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Ste Genevieve Red: Not Bad, If You're Broke

Gallo. Robert and CK Mondavi. Beringer. Kendall-Jackson. Franzia. You know them as the 800 pound gorillas, the Two Buck Chucks, if you will, of the wining world. They take up voluminous amounts of space on the grocery store shelves with their bottles, magnums and boxes of mass-produced vino, much of it selling for less than $5 a bottle. Surely, our fair Lone Star State doesn't have a wine producer on such a massive scale, does it? And if so, is the wine any good?

The answer to the first question is undoubtedly yes. The answer to the second question depends on your definition of good.

Located in Fort Stockton, Ste Genevieve winery's production is humongous by anyone's standards. Their 800 acre vineyard produces more than 600,000 gallons of wine a year, and the state-of-the-art winery exports almost a million gallons a year of wine made from unaffiliated grape producers. Contrast that output with San Martino Winery's 92,000 bottles (not gallons), and you're basically talking about the difference between Jupiter and Mercury.

Since Texas has much in common with Mediterranean soil, where blends rule, I thought the basic Red (formerly Texas Red) might be worth investigating. Cherry cola in color, with the nose displaying minerals and slight but not unpleasant petroleum. Lots of black cherry and cola on the palate, with slight touches of vanilla and herbs. Good with hamburgers, pizza, and beef fajitas, but maybe not much else. In sum, Saint Genevieve Red is too simplistic to win any major prizes, but if it's the end of the month, with five bucks left in your account, and you've got to have tipple, you could do much worse.

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