Friday, November 29, 2013
The ancient Greeks imported their wine from Syria in amphorae (huge clay vases) which were beautifully decorated -- you can see them in museums all over the world -- but not particularly air-tight. This resulted in the spoilage of a large proportion of the cargo and, in order to counteract this, the shippers took to sealing the amphorae with pine tar. Admittedly, this left behind a tarry taste, but better a somehat peculiar tasting wine than none at all. When, in the fourth century A.D., the Romans took to shipping wine in wooden barrels, enough people had become accustomed to the pine tar flavor so that in a few places, notably in Greece, it was added to the barrels directly. If you've not tasted Retsina before I can almost guarantee that you won't like it. If anything can be so desribed it's an acquired taste, best enjoyed of a late summer evening in a seaside caffee, watching the fishing fleet go out to sea from one of the Dodecanese islands. This wine falls somewhere in the middle price range ($9.99) although, in my humble opinion, only a Greek can tell a good Retsina from a mediocre one.
If you notice me reviewing wines I've reviewed before, please forgive me, the search engine on my blog isn't working and my memory, to say the least, is imperfect. Anyway, this Rhone red is, for the money, a remarkably good wine. It's well blended and very smooth, with red plum and dark berry flavors $9.99.
Thursday, November 28, 2013
This Tuscan red comes from Montalcino, one of Italy's absolutely prime wine growing regions and is a 100% San Giovese, one of Italy's deservedly best known grapes, so I was expecting a lot of it. Sadly, it doesn't come up th the mark. The taste is overwhelmingly cherry, more like cherry soda, with, as if that weren't enough, an element of caramel thrown in. I don't mean to suggest that it's actually cloyingly sweet. It reminds me of a red dessert wine. If you like those, by all means get it, at $8,49 it's actually a bargain.
Monday, November 25, 2013
To be precise, the designation "Chianti Classico" has nothing to do with ageing, whether in the bottle or the barrel, nor grape variety, nor method of vinification: it's simply a designation of origin, encompassing the region of central Tuscany from just north of Florence to Siena in the south. This red fairly restrained in taste, has no excess of fruitiness. At $12.99 however, it's definitely overpriced.
The word that comes to mind is "outrageous". I reviewed this bottle this summer and described it as o.k. but nothing special at $ 8.99. For whatever reason the bottle presently under review tasted quite differently, having a distinctly fruit forward, even unpleasantly sweet element. But the kicker is that the price has gone up by two dollars. Has the PLCB gotten the word that it will escape the axe and can thus safely return to its bad old ways?
Saturday, November 23, 2013
Friday, November 22, 2013
This Spanish white from Rueda is a full flavored, fruit forward wine, with a dominant citrus element, consisting of orange, tangerine, and lemon. It will stand up to complex, heavily sauced white meat dishes, such as veal and chicken. Somewhat overpriced at $12.99.
Thursday, November 21, 2013
Monday, November 18, 2013
Saturday, November 16, 2013
This non vintage sparkling wine from the Veneto has a fairly low alcohol content (10.5%) so that it recommends itself for occasions such as New Year's Eve when a certain excess may prevail. It's rather more on the sweet side than I'd prefer, but, on the whole, quite drinkable. $9.99.
Thursday, November 14, 2013
Italian Pinot Grigios generally are grown in the North, mostly in the Veneto and the Trentino. This one constitutes an anomaly, being produced by the Banfi combine in Tuscany. No Tuscan wine above plonk level is actually bad, but if you're expecting a standard Pinot Grigio taste, you'll be disappointed. This one is extremely fruit forward, with peach, banana, and apricot elements, with just enough citrus to keep it from going over the top into the actually sweet. There's no flintiness, no freshly mown grass, just a decently pleasant wine which I would drink as an aperetif. If that sounds like your thing, you might have a go at the sale price of $12.99.
Wednesday, November 13, 2013
Over the years I've made my view of Merlot sufficiently clear: I don't like it. Of course every rule has its exceptions. While this red from Languedoc still has traces of the dreaded,slightly bitter aftertaste, it's not overwhelming and, this apart, it exhibits strongly defined notes of red berries with underlying licorice. At $9.99 I would not consider it a favorite, but if you like Merlot, this would be one to try.
Tuesday, November 12, 2013
Finca Flichman was established in Argentina's Mendoza Valley in the 1870's by a Jewish merchant from Lodz in Poland and has been producing superior wines since that time. About ten years ago it was purchased by the giant Portuguese combine Sogrape, which invested large sums in modernizing the means of production. This red, a blend of Syrah, Malbec, and Cabernet Sauvignon, is one of their premium bottles. It exhibits good body without being heavy, and prominent red berry flavors, along with an undertone of mint, and nice, soft tannins in the drawn out finish. A very nice buy indeed at $11.99.
Saturday, November 9, 2013
This Spanish white from Rueda has a good deal of body to it, with a just barely detectable amount of effervescence. It tastes of white melon and gooseberry, with some lime in the finish. A good pairing with fish, it also makes a good sipping wine, although, at $11.99, not exactly cheap.
Friday, November 8, 2013
Wednesday, November 6, 2013
What we have here is a red Rioja Joven, meaning it is not aged after the initial fermentation process. The result is an uncomplicated, fruit forward wine, with raspberry elements and some spice. Nothing to write home about at length but, at $8.99, not a bad buy.
A nice, well rounded Pinot Grigio, with melon, peach, and apricot elements, rather more on the mellow side than flinty, certainly superior to the great quantities of plonk that are marketed with that designation, but also, at $12.99, egregiously overpriced, as you can get it in N.J. & N.Y. for four dollars less. There,s no way of predicting what our beloved PLCB will come up with next. Of course, one must consider their vast lobbying costs, which have to be passed on to the consumer.
Tuesday, November 5, 2013
Friday, November 1, 2013
I don't know why this is called a "clasico" as, so far as I know, this is the only tempranillo produced by this bodega, but be that as it may, this very young red from the foothills of the Pyrennees in Navarre, albeit on the light side and definitely fruit forward, is a very pleasant wine with cherry and plum elements, and, at $7.99, a very nice buy.I should think it would age well in the bottle for at least another two years.