The World Goblet Round 2: New Zealand vs. France

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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.

Today's French entrant is going to require a trip across the river to Illinois to track down, but the effort is worth it. Year in and year out, this Louis/Dressner selection is one of the best values in the world. The late, lamented Bon Vivant Wines was able to source it, so other Illinois retailers can too, if you ask 'em nice.

New Zealand's best-performing red grape has been pinot noir, but we didn't have high hopes of finding one that met our $12 price ceiling. While we eventually did, inexpensive pinot noir (and $12 is definitely inexpensive for pinot) is a crap shoot -- with loaded dice, at that.

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

Next: Gooooooooooaaaaaaallllllll!

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Dave Nelson
2007 Les Hérétiques Vin de Pays de l'Hérault ($9.50)
Spicy blackberries greet your nose, a good match for the deep, rich clear purple in the glass. With time, mineral notes add complexity. Tastes solidly of fruit, but not so much as to be overbearing. The tannins are a bit, well, tannic, but it's nothing a good sirloin straight off the grill couldn't fix. (Then again, there ain't much a good sirloin off the grill can't fix.) This wine is mostly made from carignan grapes, which are widely derided but capable of very good things when raised judiciously by skilled people, and syrah.

2008 Sherwood Estate Pinot Noir Marlborough ($12)
Clear and very light in color -- a very significant and refreshing sight in an inexpensive pinot noir. Here we're almost talking a dark rosé. Roasted beet, dried cranberry and clay provide a subtle, compelling complexity. The fruit is sweet, and surprisingly intense on the palate, with some slightly rustic herbal notes. The wine is always light, but it's well-balanced with good acidity. It does a very good impression of a working-class Burgundy for a third of the price (or less).

Just add roast chicken and mashed potatoes.

Result: Draw

The Les Hérétiques' strong showing came as no surprise. But the Kiwi pinot noir left us as dumbfounded as the All Whites left the Azzurri in the World Cup. A good value-priced pinot noir is always a great find, and this one definitely qualifies.

Group B Standings:

Country

W

L

T

Pts

France

1

0

1

4

New Zealand

0

0

2

2

Greece

0

0

1

1

Italy

0

1

0

0



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