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Tag Archives: pinot grigio

Mini-reviews 81: Estancia, malbec, Macon, Scarpetta

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estanciaReviews of wines that don’t need their own post, but are worth noting for one reason or another. Look for it on the fourth Friday of each month.

Estancia Pinot Grigo 2014 ($9, purchased, 13.5%): This California white is another example of the deteriorating state of cheap wine. If you drank it when it was released almost a year ago, it had pleasant apple and tropical fruit and was certainly worth what it cost. Drink it almost a year after release, which I did, and the fruit is gone and what’s left is mostly pithy bitterness — the kind of wine people cite when they say they don’t like wine. Even $9 white wine should last 15 or 18 months.

Pascual Toso Malbec 2014 ($8, purchased, 14%): This red is a decent enough grocery store Argentine malbec, without too much jammy berry fruit and a little rusticity for balance, though there is way too much fake oak. It’s not bad, but not as good as it could be.

Louis Jadot Mâcon-Villages 2014 ($10, purchased, 12.5%): This French white is everything the Estancia isn’t, and offers at least $10 worth of chardonnay. Look for green apple, a nicely rich mouth feel, and short if refreshing finish. It should be in most supermarkets in the country, so you have something to buy if all else fails.

Scarpetta Timido NV ($17, purchased, 12%): This sweetish Italian rose sparkling wine has lots of strawberry and then some more sweetness, just like I remember from the bad old days. You can buy the same quality wine for half the price without any trouble at all.

Mini-reviews 78: White Rioja, Peter Zemmer, Benoit Gautier, Mouton Cadet

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white RiojaReviews 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.

Dinastía Vivanco Rioja Blanco 2013 ($11, sample, 13.5%): Pleasant enough white Spanish blend from the Rioja region, with some white fruit and a hint of orange. We don’t see white Rioja much in the U.S., but the novelty isn’t enough of a reason to buy it and there are better wines for the same price.

Peter Zemmer Pinot Grigio 2014 ($16, sample, 13.5%): Premiumization rears its ugly head. This Italian white isn’t appreciably better than any $8 grocery store pinot grigio, with the same bitter finish, tonic water taste profile, and little noticeable fruit.

Benoit Gautier Vouvray 2013 ($13, sample, 12%): There were once a host of $10 well made and slightly sweet chenin blancs from the Vouvray region of France, but many of them aren’t as well made any more and aren’t $10, either. The Gautier almost fits the bill as one of the former, but there isn’t enough white fruit or acidity to back up the sweetness.

Mouton Cadet Rose 2014 ($11, purchased, 13.5%): This French pink wine from the Bordeaux region is bitter, without much fruit, not very interesting, and very disappointing. It’s the kind of wine people drink and then switch to sweet tea.

Wine of the week: Felluga Pinot Grigio 2014

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felluga pinot grigioMichele Pasqua, the winemaker for Italy’s Marco Felluga, is passionate about Italian pinot grigio. “Most Americans don’t know what pinot grigio tastes like,” he says, “because 85 percent of the pinot grigio they taste is not pinot grigio.” 

His example? The Felluga pinot grigio ($15, sample, 13%), which is mostly everything that the tonic water pinot grigios that are so popular in the U.S. aren’t. For one thing, it has fruit — lemon, and some lemon peel on the finish and just not the sort of almost minerality that is one of grocery store pinot grigio’s reason for being. For another, it smells good, as un-wine as that sounds, with an enticing, flowery aroma. This is wine, and not something devised to sell to American women of a certain demographic.

And, yes, it’s worth the couple of extra bucks. Chill this and drink it on its own, and you’ll smile at how much you enjoy it. It’s also a food wine; pair it with anything grilled that would pair with white wine — shrimp would be terrific, as would chicken thighs marinated in herbs, garlic, and olive oil.

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