Something happened on the way to the Barefoot…..
I have, of late, paid a great deal more attention to the giant Special Purchase stacks clogging the aisles of The Store. Most of them are beyond my self imposed $10 per bottle price ceiling, and pretty much all of them are relatively unknown labels, at least to me. But there has been a relative plethora of well-under $10 choices in recent weeks, and I’ve been exploring them. These bottles come with an asterisk, though. *** I don’t know how readily available they might be across the fruited plain, and if the prices are, as claimed, a result of “massive buying power”, they may cost more, or at least differently, elsewhere. I’ve tried looking at the big online wine retailers to gauge availability, but that doesn’t mean one can find these in their regular neighborhood wine store. Also, they are very temporary in terms of availability. Some, I suspect, are end-of-the-vintage blowouts. Some, I’ve found, are from defunct brands, that obviously won’t be making more. Whatever the reason for the price chop, the downside is that if one finds a home run, jump up and down, alert the media Fave, it will be short lived. But, as a Cheapskate, I have to mine these bargains when they are presented.
The first of these wines I’d like to suggest is Pillar Box Red, 2008, from Henry’s Drive Vignerons, from the tiny Padthaway region of South Eastern Australia. The name, Pillar Box, is an Australian term for a mailbox. It seems the property now occupied by Henry’s Drive Vigoners was once crossed by an 1800’s mail coach route, and is, in fact, named for the proprietor of the mail coach service. Several of the wines from these folks have postal references in their name-Postmistress, Dead Letter Office, Morse Code, The Scarlet Letter, and more.
Pillar Box Red is a blend-66% Shiraz (as one might expect from this locale), 25% Cabernet, 9% Merlot. It is very dark, nearly black in the glass. It is “big”, firm tannins, acidic, and full bodied. It needs to breathe a bit. That’s becoming a somewhat repetitious note with these big reds we’ve visited lately, but true nonetheless. Also, it leaves a little sediment in the glass. Decant it, or pour some then fold some laundry for awhile. The dragon breathe of alcohol softens into very nice plum, cherry, slightly oaky wonderfulness. Very, very nice. Probably not your cup of, ah, tea if your normal sipper is Sprite or White Zinfandel. But if you like a wine with some muscle this is a definite winner. Would be a great companion to a bloody-as-Hell slab of New York strip. Um Um Um.
O.K., the punch line. This was $7 a bottle!! (here in my undisclosed location I share with Dick Cheney.) On the Henry’s Drive website it’s $14. I’ve seen it online for $9. Did I say something earlier about “jump up and down, alert the media?” I’m jumping, baby.