Bubbles Bubbles Bubbles

*Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample from Pasternak Imports.

When I think of sparkling wine from Italy, my mind goes immediately to Prosecco. I’m not actually sure that I’ve had sparkling wine from Italy made from other grapes before this bottle, so I was interested to give it a try.  The Valdo Nerello Mascalese Brut Rose is composed of Nerello Mascalese and Prosecco grapes, which makes for something different from the norm. It clocked in at 12% alcohol by volume, had a typical Champagne closure, and retails for between $13-$15.

The nose showed strawberry, raspberry, yeast, dough, sourdough, and cherry. I thought the fruit seemed quite vibrant on the nose.  In the mouth I got strawberry, cherry, and some floral notes. The palate was less vibrant than the nose, but displayed crisp, clean red fruit flavors and nice acidity, with plenty of bubbles.




Seven Bucks and Change

*Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample from F. Wildman.

Now, this is what I like to see. And Pinot Grigio is often not my thing. But I’ll give credit where credit is due, and I see this wine available on sale online for $7 and a little pocket change. If $7 is your price range and you enjoy Pinot Grigio, this is the wine for you. I have lots of family and friends who absolutely love Pinot Grigio. I would serve this to them in a heartbeat as a great, inexpensive example and hope to forever move them away from the 1.5L jugs they currently drink.  The 2008 Folonari Pinot Grigio is imported by F. Wildman, clocked in at 12% alcohol by volume, and had a screw cap closure. Even better! I can really imagine this being the poolside Pinot Grigio of choice.

On the nose I found melon, citrus, lemon, white pepper, spice, and slight honey notes. The nose smelled clean and crisp to me. In the mouth, citrus dominated. I got lime, lemon, spice, lots o’ citrus, and slight melon notes. Overall, I found the wine to be very lemony. Refreshing, clean, crisp, and displaying typical Pinot Grigio characteristics all in a $7.19 bottle.

Liar Liar Pants on Fire

*Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample from Pasternak Imports.

I couldn’t resist. Pinocchio wine, long nose label. Yep. Cheap jokes, I love them. Several months ago the folks from Pasternak Imports sent a 6 pack of value wines to me and a bunch of other bloggers. However, when I was sick it was weeks where I wasn’t drinking wine and I got a bit backed up on my wine tasting, so I’m just getting around to some wines that have been chilling in the basement for a while. I plucked the 2008 Dievole Pinocchio Nero D’Avola from the sample bin the other night to go with an eye of the round roast. It clocked in at 13.5% alcohol by volume, had a plasticl cork closure, and retails for about $10.

On the nose I found sweet raspberries, plums, sweet cherry, rhubarb, some spice, and herbs. It smelled quite a bit like strawberry rhubarb pie without the strawberries. In the mouth I got black raspberry, cherry, black cherry, strawberry, and a little spice. I found it to be jammy and smooth, I wish it had just a bit more acidity and tannic structure to it.

Pinot Grigio

*Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample from Gallo Family Wines

I don’t drink much Pinot Grigio, if any. I bet I’ve reviewed less than 5 bottles of it since I started the wine blog 3 years ago. I tend to make the association between it and putting ice cubes in your wine to sip by the pool. That’s certainly not a fair assessment, but a lot of what I’ve had over the years is boring and flat.  Tonight we tried the 2007 Maso Canali Pinot Grigio from Italy. It clocks in at 13% alcohol by volume and retails for around $16. Matt opened the bottle and I forgot to ask him what kind of closure it had.

On the nose I found lemon, spice, and melon. It had a very faint nose. In the mouth I got lemon, tropical notes, melon, and citrus. Overall it was smooth and refreshing, very easy to drink.


Boring Wine

This is one of those wines I talked about last week that landed me in boring wine land. Boring wine land seems to me the wino’s equivalent of purgatory—being stuck drinking wines that make you think “meh” instead of making you want to dive into the glass and swim around or at least appreciate the wine for being a good value or some such feeling that’s not just “meh.” I find that around the $10-$15 price point there’s a lot of “meh” wine, but there are gems too and that’s what makes me keep plugging away, looking for that inspiring great value well made $10 wine. Of course, I might just be searching for the Holy Grail, but a wino’s gotta dream, right?

I picked up the Riondo Pink Prosecco at the Madison Wine Exchange. I think it cost about $13, weighed in at 10% alcohol by volume, and had a cork closure. Earlier this year I’d tried the Riondo Prosecco and found it to be pretty good especially given you could buy it for $10. So I pretty much expected a decent inexpensive bubbly…nothing to ponder too long, but at least something worth drinking.  While I loved the color on the wine, I found the nose to be waxy, with strawberry and candy and nothing else.  It had extremely tiny bubbles and not in the good these bubbles are tiny and there are lots of them kind of way…in the, these are tiny bubbles and there are hardly any of them kind of way. In the mouth, the wine was overly sweet, with not enough bubbles, some candied strawberry and pomegranate.  I ended up thinking it wasn’t worth the calories so I dumped it.

