Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Chariot "Gypsy" (Jim Neal Wines) 2008

For whatever reason, people really seem to like this wine. Last years wine is the third most popular post on this site. People get excited about this wine. Jason was excited enough to drink it in the car. People took some of my criticism that this wine was a fruit bomb a little personally, I think, as in they don't seem to agree with my sentiment. Let me just say this--this wine is a great 5$ wine. It's hard to make a good 5$ wine. But it's also a 5$ wine, and as a result, it's really missing something. Just like all of the sweet, mass-produced crap that comes out of the industrial food system and big agribusiness (Coke, Pepsi, Fruit Loops, Kraft Macaroni and Cheese, Velveeta, and the list goes on...) and masquerades as food, this masquerades as wine. Of course, food is superficially cheap for a variety of reasons (and feeding the population of the world is certainly a pressing concern), and many people have become accustomed to the accoutrements of the industrial food system to the detriment of cooking, general well being, and above all, taste. To a certain extent the same thing is true of wine, I think, and feel free to sling your arrows at me if you disagree. I know that I have a tendency to be dogmatic and a bit of a blowhard. But on to the wine...If you're used to the latest swill that Jay Miller is hyping, you're used to Robert Mondavi, and you're used to super ripe wines from warm climates with lots of hangtime and with chewy, jammy, oaky vanilla notes, you're going to love this wine. Because instead of being 10$, 15$, 20$, or more, this is 5$, and it's plenty drinkable. I don't think that it's as complex as last years version, but it hasn't been in the bottle long, so maybe it will improve. Last year, someone didn't like me comparing this to Coca-Cola. It tastes exactly like Coca-Cola. (Jim Neal--Did you steal their formula?) Sweet. Lots of cloves, a little bit of pepper, vanilla, berries (including maybe strawberry, but mainly raspberry), and some chocolate after it's open for a while. Sweeter than last years example, with a thick, sticky texture. Yes, I remember that texture well in my library of tastes, textures, and other ephemera--it's the same one that you get from soft drinks, which I swore off years ago becuase they aren't food. They're masquerading as such. Regardless, this is quite good for 5$ (although not as good as last years I think) and you might as well buy this over whatever other garbage you can get for 10 or 15$ at your local Kroger. B That's my story, and I'm sticking to it. 

16 comments:

CabFrancoPhile said...

Or maybe Dr. Pepper? I'm sure some folks will be mad you burst their bubbles, but you gotta call it like it is. I'd love to see this tasted blind against similar blends like The Prisoner that cost $25 or $30 more. Some residual sugar and fruit-forward winemaking can cover for a lot of flaws.

This reminds me I was a fan of Novella Synergy for a few $ more. The next time I need some cheap drinkers, I'll put Gypsy and Novella head to head.

CabFrancoPhile said...

By the way, the other day I overheard the local TJs wine "expert" talking to a customer about the "fracas" on the chianti bottles. That straw basket thing is a fiasco, not a fracas. You get what you pay for.

Incidentally, there was a great line on an episode of The Wire concerning a Cotes du Rhone. Bunk: "The sommelier behind the plexi said it was dry." How bout those sommeliers in the Hawaiin themed t-shirts?

Jeff said...

That is hilarious. I stopped watching "The Wire" after about the fourth season because my girlfriend was not a fan...which was a mistake. We recently watched the first season again, but I couldn't get her to get into it. Maybe I'll try again?? Regardless, those are two priceless bits of comedy at the expense of Trader Joes. Who knew David Simon was such a jokester?

CabFrancoPhile said...

The humor in The Wire is as dry as a French rouge. Fortunately, my gf is into it. You have to start from the beginning and be committed to it. Otherwise it's tough to get into and follow.

Tricerapops said...

CFP - that's an interesting proposal for a blind tasting between this and the prisoner. are you suggesting their similar styles? i enjoyed the prisoner, but didn't think the flavor profile resembled what jeff's describing in his review of the gypsy. i guess i'll just need to drop a $5 and find out.

Jeff said...

Maybe I'll have to check out the Prisoner too just for the sake of comparison...

5$ is totally worth it for this wine, IMHO, although it's not a style I like. It's a great example for its' style.

CabFrancoPhile said...

T-pops, I've never had The Prisoner, but the blend sounds similar, not necessarily styles. I'd expect The Prisoner to win since it's sourced fruit with a real plan, whereas I'd bet Gypsy is just decent bulk wine creatively blended. Half of it is my curiosity to see if people really like The Prisoner or if they like its cult wine with a large production image. The other half is placing two "cult" wines head to head for fun.

CabFrancoPhile said...

Jeff, based on the tasting notes I've seen on The Prisoner and your preferences, I think you'd be wasting $35. But I think the resulting blog post would be highly entertaining . . . .

Jeff said...

Fair enough...I'd rather spend the money on this.

http://www.klwines.com/detail.asp?sku=1053423

CabFrancoPhile said...

That would be an even better blog post.

Tricerapops said...

ugh, re-read my comment again, i clearly meant to ask if you're implying that THEY ARE similar in styles (Prisoner and Gypsy). yes, the prisoner is a great example of marketing (larger scale production, but still a cult-ish following) but i have to admit - it was pretty good. i found it restrained for something of a mesh of varieties (although it's mostly zin), and others that i have tried (CA red blends) can come off a bit strong-handed. CFP, i like the way you put it, that there is a 'plan' for the prisoner.

Joshiemac said...

Good call on this wine. I like it for what it is: a solid $5.00 fruit-forward wine. I bought a case to drink myself from time to time and to bring to parties/gatherings with people who aren't into wine or don't really care what they are drinking. It's a good value option for those kinds of people. I've found that my in to drinking but not into wine friends love the Gypsy. I'd hate to waste something more textured or complex on people who wouldn't know the difference or care to know the difference.

On a different note, I ran across an older review you did on the 2006 Scilio Etna Rosso. I share your sentiment, I think the wine is awesome. Even better, it's now on sale for 12.99 at K&L. That's about as good as QPR as you're going to find. I went to my local K&L here in SF and picked up a few bottles to stash away.

Jeff said...

Josh--

That's the same use I have for the Chariot...great minds think alike.

I remember that Etna Rosso really clearly. It rung my bell. Lately, K&L has all sorts of stuff they're marking down that is awesome. I will have to get another couple of bottles--thank you for the heads up!

CabFrancoPhile said...

Just saw the CellarTracker notes: http://www.cellartracker.com/wine.asp?iWine=838537. Ouch!

Jeff said...

Haha. Ouch is right. Not that different from what I think for the most part. Maybe I am a bit more tolerant than the typical Cellar Tracker user? The wine IS 5$, and there is WAY worse stuff that is substantially more. As an aside, how come none of the majors factor price into their point ratings?

Shantel said...

Chariot Gypsy is amazingly good: excellent packaging and perfect taste. The cost is nothing for me as it is worth the pay.

-buy wine online australia