Friday, January 31, 2014
In the manner of all very young Italian reds, this Umbrian requires a very long breathing period (three hours at a minimum) lest it taste harsh, tannin saturated, and bitter. Given that, it softens up nicely. $12.99, a dollar less in N.Y.
Wednesday, January 29, 2014
Alvarinhos are grown in Northern Portugal, just across the border from Spanish Galicia. They tend to be a curious mixture of tart and sweet (think of Chinese sweet and sour food). This one has been reduced in price given its age so that the end result tends to have both opposing qualities exaggerated. If that kind of exotic effect is your thing, you may like it. Very overpriced at $11.99.
Tuesday, January 28, 2014
A blend of Cabernet, Merlot, and San Giovese, this rather assertive Tuscan red is all but undrinkably tart upon first opening. Once it's breathed for a couple of hours though, it becomes quite civilized, with plum and red cherry elements, and even a perceptible chocolate note. It's holding up nicely under its age but, at $12.99,is surely overpriced.
Monday, January 27, 2014
The Muscat grape has been grown in the Mediterrenean region for over three thousand years and until relatively recently informed our taste of what a vinified white grape should taste like: it's semi-sweet. This one from Piedmont tastes of white peach and apple, with some slightly bubbly notes and quite a bit of fragrance and underlying caramel. It's unmistakably a dessert wine and drinking it as an accompaniment to main dishes would clearly not correspond to today's taste. $9.99.
Friday, January 24, 2014
This white Rias Baixas from Galicia (Spain, not Poland) is light, fragrant, with nicely blended flavors of melon and citrus. It's certainly at least a year beyond its "drink by" date, but, with its screw top, has hung in there nicely. (While I'm deeply suspicious of any red with a screw top, whites are quite another story). At $11.99 not exactly cheap, but a nice quaff.
Wednesday, January 22, 2014
This strikes me as a particularly nice year of this Portuguese red blend from the Douro region, also famous for its Ports. A bit on the tart side, with a tannin overload on opening, it will soon soften into appealing plum amd cherry elements, complementing any red meat. $9.99.
Monday, January 20, 2014
A red Chianti from Tuscany which manages to be at one and the same time fruit forward ( mostly cherry and blackberry ) and thin at the same time, and in addition has a noticeable tobacco smoke overlay, this turns out to be nothing particularly special, certainly not at $10.99.
Sunday, January 12, 2014
Had I never tasted a Pinot Grigio from the Venezio before, I should have said "no thank you, never again". This wine has nothing whatever to recommend it, it's completely bland, with just a slight bitter taste at the finish. Overpriced, even at $8.99.
Wednesday, January 8, 2014
Monday, January 6, 2014
As regular readers of this blog will be aware, it's not often that I come down hard on a Rioja -- they are generally reliable -- but let this be a notable exception This is supposed to have apple and orange elements, but all I detect is a largely undefined, vaguely sweetish taste and, if that weren't enough, an unpleasant, vinegary finish. I have no means of determining if that's built into the wine, or whether the bottle has begun to turn, but by all means avoid it. The price, $11.99, is nothing short of ludicrous.
Sunday, January 5, 2014
You musn't think Marlborough Valley -- this Martinborough white from New Zealand's North Island is a semi-sweet with predominant elements of peach and ripe apple and no bite to speak of. We were unimpressed, the wine could have been made to illustrate the meaning of the impression "meh". $11.99.
Friday, January 3, 2014
There's not much to be said on behalf of this white from Georgia (the country, not the state) other than that it's neither dry nor sweet, and that it tastes vaguely of grapes. There's a cartoon in the January 6, 2014 NEW YORKER magazine that describes it perfectly.$8.99.