Category:Red wine

Wine of the week: Kreydenweiss Perrières

image Rhone wine isn’t well known in this part of the country, where the most popular French wines are from Bordeaux and Burgundy. That’s too bad, because Rhone wines offer value and and quality.

The Kreydenweiss ($14), a red blend, is such a wine. It tastes like it’s more expensive, featuring nice balance between dark fruit, acidity and tannins. The fruit isn’t candied, which too often happens with wines at this price, and it’s not as heavy as some Rhone wines. This is a fine example of what can be done and should be done with this style of wine at this price.

It also has the classic French barnyard aroma, which makes many people think there is something wrong with the wine. In fact, the smell will blow off after the wine has been open for a bit. Appreciate it while it’s there.

Upgrading your wine for the holidays

image You ?re pretty confident about wine, as far as it goes. You know a good $10 or $12 bottle from a not-so-good one, and if one of your friends needs a recommendation for a decent red wine to take to someone ?s house for dinner, you can offer two or three suggestions.

But there ?s a holiday coming up, and so it seems like the right time to spend a bit more ? whether it ?s as a gift for the significant person in your life or to treat yourself. But if all you know is $10 wine, what do you do?

Consider the following:

? Find out if the $10 wine you like has a more expensive label. Bogle, one of the best $10 wineries, does a couple: The Phantom, a red blend, and a Russian Rover pinot noir, both around $17.

? Buy a less expensive bottle from a winery that makes high-end wines. Ridge and Newton are both expensive and well-regarded California names. But Ridge ?s Three Valleys, a red blend featuring zinfandel, is a steal at about $23. Newton ?s Claret, made with mostly merlot in the Bordeaux style, is another terrific $25 wine.

? Buy a nicer wine from a region that you like. New Zealand is famous for its $16 sauvignon blancs and pinot noirs. So why not try something like Cloudy Bay, whose prices are closer to $30?

? Upgrade your grocery store favorite. Most offer not only a basic line, but one or even two more at higher prices and, usually, better quality. Kendall-Jackson, for instance, sells its vintner ?s reserve wines for $12 to $18. The next step up is the grand reserve, where prices run from $20 to $35.

Wine review: Argyle Pinot Noir Nuthouse 2004

Argyle Nuthouse Pinot Noir 2004Argyle Winery’s efforts are not only well-made, but they’re almost always good values. The sparkling wine, at $25, puts many $40 French bottles to shame.

So what do we do with the $45 Nuthouse pinot? It’s certainly a quality wine, with wonderful earthy Burgundian overtones and trademark Oregon fruit. I liked it a lot. But $40? You can buy two nice bottles of $20 wine and you won’t be any worse off.

The problem is twofold: First, pinot noir is pricey because it’s not easy to make well. Save for some French vin ordinaire like Red Bicyclette. Lulu B., and French Rabbit, it’s almost impossible to find a decent bottle for less than $20. Second, wineries charge a lot because they can. Consumers are caught up in pinot’s media hype, which extends far beyond Sideways to the Wine Magazines, and they pay those prices because they think they’re supposed to. High-end pinot drinkers are some of the biggest wine snobs I’ve met.

As to the Nuthouse: If someone else is paying, enjoy it. If you’re paying, go buy two bottles of Newton Claret or Ridge Three Valleys.

Wine review: Georges Duboeuf Beaujolais Nouveau 2007

32481 The Wine Curmudgeon likes Beaujolais nouveau. It’s cheap and food friendly, which covers a lot of territory.

But, over the last four years, it has been sadly inconsistent: Crummy vintages in 2004 and 2005, a good vintage in 2006, and now this mediocre 2007 entry from the Emperor of Nouveau, Georges Deboeuf ($10).

Nouveau should smell almost like grape juice, and taste fruity and refreshing without any tannins at all — all without being sweet. This Deboeuf smells grapey enough, but it tastes thin, with very little fruitiness. It’s as if the grapes were picked too soon, before the flavors had developed.

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Thanksgiving wine suggestions

Actually, pairing wine with Thanksgiving dinner is a thankless task. There is sweet food, sweet and sour food, rich food, poultry, and whatever happens to be a tradition at that particular table.

So drink what you like. It will probably match something.

MarkWestCentralCoastPinotNo ? Pinot noir is the traditional wine, since it’s turkey-friendly. Mark West California 2006 ($15) is one of the few value pinots around, and it’s a pretty respectable effort. It’s fruity, but not overly so, with a touch of what wine types like to call rusticity. If you want to spend more, consider Orogeny Pinot Noir Green Valley 2005 ($30), full of red fruit and very easy to drink.

? Chardonnay, since it goes with almost anything. $8 will get you Baron Philippe deMacon-01 Rothschild Chardonnay 2006, which offers a fair amount of value. It’s not white Burgundy or Napa, but it’s more than sufficient. Even more value at $20 is the bright, crisp and green apple-y Maison Verget Macon-Villages 2005. It’s unoaked, which means it’s lighter than its California cousins.

image ? Sparkling, which is never out of place. Availability is limited, but I really like the Greg Norman Estates Sparkling Chardonnay/Pinot Noir ($11). It’s value bubbly the way it should be. The Zardetto Prosecco Brut ($18) is much drier than most Proseccos, and has a bit of chardonnay to give it some oomph. Surprisingly good.