Vin Ordinaire: My Search for an Affordable Everyday Wine: 2001
by Donald Ray Burger
Attorney at Law

I like to drink a glass of red wine most every night. Two glasses in one night are sometimes nice. However, for me drinking three glasses means that's all I'll be doing that night. And my life is far too busy for that "luxury."

What this means is I need an affordable wine that is still good on the third day after opening the bottle. Sadly, the cap I placed on "affordable" keeps going up. As recently as 1996 I set the limit at $5.00 per bottle. For 1998 the limit was under $8.00. In 1996 I found a great bottle for $4.00. You can read my review of this wine (click here),, but like most wines, this one is now history. The wine is no longer available, and subsequent vintage years from this vintner were not outstanding. My 1998-1999 recommendation is also gone from the shelves. To read my review of this wine, click here. To read about my recommendation for 2000, click here.

2001 Recommendation for Vin Ordinaire

The 1998 Fetzer Vineyards Valley Oaks Cabernet Sauvignon.

It is not automatically the case that a vintner will produce an outstanding wine two years in a row. However, Fetzer has succeeded with their 1998 Vallye Oaks Cabernet. The price is the same as for the outstanding 1997 at about eight dollars a bottle. I have found it both at Spec's and in the wine department at Albertson's. Major grocery stores also carry this wine.

The wine has outstanding color in the glass. It is not burdened with an alcoholic taste. Bouquet is very slight, but there are tannins. It is nicely balanced and smooth on the throat. I like the total experience of this wine a lot. It is very well made for the price, and I would not be embarrassed to serve it to friends, even those who drink a lot of wine.

It also passes the last test of a great vin ordinaire. It still tastes extraordinarily good on day three, with the use of Private Preserve Wine Preserver to keep the air in the bottle to a minimum.

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