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Category Archives: Wine of the week

Wine of the week: Errazuriz Cabernet Sauvignon Estate Reserva 2010

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Wine of the week: Errazuriz Cabernet SauvignonThere is almost no way that this red wine, from a well-known Chilean producer, should have impressed me. It’s too old for a cheap wine and too many cheap Chilean wines these days are dumbed down for the so-called American palate.

But the Errazuriz ($11, purchased, 13.5%) was neither of those. It was great Chilean cheap wine from the old days, a decade or so ago when you could go to any supermarket and pay $10 for a red like this or a sauvignon blanc like Veramonte and get more than your money’s worth. Chilean wines were always candidates for the $10 Hall of Fame in those days.

But not as much anymore. For one thing, the quality of the grapes used to make the wines declined as Chilean wine became more popular and more grapes were needed. For another, the marketing wise guys got their hands on the wines, and focus grouped them to death, so that they started to taste the same.

The Errazuiz didn’t have as much black fruit as I expected, but it was still more new world in style than old — save for the fact that it is heavy enough that it needs food. Plus, it was mostly balanced, with tannins and acid in the right places, another pleasant surprise. This is a nice value, and especially for an older $10 wine. Shows what Chile can still do when its winemakers aren’t busy chasing trends.

 

Wine of the week: Alliance Loire La Clotière Rose 2012

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La Clotiere roseOne of the Wine Curmudgeon’s best friends in the wine writing business hates rose. This is something I have never understood, because his palate is impeccable in almost every other way. He is even open minded when he tastes Tennessee wine, hardly something that one sees very often.

So, Tom, the La Clotiere rose ($10, purchased, 12%), made with the gamay grape in the Loire region in France, is for you. It’s not a dry white wine that happens to be pink, something you insist is the case with most roses. Rather, since it’s made with the same grape that’s used for Beaujolais, it’s soft like that style of red wine. But because it’s much more than just a red wine that’s pink, there is also an almost tropical fruit flavor along with the cherry, and the softness is balanced by a bright acidity that gives the wine a surprising freshness. And, of course, it’s dry.

The La Clotiere rose is an excellent example of the quality and value that one can find in modern rose, and is exactly the kind of wine to review in anticipation of tomorrow’s annual rose extravaganza. I stumbled on it while looking for something else, and bought it because it’s almost impossible to find a badly made $10 rose anymore. Highly recommended, and a candidate for the 2015 $10 Hall of Fame.

Wine of the week: Poggio Anima Uriel 2011

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Poggio Anima UrielThe Wine Curmudgeon always tries to find wine that people who don’t drink much wine would like, all part of my goal of spreading the gospel to consumers near and far. So when I saw the Poggio Anima Uriel ($12, purchased, 13%) on the wine list at a Dallas pizza restaurant, I knew I was in business.

Sure enough, the friends we were eating with loved it, including the non-wine drinker in the group. She pronounced it as well done as pinot grigio — score another victory for Sicily and great cheap wine.

The Uriel is a white wine made with grillo, a Sicilian grape used mostly for marsala until the island’s wine renaissance of the past couple of decades. Since then, a variety of producers have turned it into tasty and inexpensive dry wines, and the Uriel is yet another example. Look for enough white fruit to be noticeable, a bit of almond on the nose, and wonderful freshness and balance. This is the kind of wine, after you take the first sip, that you know you’ll want to drink all night.

How enjoyable was the Uriel? So much so that it was close to the highlight of dinner, given that the pizza was — as happens all too often in Dallas — over-hyped to the extreme. My non-drinking friend had an entire glass, which is like the Wine Curmudgeon drinking an entire bottle.

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