As you may know from reading my recent posts, I have been in Southern California for the last week with my two children to visit their grandparents. I surprisingly have done a lot of cooking. It has been out of survival, for the most part, because my mother is not a very good cook, though she has other good qualities.
The other night with my father in Carlsbad, I made steamed asparagus with fried eggs on top, with olive oil and balsamic sauce, followed by a penne with swordfish, tomato, fennel, black olive and paprika sauce. My dad poured a 2006 La Crema Chardonnay Sonoma Coast (NR) and a 2004 Merry Edwards Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast Meredith Estate Méthode à L’Ancienne. The former showed pleasant apple pie and vanilla character with a full and creamy texture, though it was a little simple (88 points nonblind), while the latter had wonderful smoky, pancetta, berry and plum character and a round, soft and rich mouthfeel (93 points nonblind.)
I have been to an array of supermarkets, including Ralphs, Albertsons, Henrys and Jensens. Except for the latter, the wine selections are dismal. It seems that they have all the same wines, mostly agro-industrial whites and reds from California and Australia, with a few imports such as Bolla, Dubeouf and Louis Jadot. They obviously just work with big distributors who push their volume stuff. I just couldn’t force myself to buy wine at most of these places. I didn’t want to drink anything they had.
Jensens was the exception. It had interesting selection of about 1,000 wines and many of the bottles that you recommended that I wanted to try. The only problem was that it was a little overpriced—maybe two or three dollars per bottle. But the convenience of being able to walk into a supermarket and buy your food as well as wine was worth the premium—at least to me.
It’s a shame that more supermarkets (at least in those in states and cities that allow supermarkets to sell wine, as not all do) don’t take pride in their wine selection. I have read that Americans now drink more wine than beer and that our wine consumption continues to grow at an impressive rate. But until supermarkets get their act together and offer a good wine selection, we will never become a true wine-drinking country.