Category Archives: Wine of the week

Wine of the week: Colosi Sicilia Bianco 2013


Colosi Sicilia BiancoWhat better way to celebrate the blog’s eighth birthday than with a cheap Sicilian white wine made with three grapes no one has heard of? These are the days when it’s fun to be the Wine Curmudgeon.

The Colosi Sicilia Bianco ($10, purchased, 12%) is everything that I love about cheap wine, but that so many others don’t understand. It’s a light, simple, well-made, and refreshing wine, with green apple and lemon flavors, a bit of crispness in the back, and no oak. In this, it makes the point that sometimes all we need is a light, simple, well-made, and refreshing wine, whether to drink with dinner, to enjoy after work, or to sip on a weekend afternoon just because we want a glass of wine. Not every wine occasion has to be a big deal, and not every wine buying decision has to be as convoluted as purchasing a house.

The grapes, by the way, are inzolia, catarratto, and grillo (the latter of which I like almost as much as ugni blanc). Their combination gives the Colosi Sicilia Bianco a slightly chardonnay aroma, which is both surprising and not unwelcome. We don’t want U.S. wine consumers to be to turned off by a wine that has almost nothing in common with the stuff that Big Wine shovels at us in the grocery store, do we?

Wine of the week: Beronia Rioja Crianza 2011


Beronia Rioja crianzaIf Spanish wine is the best value in the world, Rioja crianza may be the best value in Spanish red wine. Every once in a while I’ll run into a clunker, but almost all deliver stunning quality and cost $10, or not much more. The Beronia Rioja crianza ($11, sample, 13.5%) is no exception.

Wine terms first: Rioja, in northern Spain, is the country’s best-known wine region, and where tempranillo is used to make the wine. Crianza is one of three levels of Rioja, followed by reserva and gran reserva (and there is also, thanks to the EU, a fourth style wine simply called tempranillo). Each level requires a specific amount of oak and bottle aging; for crianza, it’s a year oak and at least a couple of months in the bottle. That’s why it’s the least expensive of the three.

The Beronia isn’t quite as traditional as some — the Ramon Bilboa crianza, for one, also a steal at $12 — and shows a more modern approach. That means softer and more approachable cherry fruit, and a little less zingy feel in the mouth. But there is still enough acidity to be Rioja, and enough earthiness to speak to the region’s terroir.

Pair this with most meat or poultry, and you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how well it goes with grilled shrimp with a paprika edge.

Wine of the week: Delaunay Sauvignon Blanc TYDY 2013


Delaunay TYDYOne of the great joys of my early wine drinking days was sauvignon blanc from the Loire region of France, many of which were cheap, well made, and full of terroir. Sadly, too many of those wines have become too expensive to be worth buying, and their style has shifted from the traditional minerality to the citrusy, fruit-forward approach popularized by New Zealand.

So I was excited to try the Delaunay TYDY ($13, sample, 13%), which we did for the French portion of my El Centro wine class, James McFayden of Favorite Brands in Dallas, who talked about French wine as only he can, brought the Delaunay TYDY for just that reason — to show that there is still quality, affordable sauvignon blanc from the Loire.

The wine didn’t disappoint. It was crisp and fresh, and if there was a bit of lemon fruit, it wasn’t overdone and didn’t prevent the wine’s other qualities from showing, including a hint of flowers and a touch of minerality. If it’s not the Loire sauvignon blanc that I remember so fondly, it doesn’t need to be. Highly recommended, and an ideal wine for anything shellfish, to drink on its own, or bring to a holiday party.

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