Tag Archives: Italy

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.

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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 – 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.

Weekly Wine – Dragani

10 May

Dragani Montepulciano D’Abruzzo Doc
2015
Italy
750ml
12.5% ABV
$7.95 (LCBO)

I think I reviewed this wine last year. But it was a 2013 vintage and it cost a whopping 20 cents more.
Things don’t usually get cheaper – do they?
Imported wine usually does not get cheaper as the years roll by – does it?
Well this one, if it is the same and I think it is, did get cheaper – less expensive – more affordable.
I liked the 2013 vintage so is the 2015 up to snuff?
The short answer is yes. The longer answer is yes, indeed.
This is a very nicely balanced wine. There are no off flavours here just some nice indescribable fruit flavours – you get a bit of grape and cherry but you need to concentrate to pull these flavours out. It is quite pleasant and has a nice medium body that is perfectly dry.
At under eight bucks this is a fantastic value.

 

 

Weekly Wine – Donini

26 Apr

Donini Merlot
2015
Italy
1,000ml
12% ABV
$9.95 (LCBO)

This is a big bottle of average merlot.
That’s about it – I’ve been sitting here trying to come up with something smart to write.
The colour is a nice deep red – that’s nice.
It is dry and has quite a bit of acidity which is a little off putting and signals that this is wine comes from the bottom shelf in the store. The plum flavours are unique here but hat alone does not make this a go to wine.
It is better than many wines you do get at banquets, weddings and these type of events. The fact that it comes in a one litre size is also a bonus for the table.
It’s just is a big bottle of average merlot and in some cases that is exactly what you need.

Note: I bought this wine a while ago and since I drank it and reviewed it, the price of this wine has shot up by 15 cents to an incredible $10.10. Just outside my limit but it is here because I bought it back then when it was cheaper. It is still a good value wine though.

Weekly Wine – Centurio

5 Apr

Centurio Velletri DOP
2015
Italy
750ml
12% ABV
$7.90 (LCBO)

This is actually not a bad wine. I drank the 2014 vintage but never got around to writing a review. It kinda got away from me.
The wine is dry and a bit tart – there be acidity in this fermented grape juice. But it is not wholly unpleasant. There is no distinct flavouring of sulphites as there are in some other wines in this economic region.
It does however suffer from a flat characterless flavouring. There is a hint of cherry – but you have to search for it. It has an overall flavour of an inexpensive wine – a good inexpensive wine but the kind you take to a picnic or a bush party – not one you bring out to high-falutin’ hosts, or to family.
As I said at the outset – this is not a bad wine and I like it. It is honest and unpretentious – if a bit unrefined.