Big Mac’s Mondays: a Bordeaux Blanc Bargin

As We’ve posted in the past, an essential part of The Wine Education is buying and drinking simple and accessible wines. Luckily for Us, a favorite corner liquor store, Big Mac’s, offers a wide range of exactly these kinds of bottles (and a really good deal on Skyy vodka for when a martini is what you’re craving).

Each Monday We’ll be reviewing a wine purchased from Big Mac’s, following our basic tasting format. We’ll take note of the wine’s color, smell, taste, and finish and then add any other thoughts the wine evokes (She said: “Perfect for sipping poolside, lounging in a bikini in the hot sun.”)

Although We are studying specific regions and grapes, We tend not to read anything about particular bottles before We drink them–We want our reactions to be as honest as possible. But this information can be useful for comparison purposes and just getting some of basic facts of the wine, so We will provide some proprietary background information at the end of our own notes. (He said: “They say it smells like Tellicherry Black Pepper–what the hell does that smell like?”)

Mouton Cadet Bordeaux blanc (Baron Philipe de Rothschild) 2007. ($9.99)


She said: Clear and golden yellow in color. The nose is grassy, petrol, some cat pee, lemony citrus. In the mouth there is a slight frizzante sensation at the front of the palate. Flavors of grass, lychee, lemon again. No significant hints of oak. Rich in the mid palate and finish, giving it a nice mouthfeel. Very drinkable, strong acid, refreshing. The wine stood up to our spicy dinner.
Final slurp: A good value, refreshing, citrusy, and easy drinking wine of little complexity–don’t have to think about it too much, just drink it.

He said: Color, oh color.  It’s nighttime, I’m colorblind but I will guess yellow-gold. I get oak and butter on the nose.  Initially I am tasting butterscotch.  The acidity feels like the right amount, not overbearing.  Oops, eating a mouthful of roasted almonds makes concentrating on the taste of wine difficult.  Don’t do that again, though it went well together.  I get citrus in the finish with maybe a little sour apple.
Final slurp: This wine was always refreshing on warm summer days and nights, an excellent value.  Nice accompaniment to a light salad.  I like this wine.

Facts: Produced by the esteemed Bordeaux maker, Baron Philippe de Rothschild, the Mouton Cadet is the brand’s less expensive, lower quality wine label. Cadet is the French term meaning “junior,” which is fitting for these declassified wines. In the America Mouton Cadet is distributed by Constellation Brands, the biggest distributor in the world. Bottomline: they make a lot of it, sell a lot of it, and make a lot of money. (Think: Donna Karan diversifying to DKNY–you can sell more jeans than couture.) The blend: 40% sauvignon blanc, 50% semillon, 10% muscadelle. Aged three to six months.

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Back to Basics

An essential part of The Wine Education is buying and drinking simple and accessible wines. We’re not seeking out rare, obscure, cultish, or limited bottles. Although I must admit my own cellar houses some of these expensive treats and I don’t need to be asked twice about whether to open them. Why buy it if you’re not going to drink it? This aside, we both agreed that, in the beginning at least, our tastings would encompass basic grape varietals and their blends from fairly well-known makers and vineyards. After all, the first goal for Him is to be able to identify wines by taste and smell (well, this and all the geographic memorizationbig-macs-shelfn that is going mostly well, as evidenced by previous posts). It’s a basic first step, so we’re starting with basic wines.

Luckily for us that is exactly what our neighborhood liquor store sells. We love Big Mac’s, and not just because their name strikes us as hilarious. The liquor store has a reasonablly priced selection of good domestic and imported wines. True, there are big jugs of white zin in the cooler, but they also have reputable mainstream producers like Jadot, Chateau St. Michelle, and Marqués de Caceres. (They even have Lillet Rouge, my favorite, but harder to find flavor of this lovely, fruity aperitif. Just $17.99 a bottle, no less.)

We’re still loyal patrons to the several excellent nearby wine shops (such as Silverlake Wine, City Sip, Rosso Wine Shop, Palate, 55 Degree Wine, K&L, and Venokado), but the convenience of Big Mac’s is hard to pass up. There is also something, well, democratic about buying wine at a corner liquor store. We’re not snobbish. He’s learning, I’m teaching and re-learning; we don’t have to be too fancy about it.

Wanting to incorporate our favorite corner store into this site, we’ve decided that each Monday we will review a wine purchased from Big Mac’s (Big Mac’s Mondays?), starting with one of three basics that kept us cool during the hot summer months: Orvieto by Ruffino, Bordeaux blanc by Mouton Cadet, and Pinot Grigio by Tamas Estates.

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