familiar label in most stores. They, Hahn, also are behind Cycles Gladiator, and higher-end brands Lucienne, and Smith and Hook. Those are all Central Coast, California, around Monterrey. Copa Del Rey is Chilean, from the Rapel Valley in Chile’s Central Valley. They also do a Cabernet Sauvignon, and a Merlot.
The Chardonnay was priced at $6.99, with, reportedly, a list price of $12. I have had less than stellar results with low priced Chards. They have had either overbearing oakiness, probably from artificial oak flavoring (since they probably never saw the inside of an oak barrel), or unpleasant sourness. The Copa Del Rey was a pleasant, refreshing surprise. It is lightly oaked, tastes of pear, is clean and light on the tongue, a perfect spring evening, sit-on-the-porch sipper. Nice.
THE STORE also has a Copa Del Rey Merlot for the same price, $6.99. Next shopping trip there will include one of those, and another Chardonnay. As long as it’s available at this price, I’ll keep buying it. It’s good to be King.