Author Archives: nls

Tormaresca NePriCa

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2009
Puglia, Italy

The funny name for this wine comes from a blend of three grapes–Negroamaro (40%), Primitivo (30%), and Cabernet Sauvignon (30%). Negroamaro (“bitter black”) is a varietal unfamiliar to me until now–grown primarily in Puglia, Italy’s heel, and characterized by a particular bitterness. I definitely got that in the finish; not overpowering, but very distinctive. The Cab no doubt balances that out.

Dry and dusty in the nose, NePriCa is a beautiful, velvety scarlet with substantial legs. There’s definitely a lot of licorice up front (hello, Primitivo), a peppery center and a redolent perfume of cherries, cassis, and flowers. Very earthy and mineral-y. Then there’s that bitter finish, with just a tinge of sweetness at the very end. It’s interesting to taste a blend where each grape’s personality stands out so clearly, like instruments in a symphony. Drinks far beyond its very reasonable $10 price.

Gina Chianti DOCG

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2009
Prato, Italy

So this is the only chianti I picked from BevMo!’s 33% off sale (shocking, I know). I just love a good, honest chianti. Not afraid to be a little acidic, or tannic, or a little punchy in the finish. Maybe it doesn’t have the finesse of a pinot or the bold structure of a cabernet, but chianti doesn’t care: it’s humble, it’s flavorful, it’s salt of the earth — and proud of it.

Gina’s delicious example is easy on the acidity, so maybe it’s not exactly what I think of when I hear the word “chianti,” but it’s somehow still true to its roots. Super inky, but not super thick. Juicy, ripe boysenberries and plums. Mmmm. Nice, long, leathery finish with that piquant tartness that tickles the back part of your tongue. It is literally mouthwatering. And there’s that shadow of moldy soil that echoes aftterwards, too…what a curious and tantalizing place for my tastebuds to go. It’s a journey in every glass.

Currently available at BevMo! for $17; it was a lot cheaper before February 6, 2012 — and I wish I had stocked up.

 

Argiano Non Confunditur

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2009
Tuscany, Italy

Feeling my Italian roots this week. Too much going on at the moment for making gnocchi, so I contented myself with a bunch of vino courtesy of BevMo!’s 33% off sale. This was a great opportunity for some branching out — my recent pinot and shiraz addiction has kept me in a Transpacific rut between California and Australia for months. I know not every wine lover can appreciate the youthful exuberance of Italian varietals and styles (including most of my close wino buddies, who leave me to sip my chianti in solitude) but this one finds much to appreciate in what the Boot kicks stateside.

So without further ado…I present Non Confunditur from Argiano in Tuscany. The name comes from the Latin motto on the Argiano’s crest, and loosely translates to “don’t get confused.” I love that motto, but let’s be ┬áhonest: such playfulness attests to the trend of Italian winemakers looking to the New World more and more as they create their wines and marketing strategy. Not sure that’s a good thing, but que sera sera.

NC is a delicious blend of French and Italian grapes: 40% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot, 20% Syrah, 20% Sangiovese. It’s rich and full and very earthy, even a little musty. Even the color is kind of…dirty. There’s that smoky tobacco and leather in the long finish. Real grapy and oaky in the nose. But inside those layers is a nice plum and red fruit core that coats the tongue. I totally love this wine — it was worth the $18 (after discount; normally it retails for $27) and I’m enjoying every drop.

Dinner awaits. The pasta is not forthcoming due to aforementioned “stuff” so we’ll just have to see how NC holds up to hot dogs. Si, Nonna — hot dogs Americano; non salsiccia. I’m sorry Nonna.

On sale now at BevMo!

Emile Chandesais Bourgogne Pinot Noir

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2009
Burgundy, France

Pert and lighter bodied with cranberry, oak and a touch of smoke. I’m not really a fan of the tartness this Burgundy-style pinot exhibits, but I suspect a decent food pairing would dull that tannic edge. Salmon (of course), lighter pasta dishes, pizza, and maybe some roast turkey? What I do like is the gentle yet persistent finish; a lingering essence of musty leather, which sounds terrible but works somehow–it’s that earthiness Burgundy varietals are known for, no? You might give it a spin if you can find it on sale, but I personally wouldn’t pay full dollar.

On sale now at BevMo!

Vigilance Cimarron

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Vigilance Cimarron 20102010
Lake County, California

Fruit and spice, earth and oak–there’s something for everyone in this sparkling red blend, perfect for the holidays and sustainably farmed in Lake County. Berries and plums dance in the bouquet, and the pallet is full and lively with tart blackberry and allspice. There’s a chewy core of leathery oak, too, to back up those exuberant top notes. The finish is deep, rich and creamy. A seasonal celebration in every glass!

On sale now at BevMo! Stock up for Christmas and beyond! (I certainly intend to.)

Penfolds Rawson’s Retreat Cabernet Sauvignon

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2009
Australia

Dusky and earthy with great depth of character. Dried cherries and cedar and a bit of smoke give it a heady aroma. Loads of flavor: tart raspberries tickle the tip of the tongue while the rest of it is coated in luscious licorice and leather. Rich and oh, so yummy. A wonderful choice if you like them big but not jammy.

Kirkland Signature Series Cabernet Sauvignon

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Kirkland Cab

2008
Napa Valley

Damn…what squid did this inky Cab ride in on? Black and opaque with some cuh-razy legs! You would not believe how smooth this black beauty is, though…and I still find it hard to believe it’s the Kirkland label! Delectable aroma of vanilla and raspberries and spice, with soft berries up front, a gentle pepper edge, and a silky finish with a touch of coffee. Elegant from start to finish; Costco does the varietal proud.

Nistri Campi Salti Sangiovese-Syrah 2009

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CampiSalti Sangiovese Syrah2009
Tuscany, Italy

What a gem! Jewel-like garnet red, wonderfully rich from the 40% Syrah, bubbling with spirit from the 60% Sangiovese, and 100% yummers. Fruit-forward with blackberries, plums and dried cherries in the nose; plums, dark cherries, oak and cranberry in the mouth with a vague herbal note. The finish is soft and silky with firm but well structured tannins. I do recommend breathing to open it up–it was twice the wine after a few hours.

Cocobon Red Table Wine

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Cocobon 2009

2009
California

Livermore??? Yes. And it’s good, too! “Blended to take you to Nirvana!” claims winemaker Georgetta Dane, and I’m with her. I love a complex wine, and this one is seriously layered: starts out kind of light and minerally, then gives you some boysenberry and pomegranate, pepper at the end and mocha in the finish. A friend was picking up aromas of Dr. Pepper and prunes. An odd little wine that is just delicious and just $8 at Trader Joe’s, bless ’em. Stock up!