Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Your $10 Recession Wine of the Week: Cono Sur Riesling 2008

Did I say $10? Try this Chilean number on for a mere $6! That's right, $6 at Acker, Merrall & Condit Wine Merchants on 72nd Street—the Upper West Side, where one has no right to find a decent wine for less than $18. But difficult times call for difficult measures, and many wine shops in New York are putting their cheapest goods up front where people can see and buy them. No more $20 risks, say customers. But for $6, I'll take a chance.

Cono Sur (Southern Cone, as in the shape of South America) was founded in 1993. Its motto is "No family tree. No dusty bottles. Just quality wine." Hm. Anyone got a chip on their shoulder? This riesling comes from the Bio Bio Vally, the southern-most end of Chile's winegrowing regions. (Makes sense, as northern hemisphere riesling is grown in the northernmost spots.) Apparently, they were the first winery to grow the grape in this area.

This is not a complex riesling, but I found a surprising amount of things going on for such an inexpensive bottle. On the nose, there was melon, grapefruit, bubblegum, yeast and guava. It was kind of a fat nose. The body was, again, on the fat side, with medium-to-full body, but it was cut by a mineral edge that kept the wine from being flabby. I continued to find things in the glass as I tasted it, when I really had no right to: apple, honeydew, lime, lemon, grapefruit. It had a tart medium finish.

Truth is, if I had paid $18 for this wine and drank it, I would not have been surprised. I would have felt a little disappointed, but not surprised. But at $6, I've got not gripes.

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