It’s a hot, sticky day, and I’ve been helping my friend Maria Walusis of Nibbles Culinary Entertainment prep for a big catered event tomorrow. Time for a bacon-wrapped tenderloin, with some of Maria’s mushroom demiglace sauce, and a bottle of rosé. This is a 2010 Collino Teatino (Italy); it runs about $13 retail in Ohio. )
Color: dark pink with a coppery tinge at the edge.
Aroma: cherry (almost kirsch) with some spice and berry fruit.
Taste: tart and lively, with berry fruit and some earthy notes. The finish has a hint of white truffles and white pepper.
A good bottle and very dependable year to year. I like Masciarelli’s Montepulciano d’Abruzzo, too.
This is one of the few leftover bottles I have from last summer – it’s the 2011 vintage, Columbia Valley. A nice producer, I’ve been a fan of this for some time. I’m having this with grilled soy-sherry marinated chicken breasts.
Color: deep for a rosé – dark pink like fresh red raspberries.
Aroma: classic Sangiovese – cherry and burnt orange peel, with a touch of star anise
Taste: Lively, with excellent acidity and fruit. The spice and the tiny touch of tannin show up on the finish. Very nice, and reminiscent of a good Italian rosé. As good a quality as this wine is, I’m surprised that there aren’t more Tuscan-style wines from Washington. Someone needs to get on that!
A definite buy for the summer. I’ll have a report on the recently released 2012 in the next 6 weeks, I hope. My eBook on rosé should be out around the same time – look for Wine Me Up! Rosé in July.
This is a Southern Rhone clone (50% Grenache, 30% Syrah, 20% Mourvedre) from the Pays d’Oc. I picked the 2011 vintage up at Trader Joe’s today for $9. I’m having this with a goat cheese crotin and a crisp salad of bitter greens (beet and mustard greens, baby kale, carrot greens, etc)
Color: Straight red and garnet-red color. Almost opaque in the middle.
Aroma: Cocoa and roasted earth notes from the Grenache dominate. There’s a little sweetish plum and cherry fruit underneath that.
Taste: This has some nice body – very much in the Rhone style, with good tannic and spicy length; really impressive length for a $9 bottle of French. I wish it had a little more fruit in the middle – the cocoa-earth-spice complex dominates. I’m going to try this with a hunk of dark chocolate a little later tonight.
A nice one to have on your shelf in the Rhone/GSM category.
A nice bottle from Western Cape, South Africa – this is the 2010 vintage. As part of the family commitment to nature, they keep 5 square miles of land around the vineyard as a wild game reserve, and they feature engravings of different local wildlife on the labels each year.
Color: purple, verging toward blue in the center – a sign of good extraction and clean winemaking.
Aroma: cassis and blueberries, with just a touch of chocolate, oaky vanilla, and cigar box underneath.
Taste: Rich, but not overpowering; good fruit and acidity together, moderate tannins toward the back of the palate, and a full finish with more chocolate notes. Very nicely made.
Well worth the ~$18 a bottle – this is something to keep on the shelf as a go-to Cab, especially if you’re tired of the same old California stuff.
Since I discovered this wine a few years ago, I’ve been a huge fan. I sold nearly 10% of their US production at the wine shop I used to manage. This is the 2008 vintage – 55% Shiraz, 43% Cabernet, and 2% Viognier from Victoria, Australia.
The owner, George Shinas, is a judge in Australia, and all his labels are judicial-themed, with great sepia-toned labels. He reserves the best few barrels of his varietal Shiraz and Cabernet for his flagship blend.
Color: This is a dark garnet red with a clear, clean edge.
Aroma: Very Australian – mint, oak, spice, hot fruit underneath. I opened this straight from the cellar (58 Fahrenheit) and the 15% alcohol is noticeable.
Taste: The alcohol does not come through on the palate: big, chewy, jammy fruit with moderate spice – the oaky vanilla notes come through on the finish, along with a return of the mint and eucalyptus.
$30 in Ohio, but totally worth it. For the money, this is one of the best Australian wines you can find. There were only a few hundred cases shipped to the US, so ask your wine shop to contact the importers, Vine Street.
A basic Bordeaux Superieur (which refers to alcohol content, not any inherent advantage in quality) from Trader Joe’s. The 2011 cost $8.50, so I’m not expecting much. At worst, I can throw this in an ice cube tray and use it for sauces and stews.
Color: A nice blue-purple; it’s young, obviously, but this means it was made with good climate control, hygiene, and attention to oxygen.
Aroma: Definitely some cassis in there, along with cherry and some other berry fruit. 13.5% alcohol, but you can’t smell it.
Taste: Yeah, it’s young and it’s tight. This falls off very quickly, leaving just tannin on the finish. Fairly well balanced up front.
I’m going to leave a bottle in the cellar and see what it’s like in 2-3 years.
Since Spring has finally hit, I’m going to put out a quick ebook of recipes for wine cocktails. You’ll learn why you should never soak citrus fruit in your Sangria pitcher. the difference between a Mimosa and a Bucks Fizz, and how to make a Kir Royale. Stay tuned!
This is one of the Trader Joe’s exclusive wines, from Oreana Winery in California. I purchased the 2011 for $8 recently, am having this with a pot of chili.
Color: nice and purple, not quite opaque.
Aroma: black cherry, spice, blackberry, some chocolate and licorice.
Taste: this is a good food wine – plenty of acidity, and despite the 13.8% alcohol it’s not hot or flabby. Starts out with more fruit, then about halfway back on the tongue transitions to a spice- and chocolate-dominated profile. Medium tannins on the back of the tongue and on the gums. Decent length on the finish.
I’ll buy this again; can drink it solo (like a basic Cotes du Rhone) or with a reasonably spicy meal. I’m curious how this would be with Cajun.
It will soon be Sangria season. My recipe can be mostly prepared several days in advance.
- 2 bottles hearty Spanish red (Grenache or Grenache blend)
- 2 pears, cored and cut into 1/2″ cubes
- 1 cup fresh or frozen berry mix
- 48 oz bottle of fruity lemonade/limeade (I like Trader Joe’s Pomegranate Limeade)
- 1 L sparkling water
Combine all ingredients except the sparkling water in a large container, and keep covered in the refrigerator for at least 24 hours (you can keep this up to 5 days long). Just before serving, add the sparkling water.
Check out my forthcoming ebook on Sangria, Mimosas, Bellinis, and other wine cocktails for more recipes and advice!
Wine Me Up! The Hundred-Bottle Cellar is now available in the Kindle Store for $2.99!
This has everything you need to know to start a wine cellar: what and how much to buy, how long to store, how to serve, and what to pair with.
Look for more titles in the weeks ahead.
A basic 2009 Bordeaux, 65% Cabernet and 35% Merlot, for under $20. Having this with steak and onions off the grill.
Color: a good Bordeaux garnet red.
Aroma: oak/truffle earth notes, then cherry and blackberry fruit.
Taste: Tart fruit – nothing wrong, but nothing extraordinary either. 2009 was a good year, but for a petit chateau like this you can’t expect the world. OK with the steak, better with the onions. Next time I’ll serve this with kabobs.