Well at this rate it may take me all year to get to 100! But I can’t complain it is good to be busy! A little blurb about this new Pinot Grigio from the Collio region of Italy – the Northern climate and fine gravel soils of this region produce a richer, fuller style of Pinot Grigio. Complex and round on the palate with pear fruit, a nutty character to the finish and hints of minerality. This is a Pinot Grigio that would appeal to Chardonnay lovers. Beautiful wine to serve with seafood or my favorite – Sunday roast chicken!
We’ve been featuring this tasty little treat for the upcoming holiday (yes, love it or hate it, Valentine’s Day is next up), and while it is really tasty, it has also proven to be a bit mysterious. Most of us have never heard of Fragolino. I for one hadn’t, until recently when I tried this wine. I have found after doing a bit of research that Fragolino is an Italian grape varietal that derives its name from the Italian word for strawberry – fragola. With good reason – once poured the intense aroma of fresh strawberries is very apparent. The color is the other thing that is really striking – imagine mashing up a bowl full of ripe raspberries.Pretty, light, bubbly and fresh with that sweet but not too sweet allure that keeps you coming back for another glass!
A fun little wine to pop open if you are celebrating Valentine’s Day with your loved one. Having a girls night instead?! Again, pretty delicious option. So either way you sort of can’t go wrong.
Two newbies that I think are pretty easy on the palate, and the wallet. Two great little gems from Italy and Spain that you can add to your list of no brainer weeknight wines that you will enjoy over and over again.
Scagliola “MATI” Barbera ($13)
This winery was started back in the 1940’s by the wine makers grandfather and now these two brothers continue the tradition and produce an array of wines from Barbera, Brachetto, Dolcetto, and Moscato.
This Barbera from Scagliola is bright, young and shows good acidity on the palate. Bright red fruit and softer tannins makes this a great food wine – pairs with easy foods….think Italian antipasti. Some Proscuitto, Fresh Mozzerella and crusty Italian bread and you are good to go!
2006 Castillo de Fuendejalon Crianza ($8)
Great wine for this very budget friendly price!! Spanish wines have a lot to offer consumers in regards to good wine at a great value. An easy drinking blend of Garnacha and Tempranillo. Nice cherry and raspberry flavors on the palate – firm tannins and a nice earthy characteristic. We served this the other night with chicken fajitas and it was great.
We recently picked up business with a new distributor and I am excited to slowly start exploring their repertoire of wines, particularly because of their unique assortment of Italian wines from even the tiniest of wine producing regions. I actually just got done reading someone else’s blog post on how he thinks that the wine of a particular region seems to echo the cultural tastes and food staples. I think that’s why I love Italian wine so much….they seem to mirror the flavors of the heartier, rustic cuisine. So when I tasted the 2007 Leonetti “Le Olle” Bardolino Classico D.O.C.G. I was so intrigued and excited. This wine stayed with me in my mind for weeks afterwards – and when you taste the variety of wines that I do, I think this says a lot.
The second wine we picked up is this delicious and totally unusual Portuguese blend that is Syrah based ( I know, right? Syrah….from Portugal?). The price point at $9.99 makes this an absolute no brainer. Plus I loved the quirky birds on the label:)
2007 Leonetti “Le Olle” Bardollino Classico D.O.C.G.
I had to read up a bit on this wine – it is from the Bardolino region, where the vineyards sit hillside to the beautiful Lake Garda in Northern Italy. It is predominantly made up of Corvina and Rondinella along with I believe a little Cabernet Sauvignon. It is full bodied, dry, with ripe fruit and the most interesting notes of rosemary and thyme on the palate. And of course there is some of that classic sort of raisiny flavor that I thoroughly enjoy in Italian wines. A wonderful food wine – I would love to serve this with some sort of rosemary encrusted roast, or with some sort of rich beef stew. definitely one that will be served at our dinner table during this holiday season.
This is one of those wines that you taste and then someone tells you the price, and you have to taste it again to make sure your memory is serving you correctly. A Syrah based blend, incorporating two other Portuguese varietals – Touriga Nacional and Aragones, which may make people shy away because they are a bit less known, however they make up for it with the blaring orange label and fun design. The wine is BIG. Rich, dark fruit, some toasty oak characteristics, nice and round on the palate. I actually recommend giving this one a day to open up – but if you are serving it that evening, just open it up for an hour or decant. It gets better and better with each glass and will be a repeat purchase for those that love BIG bang for your buck in regards to red wine.
We had a blast at our Italian tasting last week where we featured wines from the Banfi portfolio – mainly due to the good company and awesome wines they provided. The values were killer and we found several bottles that fit our favorite price points and our store vibe very well. I find myself gravitating to Italian wine, from the easy to sip to the more complex – these wines are all so food friendly and can accompany almost anything. I love the classic, rustic style paired with that nice, bright acidity.
Here are a few favorites from the tasting and a few others I love from our shelves. Enjoy!
2007 Banfi Centine Toscana
This is a no brainer – great everyday wine. Perfect wine for pizza, pasta dishes, anything with red sauce basically. A blend of Sangiovese, Cabernet and Merlot, this wine definitely over delivers for the $10.99 price point! It showcased some nice, bright acidity and bright cherry flavor up front and a nice, supple, mellow finish. By far our best seller of the evening!
2008 Banfi San Angelo Pinot Grigio
What I really enjoyed about his wine was the slightly creamier finish than you typically see in Pinot Grigio. Slightly fuller body and a bit more to it than some Pinot Grigio on the market. This wine offers a lot – round on the palate and persistent. Very pretty flavors of pear, peach and a touch of honey on the finish. This would be a great wine to serve with mussels, fish, or just as a wine to sip during these last few weeks of summer.
2008 Banfi Chianti Superiore
A pretty straightforward wine here, predominantly Sangiovese. Clean, fruit forward and nice acidity make this a pleasant wine to have on a week night….the price point definitely allows for that at $10 a bottle.
2008 Tenute Silvio Nardi Rosso di Montalcino
This is one of my favorite wines in the store – for just nice, easy, enjoyable sipping. We poured this for a wine dinner at Cardone’s Italian Restaurant and it was an instant house favorite. They use 100% Sangiovese grapes and using the same care they use to make Brunello. This wine is young, vibrant, with a beautiful, long, velvety finish. So delicious. Perfect wine to pour with some beautiful anti pasti – smoked, dried meats, cheeses, sun dried tomatoes and crostini drizzled with olive oil.