Archive for the 'Red Wine' Category
Posted by dave
So it’s no real surprise that we’re reviewing another Australian wine. As a matter of a fact, it’s no secret that – booze-for-buck – when it comes to wines, we think that Australia just about has the lock on the market.
However, trying to be responsible reviewers (and obviously trying to keep Australia from becoming snooty) we made a pact to try to vary our wine countries a little, and we did. Some of the bottles of wine we reviewed came from the vineyards of France, Italy, and South Africa.
But there I was in the wine store, and sitting lonely by itself was a bottle of Jacob’s Creek Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, vintage 2002 no less. No longer having to beg our parents “can we PLEASE take it home with us!??” I just slid the debit card through the little slot at the cashier station, and this little bottle was now part of our family.
However, as with all pets, we eventually had to open it and ingest what was inside, so we figured we’d share the experience with you, our very small public.
Posted by dave
I love a wine that works well in all kinds of situations. I love a wine that you pick up because of a cool label and it ends up being a great find. And I love a wine that comes with a piece of wood tied to the bottle. That last part really makes all the difference.
So we’ve been on a bit of an Italian wine binge recently. The Davinci Chianti, and the Ruffino Aziano Chianti Classico are two we’ve reviewed and really enjoyed. On a whim, we picked up a really neat looking 2002 Cantina Zaccagnini il vino “dal tralcetto” montepulciano d’Abruzzo Riserva. (Gotta love all those Italian words. Cantina means “Wine Cellar”. Our Italian is staggeringly mediocre, and we’re happy to help with the translation.) It’s called a “Red Dry Wine”, and it’s really good.
“Really good.” Yeah, ok, it’s late tonight and I’m a bit too tired to think of good metaphors and thesaurus thingies… ya know… words…
Point is, this wine is both cool in show and super tasty. I expected it to be really strong based on the initial smell, or “nose” as it were. It caught me off guard by the degree of fragrance, and I almost expected the wine to be equally as strong. That would have meant that it wouldn’t have been as universally appreciated. However, the flavor was something else all together.
It does come on a touch strong on first sip, but it almost instantly cools off. It’s certainly dry, but it’s rosy and soft and almost a touch sweet. It has a hint of a woody flavor (perhaps the reason for the twig attached to the front of the bottle) and that just adds to the understated complexity of the wine.
This is a short review – I’m otherwise engaged in enjoying this wine. You will too, if you pick up a bottle. It goes well with dinner (especially a pasta in a red cream sauce), works well with snacks (great with a sharp cheddar – or even better, a sharp Italian cheese, like a pecorino romano) or is even spectacular on its own.
And despite the accolades thus far, here’s the best part – $14 a bottle. Beat that.
Posted by dave
It’s been a while since we’ve offered up a really decent wine to those of you who – like us – appreciate a bottle that won’t require dipping into the kids’ college funds. We’ve made an effort to bring you wines that we like that are below an average of $15/bottle – many have been below $10.
We’re happy to have another to add to the list – and believe it or not, this one’s not Australian. If you follow The Bar Project, you know that we love our Australian wines, and it’s not just the cool accents or man-eating lizards. Australia has proven itself quite the vineyard indeed.
However, for this one, we’re returning to a land dear to our hearts. Italy.
This Italian wine isn’t hard to pick out as Italian. If it were an Australian wine named “Da Vinci”, we can only imagine the Italians would be pissed. But that’s not the situation, so I’m just gonna go ahead and stop talking about the Australians already.
This wine is really good. There, I’ve said it. Unfortunately, there isn’t much to say in the way of taste that’s explanatory. In a previous life, I’ve tried to emote what it was I tasted. Cherries here, berries there, a smoked salmon or something… But honestly, I’m not a wine connoisseur, so to try to be one would be wrong of me. (Please don’t read any previous posts.)
Here’s what it is I do like – it’s smooth and cool and bites back just a tiny bit. It’s not afraid of itself, and I’m not afraid of it. At $11, this is a table wine that now frequents our little condo. It’s not as full-bodied as the previously reviewed Rufino Aziano, nor as sweet as the also previously reviewed Little Penguin Shiraz. But then again, it’s not a Shiraz, so the comparison may not be fair.
