Friday, May 15, 2015

Issue XXV: Prunotto Fiulot Barbera Edition

Prunotto Fiulot Barbera D'Asti

Back when I was first compiling the list, I created several sub-lists of wines to test. One that frequently came up on a few of the “under $20” or sometimes budget wine lists where I was drawing several names was this. Concurrent with my then-tour of the world via bottles of wine, it did, however, take me a bit to get to as it was closer to the $20 mark and my process at the time was to buy at the lower end of the scale first and then get one of the more expensive ones. Now, I had no intention or even passing thought of ever doing a column like this, so I’d occasionally run into the $40 range for something really special, but the higher ones were more one at a time rather than getting a cluster, as I did will the lesser expensive ones.

What I found here was another lively wine from what was fast becoming my overall favorite wine-producing country, Italy, though this was more to the northern part of the country, all the way opposite of my favored region, that being the southern part…at least for reds, that is. Wines from the north tend to be more bitey and that is the case here, though this is a very drinkable red. This tends to be a fairly intense red and a bit deceptive, since it initially feels very light in the mouth.

Airing this one out tends to get a bit pointless as there is not a great difference between 15 minutes and longer. I haven’t tried it directly out of the gate, but I get the impression it probably would be one of those that one could conceivably pull the cork and go. The taste here tends to have elements of berry, but nothing particularly strong and overwhelming. Barbera, as grapes goes, seems to be a milder one and all in all, this can be a quite refreshing wine.

It is, as noted, one of the more expensive entries, comparatively, on this list and usually runs around $18/bottle. It’s another that never seems to come up on SPA and hence, another that comes in at Mixed.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Issue XXIV: Gloria Reynolds Tinto Real Edition

Gloria Reynolds Tinto Real [Blend]

When someone mentions wine and Portugal, the natural inclination is to think of Porto wines and stop there, possibly, if they’re a bit more versed in the wine world, with some of the whites originating from that region also. But for the reds, the mind might more naturally drift to France or Italy or Spain, perhaps all three, first and maybe solely and with good reason. It’s true there is not a lot of prominence from Portugal in this category, but if all the offerings were of a similar nature to this, it would have more notoriety. As it is, this alone is very worthy and notable, even compared to the rest of the usual wine-making region hitters.

What we have here is a very nice fruit-forward wine that can start a bit rough and rocky, but mellows with air time into something quite smooth and balanced, with just enough hint of astringency to put a little edge on it and keep it from being over-fruity. Despite the sort of non-Portuguese sounding name of Gloria Reynolds, the tradition there dates over 200 years. The blend of several grapes, including Tempranillo, creates a very artisanal wine that is both full-bodied and dense, yet fantastic for sip after sip.

Generally speaking, this wine runs around $14/bottle, so its acquisition here is more of an occasional nature. I’ve yet to ever see it on SPA, so this entry, though very worthy, is another one that comes in at Mixed.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Issue XXIII: Clean Slate Riesling Edition

 Clean Slate Riesling

Wine has been a struggle with me at times, especially whites, wherein I’ve wanted something a touch sweet and round, yet light and the white Zins, by then, had become a bit too cloying for me and I hadn’t found my exact favorite in a red. Truth be told, I sort of gave up on wines for a while, aside from sake, which has been a fairly constant companion, and gravitated back to mostly beer.

It was on this course when I wound up being best man at a former friend’s wedding and, after dutifully nursing a glass of the lower ranged reds they had there for a few hours, the groom introduced me to the wonders of Riesling. We appropriated all the bottles of that we could find (they had a mix) and enjoyed glorious glass after glass of that wonderful nectar potion until the last was emptied. The wine was one that I immediately ran out and got (it’s on the HSC list currently, but has gone back to a re-testing phase, due to excessive inconsistencies between bottles) and enjoyed repeatedly until I finally tired of it.

So, heavily into the reds of a few years ago, I came to view Rieslings and Moscatos as mostly light, sort of frivolous wines, almost, suitable for dessert and little else, certainly not for hanging out and drinking. That is still mostly the case, but every once in a while, something will come up on SPA that sparks my interest and this is a perfect example of that, showing up on sale while I was perusing the German aisle. Since the grape originated there and I hadn’t the chance to try a German version of this delectable varietal yet, that was an easy choice to grab.

While the other Riesling was heavily sweet and a bit sugary (definitely needs to be served cold), this one is a lot drier, lending it a certain amount of complexity and also allowing the wine to develop somewhat on the palate as it warms. The aspect of apples (as opposed to heavy fruit, such as peach for the Moscato) is still present and it doesn’t have the perfumery nature of the Moscato, either, but presents a remarkably clean drink, slightly sweet, yet well-balanced with acidity that is an experience to itself. A bottle of this amply demonstrates the huge difference between American and European brews, utilizing the same varietal.

As usual, I do not rate whites on the normal scale, including this one.