… and the reason I make that assertion of commonplace knowledge is that while my objective on KoeppelOnWine.com was to replace some pages every week and others every two weeks, constant readers will know that I often fail to meet that criteria, so I cry “Mea culpa!” — or “Meal culpa!” as they say in the restaurant biz — in apology for having left a page up for a month. Just yesterday, I wrote and posted a “Refrigerator Door Wines” page of inexpensive products for the first time since Oct. 24. In some compensation, instead of six or eight cheap stonecap_032.jpg wines, as I usually do, I offer 15, but, you will notice, these are not all positive reviews. My philosophy is to warn you away from the bad as well as urge you toward the good, rather like a preacher of the fire ‘n’ brimstone school. And I wonder, as I always do, why bad or mediocre or just generic wines exist? How, for example, could a producer, Washington State’s Stonecap, in this case, offer a borgianni.jpg terrific riesling (for the price), an undrinkable chardonnay and a bland cabernet sauvignon and sell each one for $11? Why do the wines, especially reds, in the $10 to $12 range of Australia’s largest producers — Penfolds, Lindemans, Rosemount — all taste so similar? Does that case have something to do with the fact that these once independent concerns are all owned by the giant Foster’s conglomerate? What’s interesting here is that Penfolds “Koonunga Hill” line, intended to sell for $11 or $12, I find merely average to forgettable, while the Penfolds “Thomas Hyland” line, priced at $13 to $15, offers far more authenticity and integrity. Should two dollars more make that much difference?

Unanswerable questions, perhaps, but that’s always been the purpose of art; let philosophers and scientists probe for meaning.

Take a look, anyway, at the current “Refrigerator Door Wines” page — not for wines you keep in the refrigerator door but the list you post on the outside of the door to remind yourself to stop by the store and pick up a bottle of wine for dinner — and notice that my favorite wines of the bunch are the two Penfolds Thomas Hyland wines, Shiraz 2005 and Riesling 2007, and the Borgianni Chianti 2005.

No “mea culpas.” Enjoy.