Reviews of wines that don ?t need their own post, but are worth noting for one reason or another. Look for it on the final Friday of each month. Again this month, in honor of record-setting temperatures across Dallas, heat wave wines:
? Charles Shaw Sauvignon Blanc 2009 ($3, purchased): What happens when $3 wine sits in a warehouse too long. Is there so much Two-buck Chuck left that Trader Joe's is still selling the previous vintage? Oily, but not in a good way, without much fruit and a bitter finish.
? Pacific Rim Sweet Riesling 2010 ($10, sample): A touch of petrol on the nose, and though it's sweet (just 8 1/2 percent alcohol), it has almost enough acid to balance the sweetness. In this, it's sweet enough to appeal to people who want sweet wine, but well-made enough for the rest of us.
? Crios Rose of Malbec 2010 ($12, purchased): Flabby and dull, without much fruit or acid and very disappointing. A rose that I actually didn't want to drink. Crios used to make much better wine.
The Wine Curmudgeon used to eat at a Dallas restaurant where the wine list was, to put it politely, pretty sad. This is not uncommon, of course, since too many restaurant owners tend see wine as an aggravation and not a way to please customers (and yes, I know I promised to write something about this, and it’s still on the agenda).
It was frustrating that the wine list had very little anyone would want to drink, since I liked the food and the prices were reasonable. Fortunately, the Pedroncelli rose was on the list, and I drank a lot of it. Like almost every time I ate at the restaurant.
And why not? The rose ($10, purchased) paired with the food that I ordered and it was cheap, especially for restaurant wine. Best yet, the wine was — and still is — well made, with some cranberry and currant fruit, a bit of juiciness in the middle, and even some heft. This is not a light rose, but one with body, and it’s almost as if there are tannins lurking in the back to remind you this is a dry wine and not that pinkish, sweet stuff. Pedroncelli is a fourth-generation California winemaker, and the family takes great care with what it does — quality wine at good prices. The chardonnay is worth trying, too.
Chill this (especially this summer) and drink it on its own or with any summer food — burgers and barbecued chicken come to mind. And be glad that one long ago restaurant owner had the good sense to have one quality wine on his list.
Why has the Wine Curmudgeon been writing so many reviews of wines lately that are difficult to find? After all, one of my reasons for being is that I don't write about wines that aren't generally available. But it's not my fault. Honest. Blame the the three-tier system, because each of the wines that I reviewed should be generally available.
That includes the Kinky Pink ($12, sample). It was going to be a wine of the week, because it's that well done. But the wine isn't available in the Dallas area (and no, special orders from one retailer don't count), and a wine can't be a wine of the week if it's not for sale in the ninth-largest city in the country.
But it's worth writing about, because the Kinky Pink manages to do something that few California roses do — it's dry, it's affordable, and the packaging will get the attention of people who don't normally buy rose. Look for a bit of cranberry fruit, no off flavors, and not a hint of sweetness. It's made with pinot noir, and bears a strong resemblance to the way the Toad Hollow rose has traditionally tasted.
Don't relegate this to summer wine, because it would work all year round with lighter red wine food and most white wine foods that don't have a cream sauce. And it's too bad that it's not for sale here; I'd buy some.
Reviews of wines that don ?t need their own post, but are worth noting for one reason or another. Look for it on the final Friday of each month. This month, a couple of roses to close out rose week.
? Mo t & Chandon Grand Vintage Brut Ros 2002 ($80, sample): Classic in style, with lots of acid and fantastic bubbles. Could probably age for a couple of years more to give the fruit a chance to show. A fine gift for someone who appreciates Champagne.
? El Coto Rioja Rosado 2010 ($10, sample): Much more New World than Spanish in style, with lots more fruit (strawberry) than a Spanish rose would have. Having said that, it's still dry and a fine, simple, fresh rose for summer.
? Mart n C dax Albari o 2009 ($15, sample): Spanish white had lemon fruit and was a little fresher than usual, which was welcome. But it's still $2 or $3 more than similar wines.
? Cantina Tollo Pecorino 2009 ($16, purchased): This white was bright and Italian, which means not that much fruit (pears?), balanced acid, and long mineral finish. Highly recommended.
? French gulping down rose: The French, who have cut wine consumption by more than 20 percent over the past decade, like rose more than ever before. Journee-Vincole reports that 1 out of 4 bottles of wine sold in France is rose, up from 1 in 10 bottles in 1990. Apparently, the French see rose as a lighter and healthier alternative to red wine, and it appeals to the younger audience that doesn't drink as much wine as their parents or grandparents.
? Bernie Madoff's wine collection: The serial swindler liked wine, but wasn't very discriminating. That attitude didn't help the federal officials who are selling Madoff's assets to re-pay his victims. They raised just $41,000 when they auctioned Madoff's wine. How pitiful is that? I've probably got a couple of thousand dollars worth of wine in the house, and I never swindled billions from anyone.
I can hear the complaining now: "Not another rose, Wine Curmudgeon. Aren't you tired of them yet?"
Not at all. I've never understood the reluctance for rose among so many wine drinkers (and sparkling wine too, for that matter). It's cheap and it's food friendly. And, best of all, it's cheap. Some of the hesitation, certainly, comes from the wine drinker's reluctance to be caught drinking pink wine, since they are terrified this will bring stares and giggles from the wine snobs. Fortunately, I don't care about stuff like that. And, with Thanksgiving a couple of weeks away, roses like the Maremma are the kinds of wine that more people should consider.
So what about the Maremma ($11, purchased)? It's Italian, a blend of sangivoese and cabernet sauvignon from Tuscany. Look for pleasant tart cherry and cranberry fruit, but nothing too extreme, and a bit of a mineral finish. In this, it's a very old fashioned kind of rose — dry and unassuming. I tasted it, put the glass down, and wasn't sure if I liked it. But the next thing I knew, the bottle was mostly empty and I was thinking about how pleasant it had been. Drink this chilled, but pair it with food. Hamburgers would be good, and so would many chicken dishes.
Reviews of wines that don't need their own post, but are worth noting for one reason or another. Look for it on the final Friday of each month.
? Michel Torino Malbec Ros 2009 ($12, sample): Surprisingly disappointing, given how well-made so many Argentine wines are at this price. There's nothing especially wrong with it; rather, it doesn't deliver anything that most $8 or $10 roses don't.
? Grgich Hills Estate Grown Merlot 2006 ($42, sample): The kind of red wine that helped California establish its reputation as one of the world's great wine regions — and, best yet, it's not overpriced. Holiday gift? It's still young, with cherry fruit in the middle, but a mushroomy nose and lots of finish. Should improve with age.
? Domaine de Carobelle Gigondas 2008 ($20, purchased): A terrific value at $15 and an excellent example of the Rhone's Gigondas region, with dark fruit and pepper. But the weak dollar (or a greedy retailer?) has done this red wine in, given that one can buy really nice wine for $20.
? Le Jaja de Jau 2007 ($11, purchased): This red is New World-style wine wine in Old World clothing, with a lot of fruit and not much subtlety. It's not bad, just not what it was when it was one of the world's great cheap wines (and it's also twice the price).