Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Two New Wines At Grocery Outlet

So, today I get an excited call from Dane, the owner of the Grocery Outlet store in Kennewick. He's got some new wines he wants me to try. Being the curious wine monkey that I am, I run over to the store this afternoon and try them out.

Frankly, I know not to expect much. The wines that Dane carries are definitely what I would consider to be "bottom shelf" wines. These are not your $50 bottles. They certainly aren't Caymus or Pepperbridge.

What Grocery Outlet offers are good everyday drinking wines. Something kind of nice, without breaking the bank. Certainly, you can offer just about anything off their shelf, and if your guests aren't real snobs, they're going to enjoy it.

With all that said, I want to talk to you about two of these wines:

Blue Pirate Pinot Noir 2007 - Blue Pirate is made by 12th Street and Maple Winery in Dundee, Oregon. Winemaker Aron Hess, who also makes wines for Battle Creek Winery and Daedalus Cellars, is a brilliant winemaker who specializes in Pinot.
The wine pours from the bottle with a bright ruby red color. It offers up a nose of cherries and the slight mustiness that good pinot offers. The flavors of Portabella Mushrooms and cherries linger on the tongue. This wine would be great with a nice cheese soup.

Six Prong Red Wine 2006 - Manufactured in the Horse Heaven Hills outside of Prosser, Six Prong is the creation of a "Thirsty Pagan" named Rob Chowanietz. The reason I call him that is because his premium hand-made wine goes by that name. Six Prong has several acclaims from Wine Enthusiast for their 2005 and 2007 Red Blends, however this year got overlooked.
The 2006 opens on the nose with dark stone fruit and soft vanilla overtones. The flavors are balanced and smooth with lots of fresh berry flavors, mixed with pepper and vanilla. A nice finish for a bottle that costs $2.99.

Dane has just a few cases of the Blue Pirate, but a whole pallet of the Six Prong. I'd still get down there soon and buy some before they're out.


  1. I was just at the Kennewick GO and these are 2 of the 3 wines I picked up (OZ Archetype Shiraz was 3), and your site came up in my google search foe Six Prong as there were no reviews at cellertracker. Just visiting the area from the wet/west side. I noticed from CT that the Portland GO's are charging a dollar more for the Blue Pirate PN. There are usually some very decent red dinner wines at GO for very cheap prices.

    I too like the Graham's 10-year Tawney port. I also like some of the Ports from OZ if you can find any - half the price of comparable products from Portugal (Blakely for example). I like value. I don't like overpriced boutique wines (Napa cabs?).


  2. Hi Rich,

    I just came home with both of these choices from the Kenmore GO before reading your blog:). My impression of the Blue Pirate Pinot is as follows; This is the typical 07' Pinot Noir from Oregon. It is lighter than other vintages due to heavy rain for 10 days at harvest. That being said if you appreciate Pinot for it's variations from each vintage and the winemakers craft in adjusting to it there's much to appreciate here. You just need to adapt your food pairings accordingly and realize this choice is best enjoyed with food. This wine has nice french oak carmel notes and would pair well with carmelized or grilled salmom, pork and pasta dishes. It has decent structure for a lighter pinot and is very similar to another pinot from Dundee (Winter's Hill) I used to distribute for when a rep here in Washington. Looking forward to the 6 Prong as some great fruit comes from Horse Heaven Hills.

  3. I'm astonished by the positive notes on Blue Pirate. I was looking forward to a bargain here when we opened a bottle last night and found it, well in a word: Awful. Undrinkably awful. One taster said the nose reminded of wet diapers. Most couldn't get beyond a sip or two.

    This is undoubtedly the worst wine I've ever purchased from GO. Based on how far off you were on this one, I'll skip the six prongs and anything else you recommend.

  4. Ummm...I'm pretty good at knowing my wines and how they taste. I don't steal notes from others, and I don't lie about what I taste. Bad wines from anyone don't get a write up from me. It's my strict policy.

    From what you are explaining LeftgBanker, it sounds to me like you purchased a "sick" bottle of wine, which happens even with high end bordeaux. Who knows what was wrong with it. Your guess is as good as mine.

    I can tell you this though, and that is if you ever purchase a bottle of wine and it tastes rancid, it probably is. Cork the bottle back up and take it back to where you got it for a refund or a new bottle. The store sends it back to the winery, where they do lab testing to improve their quality standards. It is an industry wide practice.

    Also, one other note. A $3 bottle tastes like a $3 bottle. A $50 bottle tastes like a $50 bottle. I'll never tell you that any wine that costs $3 is "just as good as" a bottle that costs substantially more. There are reasons why wines are at Grocery Outlet. They are usually wines that wouldn't market at higher prices so the vintner dumped them at a lower rate to G.O. so they wouldn't take a complete loss.


I greatly appreciate any and all comments and criticism, however because of the high level of spam I moderate all comments prior to publishing them.