A reader, presumably from New Zealand, recently challenged me about my inclusion of the Frenzy Sauvignon Blanc on a blog with the title "Artisan Wine on a Budget." Frenzy is a "virtual winery," a "marketing concept," he pointed out. Matt apparently read only my second report on Frenzy; in the first, I mentioned clearly that the wine is produced by Tenuto Campo di Sasso from Tuscany in Italy from grapes grown in the Marlborough wine-growing region of New Zealand. What I like about this wine is the straightforward presentation of exciting Sauvignon Blanc fruit without distracting wine-making manipulation...and at a price less than $10 a bottle.
There are, of course, numerous small "artisan" or "boutique" wineries in California, Australia and New Zealand selling their wines for $20, $30, $40 or more a bottle. Some, I'm sure, are worth the price, but I don't intend to spend my hard-earned money finding out. My quest is to find wines that are inexpensive enough to drink on an every day basis and good enough to appeal to a wine lover's sense of aesthetics. For me, that means wine that faithfullly represents the grape's varietal character and the micro-climate and soil of its origin.