The World Goblet Round 1: Germany vs. United States

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While scanning the World Cup groups in order to plan our daytime drinking over the next month, Gut Check noticed that most of the great wine-producing nations are represented in the tournament field, including all of those with a reputation for crafting good, value-priced wines. Because Gut Check never saw a value we didn't like, we resolved to stage our own tournament to determine the 2010 World Goblet Champion.

Ten years ago Germany would have absolutely dominated this competition -- solid rieslings from top producers cost about $10, and you might be able to go up a level in quality for another buck or two. Thanks to unfavorable exchange rates (and the wine world finally catching on to how great these wines can be) prices for wines from famous makers have doubled -- or worse. There's still good value to be found among the big names, but those bottles are well out of the price range of this competition.

The U.S. suffers from a similar lack of value, but for different reasons. Living in the U.S., we're blessed with a huge selection of sub-$12 domestic wine, most of which is the product (and we use that term in its most derisive sense) of a small number of massive wine corporations spouting forth a dizzying array of labels whose primary purpose is to hog shelf space at your local supermarket. There are good values from decent producers out there, but finding them involves real work.

This is a group stage match; three points for a win, one point for a draw.

To view all 2010 World Goblet matches to date, click here...

Next: On to the match!...

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Dave Nelson
2008 J&H Selbach Riesling Piesporter Michelsberg Qba ($12)
Almost looks like water in the glass. Smells and tastes pretty much like water too. There's a hint of indistinct flowers if you inhale hard and squint, and a solid flavor balance between sweet and acid, but that's only if you perform the tasting equivalent of inhaling hard and squinting.

Really disappointing, especially considering the luck we had not long ago with Schloss Saarstein's Qba priced at only a buck more.

2008 Toad Hollow Francine's Selection Chardonnay Mendocino County ($12)
Pale gold. Ripe pear and lime aromas are bolstered by a hint of smokiness, though this "unoaked" chardonnay never made so much as a passing acquaintance with wood. There's some heft here, but not in the ponderous form one encounters with so many California chardonnays. In fact, this wine is nicely balanced -- enough acidity to balance the richness. The alcohol starts to assert itself as the bottle warms up, so an ice bucket would be a good idea.

What Gut Check wouldn't give for a half-dozen scallops, seared and sauced simply. At any rate, lot of wine for $12.

Result: United States

A veritable shocker. We knew it'd be tough to find a topnotch German wine that qualified on price, but Selbach is a good producer and wine importer Terry Theise seldom misses the mark. Gotta hand it to the scrappy U.S. squad, which orchestrated a good old-fashioned beat-down. This is why we open the bottles and taste them!

Group C standings

Country

W

L

T

Pts

Australia

1

0

0

3

United States

1

0

0

3

Chile

0

1

0

0

Germany

0

1

0

0


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