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Friday, July 09, 2010

A Summer Wine For Stampede? Check Out "The Show"

Back in 2001, 3 well-known winemakers, Joel Gott, Charles Bieler and Roger Scommegna, formed "Three Thieves" a value-focused wine company aimed at producing quality wines at rock-bottom prices.  How would they do it? By sourcing the excess wine and grapes from good wineries and growers and transforming those outstanding leftover raw materials into something new, imaginary and easy on the pocket book.  To add to the value mystique, the "Three Thieves" packaged their wines in jug format (old "Paul Masson" type glass bottles with the circular holder on the side), in highly transportable tetra/foil packs (ideal for hunting coolers and end of day bird-cleaning sessions) and in good 'ol wine bottles for the traditionalists in the crowd.  Add in screwcaps, cool label art and a damn fine motto ("Liberators of World Class Wine") and you have something interesting - but is the wine any good?

Having read numerous reviews in the Wine Spectator and other wine publications (who nearly all provided decent reviews), and having enjoyed some of Gott's zinfandels from his own label over the years (they sell them in a general store on the way up the Haleakala volcano on Maui, Hawaii oddly enough), I first gave the Three Thieves jug zinfandel a shot a few years back.  Solid.  Not the most mind-blowing zinfandel I had ever had, but at $10.00, it was unreal. 

What I came across a couple of months back was even more interesting.  A wine purportedly made by the Rebel Wine Company/Bieler*Gott*Scommes Productions (read - the Three Thieves) and entitled "The Show" - a 2007 cabernet sauvignon with a bucking horse and a cowboy set against a rising sun on
the label (which is a story onto itself given that it is a "Hatch Show Print" label).  The winemaker on this bottling is Gott himself, who apparently gathered grapes from all over California to put "The Show" together.  I ran into the wine somewhere and bought a couple of bottles, then received another as a gift, and all 3 remain in Knox's cellar.  However, I had the good fortune of being in Calgary this week for a spell of Stampede revelry and wandered into Murrieta's West Coast Grill on the Stephen (8th) Avenue walking mall downtown and found out that they were featuring "The Show" as part of a Stampede promotion.  I ordered a glass, then another and another.

The wine is downright delicious.  A backbone of cabernet, and support from some petite sirah and some other rhone-style grapes for chartacer, make for a very drinkable, laid-back wine with easy tannins, a fruity accessibility and just a bit of a jammy bite.  It's also a "steal" (Three Thieves pun intended) at $15 - $20 a bottle (CDN).  While being a great backyard summer BBQ wine, this wine may also be the ideal Calgary Stampede wine, given its honky-tonk mojo and drinkability.  So, if you get tired of flat, warm draft beer served by a tattooed bikini-top and chaps-clad woman amidst the smell of urine and sweat in one of the many Stampede beer tents around Calgary, maybe give this a shot?  MMMMmmm.......urine and sweat.  Off to the Stampede I go.........

Posted by Knox Harrington on July 9, 2010 in Food and Drink | Permalink


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