I'm of the opinion that there's no bad wine anymore. Modern winemaking and viticulture have killed off the rotgut of yesteryear, vanquished the swill of the past, and sent the skunky stuff packing.
However, that doesn't mean that there isn't some wine that's better than other wine.
Of late, I've been drinking a lot of el cheapo wine. But not too long ago, I discovered that the Whole Foods near KPCC's Mohn Broadcast Center in Pasadena carries wines imported by Kermit Lynch. As I've already blogged here at DeWine Report (heh heh), I'm a fan.
I was even more delighted to discover that Lynch is now selling his own self-branded blends. I picked up a bottle of the Côtes du Rhône ($14).
Lynch has always had something of a preferred style for reds, particularly where Rhônes are concerned: bold, lusty, rustic, expressive of place but not stingy when it comes to powerful fruit-driven flavors, and with a healthy, immensely satisfying blast of spice and oak on the finish.
The wine store. The wine section at the grocery store. The wine retail website. Terrifying experiences for many. Sweat. Shakes. Nervousness. So many labels. So many labels. So many labels...
There's an easy way to avoid this anxiety, so common among even more experienced wine drinkers. Forget the front of the bottle. Concentrate on the back.
The back label is where, often, the wine importer's logo can be found. Now, I'm talking about wines from Europe, primarily, here. If all you ever drink is California wine, you don't need this advice.
At right is the famous logo of Kermit Lynch, an importer who owns a wine store in Berkeley, CA and who is highly regarded for seeking out rewarding, delicious French wines that don't cost an arm and leg. I've been a fan since I lived in Brooklyn and had access to the Lynch portfolio through my local wine shop. (Lynch also wrote one of the great wine books, "Adventures on the Wine Route," in which he recounts his experiences finding unusual wines and passionate winemakers in France.)