Flat Rock 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon - ~$4

Rounding out Fresh & Easy's Flat Rock series is this very young (2009) California Cabernet Sauvignon.

The wine is a somewhat washed-out garnet in the glass and offers simple but pleasant aromas of cassis, cherry, and raspberry. In the mouth the cherry persists but overall the wine is thin (more cherry cough syrup than cherry fruit) and closes with somewhat out-of-whack tannic astringency. After an hour in the glass, some leathery earthiness emerges and the tannins become better integrated.

So zero-for-three, I suppose. Perhaps the the fundamental problem, or perhaps problems, with the Flat Rock series of wines is that it's just hard to make good Californian wine in this price range (unless, like Gallo or Mondavi, you have access to huge swathes of vineyards all over California). Secondly, going up just a few dollars (and knowing what to look for) can raise the quality level substantially. Sebastiani's Pepperwood Grove label, Columbia Crest's Two Vines series, Estancia's Pinnacles bottlings - to name a few - all typically deliver decent-to-good in the ~$7 - $10 range. And that's not counting imported wine, like, say Australian over-achievers Rosemount, Lindeman's, and Penfolds' Rawson's Retreat.

My local Fresh & Easy here in Arizona is offering a bunch of good wines at pretty good discounts. For example I can get the La Parra Loca Tempranillo/Shiraz blend for under ~$5 a bottle, and quite a bit less if I buy a half-case or more. So I'd skip the flat Flat Rock series (boy, they got the first part of the name right!) and stock your own value wine shelves with wines that have a little more to say.


Drinkability: 3/10
Price: 5/5
Total value: 7/15

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