The Stump Jump Shiraz 2009

 One of the key elements of successful Cheapskate living is opportunism. It’s important to recognize a genuine opportunity to score an inordinately good value. Not the phoney boloney, pseudo deals like the “Buy one suit and get a second suit, a shirt, a tie, a low mileage used car, and a condo in Miami for free…” where a $150 suit suddenly becomes a $599 suit, and they load up your cart with fake freebies. I’d like to think nobody falls for that, but P.T. Barnum, and a few men’s wear retailers would differ.

A friend alerted me that The Store had a very finite selection of this Australian Shiraz for six bucks a bottle, so we grabbed a couple bottles without delay. It was well hidden in the mahogany paneled, softly lit “boutique” section of the store among the $200 Penfolds and the $60 Wolf Blass (as opposed to the fluorescent lighting, military surplus beige metal shelves, well worn vinyl floor section where I and my Cheapskate selections normally spend all their time.) I am not sure why it was price-chopped so severely, but my guess is the 2010 is in the pipeline already, and either the retailer, or the wholesaler (maybe both) is simply trying to unload ’09s.

The Stump Jump is the entry level wine of 100 year old, fourth generation family owned d’Arenberg, located in the Mclaren Vale region of South Australia. They produce a wide and deep selection of wines ranging from their “stumpie” line, of which this is one, that lists for about $12, to some stunningly expensive choices-hundreds of dollars per. The names of their various lines are noteworthy for their oddity- Footbolt, Laughing Magpie, The Dead Arm, Broken Fishplate, The Money Spider among them. The Stump Jump is named for a kind of plow.

Though we attempt, here in Cheapskate land, to not assign “value”to pedigree or traditional production methods, it is pleasing to learn of companies like d’Arenberg, that are truly family owned, and “estate bottle”, meaning they control the product from start to finish. Today, as we’ve learned time after time in these reviews, brand names and identities are often illusions. Giant holding companies own most of the labels and brands we see in the proletariate section of the store, and these “wineries” would more accurately be described as factories. We as Cheapskates benefit from the economies-of-scale these giants create. But when traditional methods, an authentic history, and superior wines are available at a Cheapskate price, that’s a win win win!

This is good. Really good. It’s on the light side, lusciously fruity and subtly spicy. Smells delightful, and is. I shall certainly pick up more if it’s still available next trip. If not, it appears the 2010 is available for $9 to $11 in some places, according to Google. Just might be worth the extravagance. But I must draw the line there! We, as Cheapskates, cannot endorse buying d’Arenberg’s $600 Daddy Long Legs, even if they throw in two free suits.

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