Tag Archives: $10

Wine of the week: Fattoria La Valentina Cerasuolo 2010

The wine of the week, which usually posts on Wednesday, runs today because of the July 4 holiday. The blog's schedule will return to normal next week.

Fattoria La Valentina Cerasuolo The Wine Curmudgeon is criticized regularly because I have standards. Just because a wine is cheap does not mean it doesn't have to be well made and varietally correct. Or, as my pal Tim McNally put it the other day: "There are cheap wines, and they have a place. Then there are wines that are made cheaply, and they don't have a place at all."

The La Valentina ($7, purchased) is firmly and unequivically one of the former. In a perfect world, whenever someone sends me a tart email or leaves a snide comment on the blog about my insistence that a California appellation, cute label and too much fruit does not make a quality wine, I would pour them a glass of this.

This is a surprisingly complex rose made from the montepulciano grape in the Abruzzi region, east of Rome (and not to be confused with the Montepulciano region of Tuscany, home to many high-priced wines). It's not just refreshing, but offers some zip and crispness. Look for strawberry fruit and even a bit of citrus finish.

It's a perfect porch wine, and will go with almost anything you can think of for a July 4 picnic. Highly recommended, and candidate for the 2013 $10 Hall of Fame.

More about Fourth of July wine:
? Fourth of July wine 2012 
? Wine of the week: Louis Tete Beaujolais-Villages 2010
? Wine of the week: Luc Pirlet Pinot Noir Barriques Reserve 2010

Wine of the week: Luc Pirlet Pinot Noir Barriques Reserve 2010

Luc Pirlet pinot noirThe Wine Curmudgeon's winning streak with cheap pinot noir from the Languedoc region of France continues. First, there was the Tortoise Creek, and now there is the Luc Pirlet ($10, purchased). Who'd have thought this was possible, given the region's problems with pinot noir?

Frankly, this was much, much better than I expected (being the curmudgeon that I am). It has moderate black fruit, plus some pepper and earthiness. What's missing is what I expected to find — that New World kind of fruitiness that makes cheap pinot taste like it could have been made anywhere in the world. But this is 100 percent pinot noir, so the flabby fruit that comes from adding syrah or grenache is missing.

It's not quite as well done as the Tortoise Creek, but it's still a stunningly well-made $10 bottle of pinot noir — let alone from a region where pinot has such a sorry history. This is a candidate for the $10 Hall of Fame, and yes, Mom, would appreciate it over the weekend. Drink this on its own, or with burgers, barbecue or meatloaf. Who knew pinot, normally so expensive and often overpriced, could turn into a midweek dinner kind of wine?