Thursday, October 25, 2012

Passero Primitivo 2008

Consumers for the most part love big, fruity wines. There is a bevy of Zinfandel fans that frequent my local joint. They like the big fruit, the black pepper notes and the soft, friendly finish. Well, much has been written about Primitivo and Zinfandel possibly being the same grape. They certainly share an aroma and taste profile. Subsequent DNA testing however linked Zin to a Croatian varietal called Crljenak Kaštelansk - and don't ask me how to pronounce that. No matter, Zin lovers should also love most well made Primitivos as well and tonight's example, though not from it's usual home in Puglia is from right next door in Salento.

This beautifully balanced $11.99 quaffer delivers all you want in an everyday wine. It's almost Chianti like in the nose, though riper, with blackberry, baked cherry, leather and cinnamon notes. In the mouth it's big but balanced, with dark berry fruit flavors enhanced by lively acids and a smooth, soft finish. Produced by Alessandro Sala Selezioni and imported by Inno Vino, this is practically the perfect pasta and pizza wine though it will also pair well with roast chicken or grilled sausage. A google search turned up absolutely nothing on this producer, even on the importer's website. Cheers!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Body and Soul - Altos de Luzon 2007

Crowd pleasing Spanish red wines continue to deliver the goods when it comes to concentration and bold fruit flavors - and at prices one can only consider exceptional values. Bodegas Luzon, a large operation located in Jumilla in southeastern Spain has been churning out fantastic everyday reds for a long time. Their entry level $7.99 wines are incredible values. One is the Luzon Cosechca, a hearty blend of 70% Monastrell (Mourvedre) and 30% Syrah. The other is Luzon Verde, a 100% Monastrell cuvee that is organic to boot. I've had and enjoyed both bottlings many times.

Today however I want to tell you about the step up bottling called Altos de Luzon which will set you back a bit more at $12.99, but may be an even better value given the breadth and scope of the product. This awesome wine is a blend consisting of 50% Monastrell and 25% each Cabernet Sauvignon and Tempranillo. It's very inky purple color leads to brooding aromas of blackberry and cherry jam fruit with notes of cocoa, vanilla and spices - the latter two of which are a result of the 12 months in French and American oak this wine sees prior to bottling. The flavors are also large scaled, with dark berry and plum flavors supported by somewhat high toned acids and smoke and spice notes on the lingering finish. This food friendly wine is a pretty big one for the price and should please just about anyone, especially the "size matters" crowd, and there's nothing wrong with that. An import of Fine Estates From Spain, try this beauty with a hearty beef or lamb stew, or a simple grilled steak. Cheers.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

It May be October But I'm Still Loving Roses - Enanzo Rosado 2011

When we decided to pour a French rose at Nomad Pizza in Philly this summer, we turned to a great little wine from an oddball DOC in the Loire Valley called Coteaux D'Ancenis, from Domaine Pierre Guindon. We weren't sure that it would go - I mean Rose with pizza? - but the response was good enough that we decided to keep a rose on the list for fall. This time however we went with a Spanish version of those great pink wines that many think are sweet, but are actually dry.

There's a big difference between the aforementioned cool climate Loire Valley Rose made from Gamay and the much warmer climate Grenache Rose from the Navarra region of northern Spain. The Gamay is lighter in color and more subtle of flavor than the Enanzo - more complex for sure. But the Enanzo has more color and bolder fruit in the mouth. It's bigger in every way and that's something many wine drinkers can relate to. Size matters for some and when it comes to pizza, bolder roses may indeed be a better fit. There's prominent aromas of strawberry and watermelon with distinct floral elements. In the mouth, the red berry flavors are bold and full bodied with a honeyed creaminess on the back end. And, the best part about this beauty is that here in Jersey it can be had for a miserly $8.99. Imported by C&P Wines, you should definitely seek this crowd pleasing rose out. Cheers.