Category:Red wine

Wine review: Masi Campofiorin 2005

image Italy, being the most complicated wine region in the world, really doesn ?t get a fair shake in the U.S. There are so many wines, and they are made with such odd grapes, that most of us opt for what ?s easy ?- Chianti and sangiovese blends, poorly-made pinot grigio, and the odd Barolo or Montepulciano.

So, when the Wine Curmudgeon gets a chance to taste something off the beaten path, he takes it. And when the wine is well done and not especially expensive, like the Masi (about $15, though availability may be limited), it ?s a treat. It also helps that most of Masi ?s other wines are, four, five and even 10 times more expensive.

This red wine is a blend, made mostly with a Veronese grape called corvina, grown almost nowhere else. It ?s partially dried, somewhat like a raisin, before crushing. This gives the wine a darker, deeper flavor, though it isn ?t particularly fruity. Serve it with red sauce, as well as roast meat, including chicken. It would also make a terrific chicken cacciatore.

Wine of the week: Colonia las Liebres 2007

image Argentina is best known for malbec, which it has turned into the country ?s national grape. Wine drinkers associate malbec with Argentina in the same way that people associate shiraz with Australia. But that doesn ?t mean the country ?s winemakers don ?t produce other interesting wines.

The las Liebres (about $10) is made with an Italian variety called bonardo (by Italians in Argentina, apparently), and it ?s worth a taste. The wine is fruity and ripe, with lots of blackberry, very little in the way of tannins, and no oak. It ?s a heftier, darker version of Beaujolais nouveau. Drink this with with any tomato-based Italian dish, grilled sausages or barbecue.

Wine review: Bonny Doon Bien Nacido Syrah 2005

image This is an intriguing, almost quirky wine that ?s difficult to describe. It doesn ?t much taste like a California syrah, because it ?s not nearly as ripe or jammy as most. It doesn ?t taste like a French syrah, because it ?s too fruity. And it certainly doesn ?t taste like an Australian shiraz, because it ?s too subtle. Plus, it ?s $40, and what is the Wine Curmudgeon doing reviewing a $40 wine?

Mostly because it ?s made by Randall Grahm, and he almost always gets the benefit of the doubt. So here ?s what I suggest. Buy it as a holiday gift and put it away for two or three years. Seriously. Come back to it in 2011 or so, serve it with steak frites, and marvel at how unique, unusual and well made it is. If you have to drink it now, decant it for at least 30 minutes before serving, and have it with food. If you drink it by itself, you ?ll wonder what I could possibly be going on about.

Texas, French wines in a blind tasting

The Wine Curmudgeon likes blind tastings a lot, and it ?s not because I always get them right. It ?s because they are a humbling, necessary experience, something to remind me that I don ?t know nearly enough about wine.

Which brings us to last week ?s Texas-Beaujolais blind tasting, where I correctly identified three of the six wines. And I was happy to do that well.

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Wine of the week: Sunset Winery Moon Glow Merlot 2004

imageBruce and Birgit Anderson run Sunset Winery out of what is more or less a house in suburban Fort Worth, so the idea that their 2004 Moon Glow Merlot can win an award seems kind of fantastic. Burleson is not exactly Napa.

Nevertheless, the wine tells the story. The Moon Glow (about $20, available from the winery) won a bronze medal at the prestigious Dallas Morning News competition earlier this year. It ?s a warm, rich wine that is isn ?t as big or as jammy as most California merlots. Plus, it doesn ?t have any of the excess acid that characterizes so many poorly-made Texas merlots and cabernet sauvignons. Pair it with red meat dishes, and especially lamb.

I ?m not necessarily sold on merlot as a grape that needs to be grown in Texas. But the Andersons and grower Neal Newsom, who supplied the grapes, show what is possible.

Wine review: Le Coq Rouge 2006

image This is the red wine bookend to Sacha Lachine ?s La Poule Blanche ? a blend of syrah, cabernet sauvignon, merlot and grenache, It, too, is a fine value, though I liked the cleaner, crisper lines of the white a little more than I did the red.

The Le Coq Rouge (about $12) is fruity, more Spanish than French (probably from the grenache). And it ?s much easier to drink than more tannic wines from Australia and California. Drink it with barbecue, meatloaf and and just about any mid-week red wine meal you can think of.

Three Australian winemakers, part II

This is the second of two parts about selected Australian wine and winemakers. The first part is here.

In one respect, Rosemount, Robert Oatley Vineyards, and Jacob ?s Creek/Orlando are completely different companies. The first is part of a huge multi-national, the second was formed not to be a huge multi-national, and the third is the high-end label for a huge multi-national.

But what they have in common is a willingness to make something other than shiraz that blasts away at your senses ? and they aren ?t shy about saying that. That ?s a most welcome development.

Here ?s a sample of some of their most interesting wines:

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