Third anniversary of wine column

Decisions were made when this column began three years ago.

Target audience: the average person. No wine speak unless accompanied by translations. No 100-point or 20-point ratings. No highfalutin’ writing implying I am so much cooler than you when it comes to wine. Trust me on this. My 86-year-old mother edits each column and keeps me grounded.

The column’s focus is common sense plus witty (I pray) efforts to help you know what wine is, generally how a wine tastes, what is happening in the wine world. Most important: amuse and inform you each Wednesday in 250 words.

There are wine recommendations at end of most columns. Tastings notes are my own plus those, typically, of wine maker and other critics. Read them with a Bordeaux glass of skepticism. My nose and palate is not capable of discerning five different smells, six different tastes, plus nuances of three layers of finish. I’m a writer who writes about wine, not a wine whiz who attempts to write.

Happy confession: I enjoy almost every wine I drink, and I enjoy tasting something different almost every day. I will never taste—thanks to time, budget, and liver—anywhere near all the wines available. They also make more every year. Hallelujah.

By the way, when there is a recommendation, you can buy the wine without heroic effort. There will be no recommendations for some fabulous wine you could only hope to taste if your great grandfather put you on the allocation list and left you a trust fund that allows you to make the purchase.

Thank you for sharing the ride as we begin year four. Do not hesitate to comment. Send me an email; follow my almost daily tasting notes on Twitter: @gusclemens.


• Marcus James Malbec. Inky color; blackberry, plum; smooth, smoky, silky; wee light body for malbec, but quite nice for price: $5

• Francis Coppola Presents Rosso. Zin-syrah-cab. Rustic, straight-forward, light, juicy; cherries, cola, plum; food friend, value buy: $9

• Goats Do Roam Red. Berry, spice nose; fruit, nice acidity & tannin; pleasing value blend from South Africa: syrah, cinsault, grenache, carignan: $9

• Les Jamelles Syrah Vin de Pays d’Oc. Dark; mild wild berries nose; rich, fat on palate; plum, spicy, tangy tannin; rustic value: $11