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Tag Archives: holiday wine

Winebits 320: Valentine’s Day 2014

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Valentine's Day 2014Suggestions from around the Internet for The Holiday that Must Not be Named, covering a variety of contingencies. I also have a bubbly suggestion here and a more affordable one here:

Bring out the wallet: My pal Blake Gray, who is championing the five percent of Americans who buy wine that costs more than $20, should enjoy these suggestions for Valentine’s day — the $56 Moet Rose Imperial and the $119 version, which comes with the wine and two Champagne flutes. Because, for your money, you deserve something more than just quality sparkling wine. Says one expert quoted in the story: “They’re racy, they’re elegant, they got that aroma of red fruits, they strike a chord.” What more can we ask for?

Two-buck Chuck, anyone? Seriously, suggests Christy Strawser in Detroit, who has a compiled a cheapskate’s guide to the holiday. Which, frankly, made the Wine Curmudgeon shed a tear in admiration. Her favorite? The Charles Shaw merlot, available at Trader Joe’s for $3.49 or so. You’ll have to supply your own glasses, though.

Scoring? Really? When the Wine Curmudgeon was a youth, many similarly-aged young men boasted of “scoring with chicks.” This was, of course, a foreign concept to someone like me. Nerd and geek were insults then, and we didn’t get to be network television stars. So I’m at a bit of a loss about what the headline for this post means: “10 Valentine’s Day Gifts to Score With.” Does it mean pleasing someone or does it carry the other — dare I say — sexual connotation? Because, frankly, I’m not sure anyone is going to score with a chick or dude with the wines mentioned in the article. They’re Red Diamond pinot noir and merlot, $10 grocery store-style wines sold mostly in restaurants. There is certainly nothing wrong with them, but I think Blake’s 5 percenters would most decidedly turn their noses up.

Expensive wine 59: J Vintage Brut Late Disgorged 2003

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Expensive wine 59: J Vintage Brut Late Disgorged 2003There won’t be a specific post for wine and Valentine’s Day this year, but I will cover the subject today, tomorrow (featuring Valentine’s Day suggestions from around the Internet), and Wednesday. I did a Valentine’s post last year because I wanted to emphasize sparkling wine, but that job is pretty well done. And I’m not a big fan of the holiday that must not be named, anyway.

I am, however, a huge fan of the J Vintage ($90, sample, 12.5%), price be damned.  Is “very yummy” too technical a wine term to describe it?

Look for layers and layers of complexity and flavor – some pear fruit, some yeastiness (but not overdone the way many French wines at this price are), and even some melon. Don’t often get that in a bubbly. In all of this, the wine is not as aggressive as J’s non-vintage wines, which means less citrus and more subtlety in the fruit flavors. But there are still lots and lots of tiny bubbles, for those of us who love that.

Is it worth nine bottles of a quality $10 Spanish cava? That all depends who you are going to share it with.

Wine of the week: Adami Prosecco Brut Garbèl NV

wineofweek

Wine of the week: Adami Prosecco Brut Garbèl NVThe problem with Prosecco for those of us who don’t understand it is that it doesn’t taste the way we expect it to. It’s made differently, so it’s sweeter and not as bubbly. That makes it difficult to judge Prosecco as Prosecco, and not in comparison to Champagne, cava, or any sparkling wine made in a more dry and bubbly style.

Which is even more difficult if you’re one of the world’s greatest living advocates of cava and someone whose only criticism of Champagne is that it’s too expensive.

But the Wine Curmudgeon is nothing if not persistent, and my exploration of Prosecco over the past month or so has helped me get a better idea of what it is and why so many people like it. Because they do: Two-thirds of the increase in imported sparkling wine sales in 2012 in the U.S. came from Italy, and most of that was Prosecco. The key to understanding Prosecco? To accept it for what it is, and not to make the mistake that Champagne snobs make when dismissing cava for no other reason than it isn’t Champagne. Prosecco is supposed to taste like Prosecco, and nothing else.

The Adami ($15, sample, 11%) is a big step in that direction. It tastes like quality Prosecco, with more character and interest than many others at this price. That means more structure — a beginning, middle, and end, instead of just a sweetish, fruity middle — and apple fruit instead of softer tropical flavors. The bubbles are also a little sturdier. All in all, very nicely done, and you could do much worse tonight when toasting the New Year.

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