Pech Merle 2012 Zinfandel, Cuccio Vineyard

Dry Creek Valley, CA, 14.9% ABV
$11 at the Oakland, CA, store, probably some time in mid-November

pechmerle_2012_zincucciovnyddcvI bought this wine from the Oakland, CA, store a while back, around when y’all were first talking about them, but I only got around to it when I needed something to bring to Christmas Eve dinner with family.  I picked this because I thought it would be ripe and fruity, pairing easily with whatever my mother-in-law had cooked up.  This wine was, as Seedboy wrote, “Full bodied and ripe but still balanced,” but not on Christmas Eve.

That night, I decanted the wine at home for about an hour before I was due there.  Over the course of dinner, the wine tasted of Zinfandel’s typical purple cherry / black raspberry, but it remained rather thin and simple.  I gave up on it, and just stuffed the cork back in bottle with about half remaining.

The next day, the wine still needed a couple hours of air in the bottle (i.e., cork removed) to show full-bodied, tangy, slightly jammy, fruit of darker purple boysenberry / blackberry, dark red / purple cherry, slightly tarry, somewhat tart but overall balancing acid of these fruits, oak a little sweet for me but not offensively so, tannin on the finish thicker for a Zin.  This was really very good for the money, and would have been a good one to stock up on and lay down for a few more years.


5 thoughts on “Pech Merle 2012 Zinfandel, Cuccio Vineyard

  1. Chuck Jake

    What’s going on with BargainWhine? Reviewing $11 and $18 wines and not decanting, but airing in the bottle? Getting lazy or a new reviewer? I made the price jump from 2 buck chuck to GO bargains at $5 with a definite jump in quality. Now UR reviewing wines I can’t afford and are not a bargain, at least for me.

    Chuck Jake

    1. BargainWhine Post author

      Hi Chuck, and thanks for your comment. I expect many readers have similar feelings. I have a couple rambling points in reply.

      First, this blog is a hobby for me, for which I receive zero monetary compensation. It is thus, for better or worse, subject to my level of interest in various wines, and to my time and interest in blogging about them. So, I apologize that I have published very few reviews since the November sale. Many of those I had planned had been of wines in the lower price range for the GO, but my enthusiasm has been suffering. The addition of new contributor DavidLikesWine should help with that, 🙂 Please bear with me and I will try to have a more regular series of reviews that include more regular wines. Even so, please add your thoughts on the GO wines you are trying to the “What’s New?” or “Guest Contributions” sections, or to comments on the reviews if you have tasted that particular wine. I aspire to be not an authority on wine (which is good because I’m not), but someone who facilitates conversations among an interested community.

      Second, my impression is that, in general, GO wine prices have been creeping steadily upward. It was not that long ago that $6 was getting pricey for a GO wine. Now I hardly think about getting a $6 wine, and a tasty wine at $5 seems “lower-priced.” It nonetheless still seems like a good place for wine bargain treasure hunting. I appreciate your “making the jump” from “Two-Buck Chuck” (itself no longer $2) to the usually better and more interesting wines at the GO. Customers at the Richmond store tell me that they find wines they like at $3 and $4, and sometimes I find those wines interesting, but mostly I prefer to spend my time drinking and reviewing wines that cost a little more. I’ll try to include more lower-priced wines, but even so, the average price of wines I review will likely be above $5. I would greatly welcome anyone adding their thoughts about the GO wines they’re tasting that cost less.

      Best wishes to everyone for the new year!

      1. Darrell

        BW, I think most of us realize that reviews are time consuming and I, for one, understand the periods of no review since you were the only doing them until GOWL and DavidLikesWine started contributing. I imagine with your children being older there is less time for evaluation and, I bet, less time for your wild mushroom picking, too. There has been GO wine price creep and don’t sample as much anymore which makes this blog all the more important. These more expensive wines you have been trying of late seem to have you suggesting aging much longer than you have suggested for wines before. Not sure if it’s due to the wine or a shift due to experience. I have always thought most of the wines could age a bit more than you suggested before or maybe I’m like that poster who is accused of being a Kevorkian wine drinker.

        1. seedboy

          Hey Darrell I resemble that remark!
          Seriously though, thanks to BW for the time he puts into this.
          When I first started buying GO wines 20 years or so ago $3.99 was the standard price and often got you a good wine. The most common price point now seems to be $4.99 or $5.99 and that price level sometimes gets a good wine but not as often.
          The great recession did bring a wine glut in the secondary market that GO mines but the economy is stronger now and (but for the bubble created by the huge 2012 crop in California) the glut is gone.
          I wonder what effect GO’s growth has had on this? Trader Joe’s growth pretty much ruined it as a wine source for me, as it has become just another source of grocery store wines supplemented by the house label stuff that I’ve never cared for. GO is still a good source of wines from smaller, real wineries, and that (broken record time) remains my primary interest.


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