Tag Archives: cheap wine

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.

Panilonco Reserve Carmenere

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Panilonco Reserve Carmenere

2009
Colchagua Valley, Chile

OK, folks — this is one of the best values I’ve had in ages! $4 a bottle at Trader Joe’s. FOUR. BUCKS. And it’s one tasty glassful, brimming with berries and oak and a surprising hit of mint. Smells like blackberries and plums and spice. The finish lingers, and it’s just a wee bit tart (this mellows out with some breathing). Mildly tannic, big but not bold: a gentle giant.

Lucky Star Pinot Noir

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Lucky Star Pinot Noir2009
California (Graton)

Luck seems to be a lady for this Pinot. She’s a pretty garnet m’amselle with some nice legs and a delicate perfume of cherries, leather and oak. Light and lively with cranberries on the tip of the tongue and a dry but tannic finish — a nice touch that keeps this lighter red from being a lightweight. A real lucky find, too, for a mere $10.

We found this wine at Beverages and More.

Poet’s Row Merlot

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Poet's Row Merlot2008
Sonoma County

I’m not in love with this wine, but it has some nice characteristics and Hubbs enjoyed it. Lovely blackberry bouquet, dry and lightly chewy tannins with a bit of cedar and a smoky finish. This is a pretty full-bodied wine. I drank it on its own, but I think my impressions would have been better if I’d had a meal with it; it’s got the muscle to stand up to a nice, meaty dish. Beef stew, lamb chops… OK, now I’m hungry.

[Edit: Poet’s Row 2008 Cab is $9 at Trader Joe’s.]

Three Wishes Cabernet Sauvignon

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Three Wishes CabernetCalifornia

I really wanted to like this wine. It’s dirt cheap, and came highly recommended from the guy at Whole Foods. But the truth is that I didn’t even finish my glass. Having said that, for $2.99, you could do worse.

It smells horrible: musty, old cherries and rotting cedar. Luckily, it tastes better. Strawberries at the start, cranberries at the end, and kind of sweet in the middle. Surprisingly light bodied for a Cab. My problems with it: just not a lot of “there” there (where did the tannins go?), and a nasty aftertaste.

At the risk of sounding like a snob, I suspect those who aren’t particularly discriminating will enjoy this wine. It’s got that fruity, slightly sweet, everyman’s quality that makes a wine “easy drinking.” It beats Two-Buck Chuck by several lengths, and the price is right. Good for a party of not-so-choosy drinkers, or better yet: turn it into sangria or hot spiced wine for seasonal celebrating on the cheap.