Grapes Go Marching One By One

We are into the home stretch for our Century Club application! This bottle marks grape 99!! I’ve been monitoring what grapes we’ve been tasting for the last two years or so, but have rarely gone out of my way to pick up lots of new ones, a few here, a few there, and it has all added up, When my dad offered to buy some wine while we were visiting in CT, I thought, why not, let’s go for some ones we haven’t tried and attempt to finish the Century Club, we were only 6 grapes away anyway!  Tonight, we opened the 2007 Vigna a Solatio Vernaccia di San Gimignano. That’s a mouthful. It’s made of the Vernaccia grape, hails from Italy, clocked in at 12% alcohol by volume and had a real cork closure. We got it at the Madison Wine Exchange and I think it ran about $14.99.

On the nose I found meyer lemon, spice, citrus, light orange, apple, peach, and white pepper.  In the mouth I got peach, stone fruit, citrus, lime, wet stone, and spice.  Overall I’d call this wine crisp and racy with nice acidity.  It reminded a bit of a Sauvignon Blanc, but without any of the grapefruit or grass characteristics.  Would probably be good with some light white fish seafood dish, though we just enjoyed it on a hot afternoon.

Tick Tock

And we are finally coming into the home stretch for our Century Club application!! Tonight we drank grape number 97, the Cortese grape, from Italy. I really thought we had already tried this one, but as I looked back through my notes, I didn’t see it there. Oh well, I’ve now remedied that.  I also saw where one of my local wine shops is hosting a 4 weekend 100+ grape extravaganza starting this Saturday. I think I’ll try to check that out to add even more grapes to the list! If you are in the Northern VA area, check it out!  We opened the 2008 Principessa Gavia. It had a real cork closure, clocked in at 12.5% alcohol, and cost us about $14 at a shop local to my parents’ house in CT.

Overall, the nose on the Gavia showed as very light.  I got some white flowers, spice, melon, and light citrus.  In the mouth I found melon, lemon, white flowers, and light orange.  The wine was crisp and refreshing, but delicate. Definitely an easy summer wine for the heat.

Giddy Up Bubbly!

Especially after a long hot horseback ride in the Tennessee Mountains!  On our recent vacation, this bottle met my criteria of being low alcohol and supposedly having a cork I could remove without a corkscrew.  Well, that last bit was TOTALLY wrong, but the rest worked out! I removed the foil from the bottle only to discover that it had a real cork, not a Champagne closure! Oops! Thankfully I found a corkscrew in the cabin.  The wine I picked as a pick-me-up after a tiring day?  The NV Riondo Prosecco Frizzante from Italy.  It clocked in at 10.5% alcohol by volume and cost me $12.99 at a shop close to work.  I see you can buy it for $10 on the internet, which is a fabulous deal!

On the nose I got flowers, lemon, honey, pear, apple, and bread.  In the mouth I found pear, green apple, a touch of honey, and apple cider.  This isn’t a complicated wine or one to ponder but for $10, it’s a great sparkling wine at a low alcohol content that would go great as a before dinner drink or just to sip on the porch on a hot day.  Drink up!

Mystery Wine

I admit it.  As much as I like the idea of Cellartracker, I’m far too lazy to update it every time wine arrives at my house.  Really, I would have to update it several times a week at the rate wine shows up here.  As a result, I often end up with mystery wine, wine at whose origins I can only guess.  Tonight that mystery wine is a 2006 Palagetto Chianti Colli Senesi.  If I had to venture a guess, I’d probably say this is one my dad bought.  It had a real cork closure, clocked in at 13.5% alcohol by volume, and it appears to retail for about $14.

On the nose I found strawberry, cedar, spice, pepper, flowers, and berries. Overall, the nose seemed a bit sweet.  In the mouth I got flavors of cherry, strawberry, blackberry, and pepper.  I found the wine to have a meaty quality.  The wine was easy to drink, simple, and a good everyday drinker.

Dirty Decanter

I only own one decanter.  I know that seems a bit strange since we drink so much wine, but that’s it, just one.  And it happened to be dirty on the night of the last Twitter Taste Live, which was too bad, since this wine really needed a decanter.  Or about 10 years in the basement.  Up last for the evening, the 2006 Insoglio took the prize for my favorite red of the evening.  It had a real cork closure, clocked in at 14% alcohol by volume, and retails for around $40.  I paid something less than that in a tasting pack from Bin Ends Wine.

The Insoglio showed lots of cherries on the nose, with an interesting smoky funk, strawberries, earth, and spice also making an appearance.  In the mouth the wine seemed smoother than I thought it would be based on the nose.  I found chocolate, anise, berries, earth, strawberries, and raspberries.  It definitely had some tannins to spare, but even on night one I found it interesting.

On night three, this wine was amazing.  It held up so well just on the counter with the cork stuck back in. (I’m also a bad wino in that I only own one stopper for my Vacu-vin…)  The nose showed plums, chocolate syrup, blackberries, spice, pepper, peppers, and something green/herbal.  In the mouth, the wine had smoothed out, but still had great acidity.  I found black cherries, black fruit, and plums.  What a great wine.