I am a red wine aficionado, particularly of red Bordeaux. At a certain point in my life, one of my hobbies was collecting great bottles of wine and it was great fun. Now I hunt for good bottles at a decent price and, above all, at a price I can afford. These are getting harder to find, even when you look for what have always been reasonably priced producers from Argentina, Chile and Australia. I guard what is left of my Bordeaux bottles like a mother coyote and salivate when the Sherry Lehman catalogue arrives and I look at their inventory of fabulous wines with fabulous prices to match. Frankly, even if I could afford to, I would never pay these prices. For the past two decades, so much wealth has been created across the world, that it has been simply a question of too much money chasing a limited supply. .. but don't worry, the scales will tilt back, they always do. (Just as I was about to post this, I noticed on the Wine Spectator blog to the right, the announcement that Louis Latour is releasing its 2007 vintage at considerably lower prices than 2006)
In the past, my only saving grace has been that in the hot weather, I always switch to vodka for cocktails and give up red wine altogether. Summers in South Florida are pretty unbearable and can last well into the latter part of October. Red wine and heat don't make a good combination, particularly when it is not only hot but extremely humid. This year, though, things look bleaker for us vodka drinkers as the falling dollar has caused imports across the board to skyrocket to unaffordable prices on top of a poor economy. Double Whammy! What now?
In my drinking career, and it has been a long and varied one, I have gone from Absolut to Stoli, to Ketel One to Grey Goose back to Ketel One. Why back to Ketel One? I found Grey Goose too mild. After a couple of ice cubes it tasted watered down. I am a hard core vodka drinker, on the rocks and with a lemon or lime twist. I don't mean I squeeze the juice into the vodka...I just float it..I am indeed a purist and I can't tell you how many times I have sent a glass of Grey Goose back at a bar or restaurant, claiming it was watered down. It wasn't.
One day, about a year and a half ago, I happened to notice a bottle of Kirkland Vodka at Costco while I was waiting to pay almost $60 for my Grey Goose eau de vodka. Kirkland is Costco's private label. I went over, examined it, saw that it was distilled in France, five times no less! in Cognac, the same region where Grey Goose is distilled. I asked the sales clerk about it and he said it was selling like hot cakes. It took me almost a year to break down and buy a bottle and I have been drinking it ever since. As a matter of fact, I prefer it to Grey Goose. Seriously, and I don't get kickbacks from Costco, it tastes like Grey Goose, just a little bit stronger. Perfect for my taste and less than $30/bottle for 1.75 ml. , which is also perfect for my new wallet. If the bottle bothers you, pour it into a fancy crystal decanter or an old Grey Goose bottle. Make sure you stick it in the freezer where all vodka should go. I promise you won't be able to tell the difference and neither will your guests, particularly if they drink it mixed with water or tonic. If you have a Costco nearby, go for it...worse that can happen is you use it for Bloody Marys or other mixed drinks. I bet you anything you will be pleasantly surprised.
Don't agree??? let me know what you think...