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winereview

Mini-reviews 69: Marchesi di Barolo, Bibi Graetz, Clos du Val, Bolla

Reviews of wines that don’t need their own post, but are worth noting for one reason or another. Look for it on the final Friday of each month. • Marchesi di Barolo Read More »

winerant

Champagne Jayne and the new censorship

Censorship used to be easy to understand. The secret police came to the door in the dark of night and you were never heard from again. Which is what makes the Champagne Read More »

winetrends

TEXSOM International Wine Awards 2015

The wine competition business is at a crossroads, with entries still not back to pre-recession levels, with wineries cutting the marketing budgets that pay entry fees, and with the reliability of competition Read More »

wineofweek

Wine of the week: Lyeth Meritage 2012

Wineries are like rock ‘n roll bands — they come and go for no particular reason, and if you write about wine or drink it, that’s something you need to understand. Just Read More »

winenews

Winebits 374: Wine snobs, wine grapes, lawsuits

• Because we’re better than you are: The Wine Spectator reports that the next big grape will be cabernet franc, mostly because of its “gossamer structure.” The Wine Curmudgeon has absolutely no Read More »

Great quotes in wine history: Arrow

great quotes

Oliver Queen, the Arrow, has only one thing to say to people who don’t respect regional wine.

A tip o’ the Wine Curmudgeon’s fedora to the Dedoimedo website; this post is based on his “My reaction to — ” series. The video is courtesy of Róbert Kubinyi via YouTube, using Viewerz.

$100 of wine

winereview

$100 worth of wineWhich, as anyone who has been paying attention knows, means not one or two bottles of wine for $100, but $100 of wine — an entire case, plus one, without a crappy label in it. How did I do it?

I wanted to find something from a familiar region, like Spain, that I hadn’t tried before; to try something from a new region, like Portugal, that has been getting good press; and to find wines to drink on a weeknight with a weeknight dinner, which meant low alcohol and, even in winter, rose. All the wines were purchased:

• Four bottles of Rene Barbier, two red and two white — quality $4 wine that I keep around the house for emergencies. Because, as we all know, wine emergencies are all too common.

The 2013 Charles & Charles rose ($10, 12.6%), which has lost some of its fruit over the past nine months and become more interesting in the process. How rose improves with age is something not enough people pay attention to.

Louis Tete Beaujolais-Villages ($11, 12.5%). This was a previous vintage, the 2012, from one of my favorite Beaujolais producers. It had started to fade, but it was still drinkable — a little grapey and soft, but with enough structure so it remained much more than Welch’s.

Cruz de Piedra rose, a pink Spanish garnacha, also a 2012 ($9, 13.5%). Yet another top-notch, value-oriented Spanish wine with lots of berry fruit.

Penelope Sanchez ($11, 13.5%), a delicious and funky Spanish red blend (garnacha and syrah) that might have been my favorite. It was dark and spicy, the sort of wine that is as far removed from the International style of winemaking as possible.

Maybe my favorite U.S. rose, despite its $15 price — the Bonny Doon Vin Gris de Cigare (13%). It’s always fresh, it’s always enjoyable, and the berry fruit is always impeccable.

• The Esporao Alandra Branco 2012 ($7, 12.5%) and the Barão de Vila Proeza Dao Tinto 2010 ($9, 13%). a Portuguese white and red. The former showed its age, but still had pear fruit and white pepper; the latter was a wine of the week this month. I’m still skeptical about much of the Portuguese hype, but both these wines demonstrate Portugal’s effort to make better table wine.

Artadi Tempranillo ($14, 14%), This Spanish red combines traditional style with modern winemaking, with more red fruit than I expected, but still identifiable as Spanish.

Wine of the week: Li Veli Fiano 2013

wineofweek

 Li Veli Fiano The American fascination with chardonnay has always intrigued the Wine Curmudgeon. Given the hundreds of other white wines in the world, why do we insist on only drinking chardonnay? This is not a knock on the wine, which I love, but if all I drank was one kind of anything, I’d give up drinking.

Which brings us to the Li Veli Fiano ($12, purchased, 12.5%), an Italian white wine from the Puglia region in the country’s boot heel and produced by a company that usually offers value and quality. Best yet, it’s made with the fiano grape, which is not chardonnay but should appeal to those who don’t like to venture too far from it.

Look for white pepper, a hint of nuttiness, and some pear fruit, backed up by lots of freshness and zing — zesty, even. This is not an elegant wine, but it is well structured and offers much more than $12 of value. In this, it’s a  versatile wine, tasty on its own or pairing with almost every white wine dish you can think of — and yes, even a light cream sauce.

Highly recommended, and especially for anyone who wants to throw caution to the wind and drink something other than chardonnay.

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