We all have that moment. The one where you’re staring down the liquor store aisle, mouth wide open, in a daze and you have no idea what to buy. The majority of the time you walk around the aisle staring at the rows and rows of wine bottles and by the end of it you end up going home with the one with the prettiest label. It’s a sad, sad truth but that’s how most people shop for their wines (and sometimes books too). To avoid such a dilemma it is always best to have your one go to wine- that’s not yellowtail, despite their ads. Having one brand that you know produces a quality product at your specific price level can save you a lot of trouble and headache. Plus it’s always nice to bring a bottle of wine to a dinner party that you know isn’t horrible, especially if that dinner party is hosted by your boss.
Fortunately over the course of my profession I have accumulated a couple of go-to wines that are a complete fail-safe. I discovered my absolute favorite while at a restaurant review for Kelly Liken in Vail. I liked it so much that I gave it a nice mention in my write-up, you can read the review here. From then on Gundlach Bundschu, or more lovingly called GunBun, has been in my wine cabinet ever since.
Gun bun isn’t one of those “all sparkle and no shine” type of wines. Rather they forgo all the flash for a simple, clean and beautifully balanced product. This makes sense though as they are the oldest family owned winery in California, specifically Sonoma. So it’s needless to say they know what they are doing, unlike many newer American wineries that focus more on their branding than their wines. My specific favorites tend to lean more towards their reds, although I really do enjoy their Gewurztraminer. Their 2010 Merlot is what I initially fell in love with because it has a true fresh fruit nose with a deep and rich blackberry palate without being too sweet. It is at it’s best when properly aerated and serve either with dessert or just by itself. It is truly a treat if you love Merlot. On the other spectrum their 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon is probably their most interesting wine I’ve tried. With a spicy nose of anise it has a peppery finish that is truly savory. It is the best wine I’ve ever paired with a nice steak dinner. This is the type of wine you talk about all night at a dinner party, a literal topic of conversation (if you hang out with weird foodies like I do). Their Mountain Cuvee is on a similar spectrum with more of tobacco and plum finish. It is one of their most popular wines but I still prefer the Cab.
Overrall Gunbun wines are classic, rich and really satisfying. I honestly can’t say enough good things about them and I get excited every time I run across them in the liquor store. Definitely check them out if you’re ready to upgrade your wine selections. Because honestly, buying wine on looks alone is a guaranteed way to end up going home with something you’re not going to like.