Thank you so much for the 2009 Neprica ($12, sample). It's a different wine than past vintages -- a little darker, a little earthier and a little more tannic. This is not to say that it still isn't one of the best values in cheap red wine that the Wine Curmudgeon has found. It is, and it shouts, "I'm an Italian wine, damn it, and don't you ever forget it." Which we don't hear enough of these days, unfortunately, in the quest to dumb down wines for the so-called American palate.
The 2009 is just different, and needs food more than some of the other vintages did. In fact, I kept thinking about sausages and tomato sauce as I drank it. With garlic bread and a green salad with a tart, garlicky dressing. And those differences are a treat in a wine at that this price. After all, how much $10 wine tastes numbingly the same, year after year after year?
Sadly, though, I have to tell you that the Neprica will soon lose its place as the blog's favorite wine. I'm not happy about this, because our relationship goes back to the blog's earliest days. But the numbers are the numbers, and as the blog has gained in popularity, the Neprica has lost support. Even, shudder, to wines with cute labels. No doubt this is because of the distribution problems that we have struggled with in the past.
But whatever happens, I want you to know that I still care. I'll always review the wine, and it will always have a place on the blog. Don't tell anyone, but I can be a sentimental kind of guy.
The Wine Curmudgeon