Musings on Wine
ORIGIN: Fronton, France
GRAPE(S): Negrette (R), Cabernet Franc (R)
PRICE: $12.40 (store clearance)
SOURCE: L.C.B.O. #200022
TWO WORD NOTE: Roasted fruity
THOUGHTS ON FOOD: A simple, rustic fruity red wine like this is ideal for simple, rustic meat and vegetable dishes, such as roasted lamb or beef, grilled vegetables with olive oil and hard cheese or bean stews with tomatoes.
COMMENTS: A too often overlooked appellation just north of Toulouse in southwestern France, Fronton produces excellent rosé and red wines from the native Negrette variety blended with smaller amounts of Cabernets and Syrah. This is a region to consider if you are looking for good value wines for gulping with friends (or go there for a fantastic spring vacation!). Often it is these obscure regions that offer the best value due to the fact that demand and media attention isn’t there to drive prices up. Although this wine was available only in limited stock at the time of this review, other wines from this region will appear on LCBO shelves from time to time and are worth searching out. Serve this wine lightly chilled to allow the fruit character to shine.
As a rule, I’m not a big fan of wine scores. It seems to me a product that takes several years to make, changes in the bottle over time and tastes remarkably different beside different foods is pretty much impossible to define by a single number. Everyone has different sensitivities, likes and dislikes so how can one expert possibly speak for the many millions of wine lovers out there? Don't get me wrong, I understand that in a world with roughly 14 million commercially available wines from over 1 million wineries, the average shopper needs some kind of guidance to increase the odds of success. Applying a single number makes choosing easier, as long as your palate and tastes are aligned with that of the reviewer.
The most popular scoring scheme is the 100-point scale. Robert Parker Jr. and The Wine Spectator are credited with making this system most famous. When Sir Parker gave a wine 90 points or above, it was pretty much sure to sell out. People started to pay a lot of attention to his scores in The Wine Advocate and he became so influential that winemakers around the world starting making wines that would please Parker's palate in the hopes scores and sales would soar. These wines became known simply as “Parker wines”. I have two problems with this system. 99% of the wine-drinking public can’t afford wines that score 93 points or above, and wines scoring below 87 rarely get mentioned. By my math, that’s 7 useful numbers out of 100.
There are others who prefer the 20-point scale, amongst them famed UK master of wine Jancis Robinson. It is generally agreed that wines scoring below 12 are horrifically poor or even faulted, and those 18 or above are extra special. The rest fall between 13 and 17 points with those getting 15 or higher considered to be the equivalent of bronze, silver and gold progressively. Additionally, you find 3 glasses (Tre Bicchieri) used by notable Italian wine publication Gambero Rosso and others who use 5 points or 5 stars, however none of these scoring systems seems adequately represents the real needs of the wine buying public.
Wine Food Mood.com will not use a points system and we won’t quantify wine value. Instead, we will provide you with as much useful information as we can in our wine reviews to make it easier for you to decide whether or not you are willing to exchange your hard-earned dollars, whatever the total, for a particular bottle of wine, which we hope you will enjoy. Our two word note will provide a tasting note using the two key descriptors that most resonate in the wine, while our comments section is provided to give you some additional insight to the wines production, region of origin, or any other trivia that you might find interesting. If by looking at a wine from all angles including quality, character, food compatibility, drinkability and even the mood you should be in to best enjoy it, and through that we lead you towards a wine that suits your personal likes and dislikes, regardless of score, we will have accomplished our goal.