The Fabulous Bleecker Buys
Bleecker California Chardonnay (Robert Parker 85)
Bleecker California Red (Robert Parker 86)
This duo comes to us from Polaner Selections, a wine importer that also produces its own custom label, Wyatt. In fact, it was a “happy accident” that inspired the production of Bleecker Chardonnay when two Wyatt vintages mistakenly got mixed together. The result is a non-vintage, 100% Chardonnay that drinks like a wine twice its price. The California Red blend is a similarly impressive bargain that is soft and smooth, though its varietals are some of the boldest grapes (Syrah, Petite Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, and Zinfandel).
The Chardonnay is a lovely golden straw color with a tangy, lightly fruity aroma. Its light-medium body coats the glass nicely and feels smooth on the palate. There is a touch of apple and citrus, a hint of oak, and enough butter to keep the wine from being too fruity or overly crisp. It struck me as a great alternative for those who don’t like very oaky Chards, but who don’t want something completely unoaked. I was thrilled with the flavor and the mouth-feel from such an inexpensive wine. This white pairs well with hard cheeses in particular, chicken, shellfish, and green salads.
I first tried the red blend at one of our in-store tastings, and although I had been leery of the quality of a $7.99 bottle of wine, my first sip inspired a double-take. I was shocked by how smooth it was, without any of the off-putting sharpness that inexpensive reds can sometimes present. It has a mildly acid finish that balances the bold dark berry fruitiness. In the glass the wine is very deep red, with a medium-full body and a hint of spice in the aroma. On the palate it demonstrates very mild oak and softer tannins that keep the fruit from being too sweet or overpowering. It pairs well with a wide range of food including burgers, BBQ, pizza, pasta, and any red meat. I tasted it with a variety of cheeses, and found that its best complements were semi-soft goat cheese, gorgonzola, and parmesan. It would also hold up nicely to charcuterie, and in particular, cured meats.
I am always delighted to find inexpensive wine that is delicious, balanced, and versatile. Bleecker is a great buy that demonstrates all of those qualities in both wines. Serve it as your everyday table wine or as a party wine that will appeal to a wide variety of tastes.
-Jes, Divine Wines