Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Salmon Creek California Pinot Grigio, 2007

Salmon Creek wines do not really deserve the "artisan" label, but they are certainly budget. I saw this in the store two days after trying--and enjoying--a Salmon Creek Cabernet from a restaurant wine list. Otherwise, I might have been skeptical about the $5.29 price tag.

I learned later that Salmon Creek wines are products of Fred Franzia and Bronco Wines, better known for two buck Chuck (Charles Shaw wines sold at some Trader Joe's stores for $1.99). Franzia believes restaurant goers should be able to buy a bottle of wine to accompany their meal for $10, and he is willing to sell restaurant owners his Salmon Creek line for $2.50/bottle to allow them to do so. (Actually, I paid $5 for a glass of my Salmon Creek Cabernet.)

The 2007 Pinot Grigio has some of the herbal highlights of the MezzaCorona, although perhaps not as delicate as MC in its youth. Bay leaves, mint, flowers and musky peach skin scents dominate the nose. On the palate, it's smooth and graceful with flavor interest; it does not taste cheap. Both this Pinot Grigio and the Cabernet are definitely middle-of-the-road wines, avoiding both the overly showy and overly bland approach that characterizes many inexpensive wines. I would choose them over many of the $40 wines I see on most restaurant wine lists.


  1. i recently had the salmon creek cabernet at a restaurant too (by mistake... i ordered chardonnay originally), and found your blog doing a search for it today. any idea what kind of retail stores might carry it?

  2. I've seen it at my local supermarket: D&W FreshMarket in Kalamazoo. But they rarely display it prominently.

    Actually, my supermarket brought it in because of a customer request. So you might try that route.

  3. I tasted this wine at an outdoor event just this evening. I can't believe it's not more expensive.

    Pepperwood Grove is one of my favorite "everyday" wines and this stuff is even better.

    Hoping that BevMo stocks this in Phoenix!

  4. I think that the salmon Creek is one of the best wines because I've tried it, actually is better than Concha y Toro, and this is one of the best, actually I can't change it.