Monday, December 30, 2013

Ruffino Orvieto Classico 2012

Ruffino is a huge combine, producing vast quantities of both reds and whites. The entry level whites tend to be cheap but rather aggressively dry. This white however, grown in Umbria (and marketed simply as "white Chianti" on its home ground) is a step or two above that. Not precisely sweet, it nevertheless predominantly reminds me of pear, with just enough citrus to make it into a table rather than a dessert wine. A nice, rounded mouthful and certainly worth the price of $8.99.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Caparzo San Giovese 2011

From the celebrated Montalcino region, this is a very ordinary red, made from the Sangiovese grape, with the expected cherry and chocolate elements, with rather too much acidity in the finish. $8.49.

Ruffino Aziano Chianti Classico 2009

In spite of the fancy designations, this is an ordinary Chianti Classico, with the usual cherry element. considerably overpriced at $12.99.

Friday, December 27, 2013

M.Chapoutirr Belleruche Rouge 2011

A Grenache/Syrah blend Cotes du Rhone, this is a somewhat unripe product, rather smoky in taste, with elements of cherry and licorice. Somewhat overpriced at $10.99.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Villa Maria Sauvignon Blanc 2012

Your typical New Zealand Marlborough Valley Sauvignon Blanc tends to be fresh, flinty, with a mown grass element predominating. This one, however, has a good deal more body, with strong gooseberry and citrus flavors. $12.99.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Peter Weber Brut

One man's brut is another's demi sec, and that is what that Alsatian bubbly struck me as. It's relatively heavy-bodied and particularly unsubtle. Way over priced at $12.99.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Cantina Orazio Rosso Gastone 2010

If I were employed in an Italian vineyard to help with the harvesting, this is what I might expect to be given along with my free lunch at noon. It's from Liguria, and it's red. That's the best that can be said for it; othewise it's raw, more than fleetingly bitter, and in no conceivable manner worth the "sale" price of, hang on to your hats, $11.99. (Which reminds me that it's now been at least a year since the initiative to do away with the PLCB was introduced. In that period ( not that anyone cares) I've tried to be fair, praising the Board for whatever real bargains it was offering, and there were certainly some, but from here on in, I'll just save my breath and, whenever expedient and justified by price, order my wine from out of state. The PLCB succeeded admirably in running rings around the voters, but not around the courts.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Rosnay Vouvray 2011

Made of 100% Chenin Blanc, this white from the region of Tours is a so-called demi-sec. In fact, it leans more in the direction of sweet, with elements of pineapple and peach, only partially tempered by citrus. Given its minerality and and slight carbonization, I'd consider it as a dessert wine. $12.99, can be bought for two dollars less in N.Y.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Carpineto Dogajolo Bianco 2012

All that the term Super Tuscan guarantees these days is that the wine is indeed made in Tuscany. This white blend is on the mild side of "dry", with predominantly apple notes and some quince. $11.99, but it sells for two dollars less in a lot of places.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Les Rabassieres Cotes du Rhone 2011

Those must be some wierd truffles(ramassieres means truffles in the Provencal dialect, from having to stoop to dig them up, after they've been located by one's pet pig or dog) this red grows in the midst of. Even after a good two hours of airing, it tasted thin and unpleasantly bitter. Certainly not worth even the sale price of $9.99.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Anna de Codorniu Brut

The Holiday Season having snuck up on us, it's time to look at Cavas. This Catalonian white from Penedes is Spain's best selling bubbly. It's certainly not bad, but the rather unusual mix (not to say contradiction in terms) of pineapple and citrus is not precisely to my taste. When it comes to Cavas, I prefer the Freixenet. $8.99.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Carpinetto Dogajolo 2011

A blend of four different grapes, this young Tuscan red, made in the style of the Super Tuscans, is sometimes referred to as a "Baby Tuscan". It's fresh, with black cherry, blackberry, peach, and, yes, citrus elements. Not much body, but a good summer drink. $9.99.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Couleurs du Sud Cabernet/Sauvignon 2012

A very young Vin de Pays from Sete in Languedoc, this red is fruit forward with a goodly amount of spice and Cassis, with citrus elements in the finish. Nothing Special, but quite drinkable. $8.99.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Domaine les Pins Bourgueil Cuvee Les Rochettes 2011

A Cabernet Franc, this Loire red ( from a region that specializes in whites )tastes of black cranberry and black cherry, the former lending it a rather acerbic note. In spite of being aged in concrete vats for ten months, it's on the thin side, with a noticeable amount of acidity in the finish. I prefer more body in my reds, but if you're looking for a wine that won't overwhelm light dishes, you might give it a try. The price, at $11.99, is under the market.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Graffigna Centenario Malbec Reserve 2011

Grown at altitude in very dry conditions, this Argentine red from San Juan is a quality product, with the proviso that you let it breathe for at least an hour. Then it will deliver an extremely smooth mix of dark cherry, black berry, and ground black pepper, with just a mollifying touch of chocolate. It sells at a huge gamut of prices, anywhere from seven to seventeen dollars, with the PA price of $12.99 a tad on the high side.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Pravis Pinot Grigio 2012

Grown in the hills above Italy's Lake Garda, in the Northeast, this is a relatively cheerful white, it's flintyness balanced by white melon elements, the citrus finish muted sufficiently so as not to overcome the basically soft character of the wine. My preference would be to drink it al fresco in the summer. Fairly priced at $11.99.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Honey Shale Hill 2013

Whether because it has aged insufficiently, or because the addition of sugar to this wine has beem overly enthusiastic, this South African white, a blend of Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon, and Viognier, displaying tropical fruit flavors, tempered by citrus, strlkes me as an unhappy menage a trois. On balance, it manages the difficult feat of being both too sweet and too light, with, as it that were not enough, the slight element of carbonization is entirely supererogatory. Way overpriced at $12.99.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Finca Flichman Expresiones Reserve 2011

A Malbec/Cabernet Sauvignon blend, this red from Argentina's Mendoza Valley is aged for eight months in oak. The result is a full bodied wine with lots of black fruit, chiefly cherry, plum, and blackberry; also soft tannins and just a hint of chocolate. An extremely pleasant bottle at the really rock bottom price of $9.99. If you have the room, I would put down a case.