However, as with all reviews we do at The Bar Project, I am currently drinking a glass of this wine as I review it – and as plain as I can put it, I plan to follow up with another, because although I have difficulty putting my finger on why it is I do like it – I really DO like it.
Perhaps I like that it’s light and doesn’t try to conquer your mouth. Perhaps I like that it’s almost cool on your tongue. Perhaps it’s the little reminder it leaves behind that it was just there – or the fact that despite its cool entry, it’s warming to the person.
Either way – go ahead out and pick up a bottle. It’s inexpensive – but that doesn’t degrade this Chianti from Italy at all. If anything, it simply makes it more accessible to those of us with limited disposable income, and for that, we thank Ernest and Julio Gallo. That’s right, the American staple and largest wine distributor is responsible for purchasing a large portion of the stock created by Alberto Antonini at Cantine Leonardo da Vinci, a wine grower’s cooperative, and bringing it to the United States (in, no doubt, an effort to add more upscale wines into it’s portfolio.)
But the mess that is the distribution chain is of little concern – the wine is effortless, and we plan on drinking more.
Posted by dave
I’m not going to give you the full background of this particular wine, since the importers of this French wine do a fine job themselves.
What I will tell you is that despite the somewhat steep price tag, this wine certainly sits in a category higher than some of the wines we’ve reviewed here before. It’s dry, strong, bold, and really really good.
Unlike some wines that are sweeter and easier to drink in quantity, this particular wine presents strong from the beginning and continues to do so long after you’ve actually swallowed it. I’m not sure how best to describe what I taste when drinking this wine, but it’s almost as if it was interred in an old scotch barrel for some time before being bottled and sent to the States. It warms you as you drink it – perhaps better during the winter than these warm summer months.
Initially, it presents strong – a word I’ve overused and abused in a few short paragraphs, but I’m not sure how else to describe it. I found myself surprised by it’s introduction – having been drinking fruitier wines for some time, I didn’t expect such a bold aroma.
The taste doesn’t do any disservice to the smell that hits you pre-sip. It almost dries your tounge as it touches it. The warmth of a good scotch presents right along with the wine, and it totally makes the flavor. I’m reminded of the smell of wood as it burns in a camp fire, the flavor of meat cooked over an open flame – this wine almost demands a hearty meal as an accompanyment, and it’s brilliant with a thick steak or other red meat.
It’s a great wine, but if you only enjoy a lighter, frutier red, this may not be for you. It’s bold, it’s striking, and I recommend it highly. However, at around $30, I recommend it for a special occasion, not a daily drinker. If this wine came down in price, it would find itself on my shelf on a consistent basis. Since it does demand a higher price, however, it won’t grace my table as often as I would like.
Posted by dave
Herein also known as “The Wine My Fiancé Picked Out”, Ruffino’s Aziano Chianti Classico is a wonderful addition to our small but growing catalog of drinks that if you haven’t yet enjoyed, you darned well should. At $11 a bottle, you really don’t have any excuse for not trying it.
I’m going to try to keep this short and sweet – there isn’t a thing to not like about this wine. Well, maybe one thing. If you, my friend, are the kind of person that enjoys a wine that kicks like a pissed off Clydesdale, this isn’t for you. But if you are like me – a person that appreciates both a hearty wine as well as one that goes down easy, then this is one for the books.
Posted by sean
Like my business partner, Dave, I will not even begin to pretend to be a wine connoisseur, but can affirm that I heartily enjoy a variety of wines, beers, and liquors and look forward to sharing some of my favorites – old and new – with you.
As unlikely as it may seem to those who may know me otherwise, I have heretofore clearly been the proverbial ‘silent’ partner on The Bar Project blog. However, I am equally excited to dive into a new world – particularly given that neither of us has any real professional experience in this area, which makes the trek all that more adventurous.
Now – on to the reason for this entry and our next wine review.
Posted by dave
Having left a newly opened bottle uncorked overnight, I, with heavy heart, did dump the oxygenated contents down the drain. Then, with renewed bounce in my step did I turn around and grab another bottle of The Little Penguin Shiraz, pop open the cork, and pour myself a hearty glass. I have been waiting to start reviews on this site at least partially in anticipation of getting to review this very wine. Friends will laugh when they see this review, having been on the receiving end of many a product pitch for this wine, as if I were a ward of the Australian wine company myself. I am not, but will try to sell you on this wine anyway, just because I like it so much.