Tag Archives: Good Plonk

Weekly Wine – Spinelli

26 Jul

Spinelli Montepulciano D’Abruzzo Doc
2016
Italy
750ml
13% ABV
$8.45 (LCBO)

This wine has a gold circle that proclaims that it is the best wine under $10.
This is proclaimed by the Toronto Star (according to the gold circle, that is not a stick on but is printed with the label, meaning that this is definitely marketed to the Ontario consumer) – a local paper of some note that is quite dominant in Ontario.
It is a good wine. It is not the best wine under a sawbuck. There are better ones.
This one though has character and is actually quite good. It has a sharp attack due to it being a trifle acidic but this is then nicely smoothed out with a rich bouquet of plum and berry flavours.
This is one of the few wines in this category that gets better when it aerates for a bit – that I find quite interesting.
I like this wine but am not convinced that it is the best under ten bucks. I know I have tasted better ones. This is my 229th bottle of wine under 10 bucks. Although I like this wine I can’t say it is the best.
It is quite good though.

Weekly Wine – Vila Regia

19 Jul

Sogrape Vila Regia Douro
2015
Portugal
750ml
12.5% ABV
$8.30 (LCBO)

This wine comes with a cork.
This alone sets it apart – especially for those without a corkscrew.
But I have many that are stashed in and around the house – so this was not a problem nor an obstacle for me. Out popped the corked and the wine started to flow.
This is Portuguese wine – so the first impression is an earthy flavour. It is like biting into a fertile field. There is a melange of flavours – berries, apples, pears even a hint of vanilla.
This is not an idle wine that one drinks and casually forgets it. You take a sip and you instinctively look at the glass if just to see if the wine is looking back at you.
I like this wine even though I know it is not for everyone. Some will comment that the earthiness is a sign of a cheap and unrefined wine. But so what – this is a great hones wine that is a bit different.
I reviewed this wine over two years ago. It was a 2013 vintage. I liked it then and I like it now.

Weekly Wine – Candidato (again)

12 Jul

Candidato Oro Tempranillo Garnacha, Vdt Castilla
2013
Spain
750ml
13% ABV
$7.65 (LCBO)

I reviewed this wine three years ago.
Nearly to the day in fact.
A lot has happened in the past three years – the most notable is that this wine is five (5) cents cheaper.
Very little has gotten less expensive in the past three years. Yet this wine is less expensive. \

It is Spanish wine. From Spain.
A few years ago I was confused because it was so cheap and yet quite good.
Cheap it still is – even cheaper.
Taste wise – it is quite pronounced. It is dry. Acidic. Spicy – the result of tepranillo and garnacha grapes.
But I am not as enthralled by this wine now as I was back then. Is it the vintage – perhaps. But I feel that it is the essence of the wine.
This is a good wine. An interesting wine. It is a wine that is honest – it is meant to be drunk – in a field, in a café, with friends. This is not a wine with airs of pretention. It is a bit rough around the edges – but it is a good wine.
It is meant to be had and enjoyed.

 

Weekly Wine – Papa’s blended white

5 Jul

Fontana Di Papa White
2016
Italy
750ml
11% ABV
$7.60 (LCBO)

There are some blended wines that are nice.
I know this because I have tasted them.
Usually those are ones that take two good solid wine varieties and blend these wines to get the best of both worlds.
The blended wines that are not pleasant to drink usually do not state what grapes are in them – so you have to imagine that it is the dregs that are poured into a large vat and blended to come up with a barely passable concoction.
Usually the blended grape varieties are proudly displayed up front. On this wine they are hidden in the fine print in the back – why?

The wine is tart. Sharp.
Quite distinct.
The flavours are subtle – lemon, very faint. There is something else – but like a delicate seasoning on a dish, the flavours are meant to enhance and not stand out.
The grapes here are Trebbiano and Malvasia. I’ve had the former and the latter is new to me. They work well together.
A very nice wine.

 

Weekly Wine – Blanco Gato Negro

28 Jun

Gato Negro Sauvignon Blanc
2016
Chile
750ml
12% ABV
$7.95 (LCBO)

OK.
This is wine ok.
It is not remarkable, because the first sip did not sparkle or fill me with wonder.
But it was a hot day and the wine was well chilled.
So it went down nicely.
But well chilled passable white wine on a war evening is always good.
And this wine is just that – passable.
Not bad – not great.
I would buy this wine again if I was stuck for a choice but the Gato Negro brand gives me the willies.
I’ve seen it on sale in Poland, I’ve seen it in Ukraine, I’ve seen it in the US. I’ve seen it in Canada. I’ve seen it in Norway and Sweden. In Germany. Even in France.
Is this the Budweiser of wine?
How can one winery in Chili sell wine everywhere I go?
It is fantastic – that they have this reach – with wine that is OK.
It is ok when grilling out in the back.
It is ok for a picnic.
It is ok – unremarkable – but ok.

Weekly Wine – Spinelli

21 Jun

Spinelli Quartana Chardonnay Terre di Chieti
2016
Italy
750ml
12% ABV
$7.90 (LCBO)

I was expecting this wine to be a little sweet. A little fruity. A little lively.
I was also ready to be disappointed.
However…

I did not get fruity, lively or sweet when I first sipped this.
I was met with a sharp acidic taste that was masking some sort of weak fruit flavour. The wine wasn’t bad. It is sharp and crisp. A little sour but not too bad – good for the hot weather in fact.
I have to admit that these first sips were when the wine was stone cold. Colder than it should ever be. It’s not like there were chunks of ice floating in the wine but it was quite cold. That is why I could not taste the pear or the peach.
As the wine gets to a more reasonable temperature it does become better. The fruits come out and the acidity is diminished. There is a balance here.
A nice wine actually.

Weekly Wine – Bad Grigio

14 Jun

Fantini Farnese Pinot Grigio
2015
Italy
750ml
12% ABV
$9.95 (LCBO)

I have written that most Pinot Grigio wines in this price category are OK at worst.
A very few are great but most are very average.
I have thought, and probably written, that it is hard to make a bad Pinot Grigio.

And then I bought this bottle,
Truth be told I had been sampling better wines and exotic liquors from less trodden parts of Europe earlier in the evening.
But.
This wine is sour. At first and subsequent taste.
This wine is not very pleasant.
This wine could be a whole lot better.
Once the first shock of taste had passed and I settled into this wine  – my opinion had not changed.
This is the first Pinot Grigio that I do not like.
What does this bottle win? . . .  A badge of dishonour although the label sports two medals from Vienna and Lyon attesting to its quality.
Perhaps I got a bad bottle – but that has never happened to me at the LCBO – si I have to go with what I have.
Bad Pinot Grigio.