Mini review: Marius red wine blend

18 09 2012

This 2010 French red blend with the cool label cost me just $10.

Marius, from France’s Rhone valley, is a blend of syrah and grenache.  The aroma is spicy and Read the rest of this entry »

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Francis Ford Coppola Rosso at Bertucci’s

14 05 2012

Continuing our Italian restaurant experience, here’s a 2010 red blend from California that Bertucci’s sells for $7.50 a glass / $29 a bottle. It was paired with their Eggplant Napoleone.
 
The Coppola Rosso is a blend of zinfandel (33%), syrah (26%), cabernet (25%) and petite sirah (17%). Whoa — look at those grapes.  But instead of a serious steak wine, the winery says it is intended as a lighter, sweeter red for casual dining.  And that’s what it is.  Likely to appeal to younger drinkers, for me it was a little too jammy, with vanilla and a dusty zinfandel zing.  
 
But!  Bertucci’s Michael Cropper and Chad Phillips paired it with a lovely modern caprese salad, featuring eggplant roasted in their famous brick oven, plum tomatoes and fresh mozzarella all drizzled with a balsamic glaze incorporating pesto without nuts, for those of you with allergies.  The croutons were too crunchy,  but no matter — Eggplant Napoleone rocks, and it made the Rosso shine. 

I don’t recommend the wine alone, but I do recommend this pairing.  This dish would also go very nicely with a pinot noir (Bertucci’s offers the delicious Estancia pinot, which I praised here).





Wines at Bertucci’s Italian Restaurant

7 05 2012

This kicks off a series that will review various popular wines that are sold at Bertucci’s.  These brick oven-style Italian restaurants on the east coast have a warm, modern atmosphere, open kitchen and a “dim the lights” feeling of class.   
 
Manager Chad Phillips and culinary manager Michael Cropper in Christiana, Delaware treated us to their newest dishes (excellent) and wines (very good or excellent, for the price, with one exception).  The evening was gratis, but I returned to buy each wine on its own. 

In every case, the food improved the wine experience.  In one case, the pairing caused a so-so wine to become downright enjoyable.  Read on to learn which.
 
The pairings:

  • Rodney Strong chardonnay (Sonoma CA, 2010), with Watermelon, Arugula & Feta Salad
  • Francis Ford Coppola “Rosso” (CA, 2010), with Eggplant Napoleone
  • Chateau Ste Michelle merlot (Columbia Valley WA, 2007), with Garlic & Herb Roasted Mushrooms, and Warm Assorted Olives
  • Francis Ford Coppola Bianco pinot grigio (CA, 2010), with Cod al Forno
  • J. Lohr “Seven Oaks” cabernet sauvignon (Paso Robles CA, 2009), with Piccolo Chocolate Budino




Kirkland Signature Cotes du Rhone Villages review

22 04 2012

Today we review a 2010 Cotes du Rhone from Kirkland Signature (Costco’s brand) which sells for the low price of $7.

I am a fan of the Kirkland label — many times, I have been astounded by the quality of the products carrying this simple all-capital-letters logo.  And that includes wine.

In this case, the dark purple juice that flows into your glass looks beautiful and has a nice subtle aroma of red fruits and flowers.  The taste is certainly not terrible — yes, it’s a little too sweet, and yes it’s very simple, but these things can be forgiven at $7.   What kills it for me is that it sort of tastes like Welch’s grape juice.  Just a little weird, just a little “off.”  Unfortunately, this bargain-priced Costco red is:

Not recommended.





Cincuenta Se Cumplen Cincuenta Anos Desde Que Victorino Continua Con La Saga De La Familia Eguren En Su 3d Generacion Ugarte rioja review

7 12 2011

Today we review a fine rioja from Spain that costs $15.

Spicy and energetically juicy, I must say that I really liked Cincuenta Se Cumplen Cincuenta Anos Desde Que Victorino Continua Con La Saga De La Familia Eguren En Su 3d Generacion Ugarte rioja the first time I tried it.

Although very dry, and lighter than you expect, Cincuenta Se Cumplen Cincuenta Anos Desde Que Victorino Continua Con La Saga De La Familia Eguren En Su 3d Generacion Ugarte rioja rewards your palate with bright flavors of black raspberry, rhubarb, and tobacco.

In fact I wish that my favorite steakhouse would carry it.  Don’t forget to ask your local wine merchant for a bottle of Cincuenta Se Cumplen Cincuenta Anos Desde Que Victorino Continua Con La Saga De La Familia Eguren En Su 3d Generacion Ugarte rioja, at any price under $20, because this bright, dry-yet-friendly elixir from Spain is:

Highly recommended.





Zestos especial 2007 tempranillo: ON PROBATION

26 07 2011

Folks, I reviewed this bargain $9 spanish wine from 2007, and recommended it, right here.

One problem!  I’ve just now opened another bottle, and it’s not very good.  Bitter, weak.  Verging on undrinkable.

What’s wrong?  Either I have terrible taste, and never should have recommended this wine, or — this is a bad bottle.

I will get back to you shortly.  In the meantime, what do you think?  Add a comment to let us know.  Cheers!

-Wineguider





Chateau Bois Redon bordeaux superieur review: oh, MY, GOODNESS

12 07 2011

Today we review a 2009 blend of 75% merlot, 25% cabernet sauvignon from France.  It’s $10 at Total Wine.

If you ever wonder why some people say that U.S. wines are too sweet, this is a wine for you to try.  It’s just merlot and cabernet, but it tastes NOTHING like the merlot and cabernet that most Americans are familiar with.  Smell: pure alcohol.  Taste:

Dried cherry and coffee.  Lots of dry cocoa-like tannins on the finish.  Almost bitter, yet has a soft leathery texture.  Serious.  Elegant.  Medium bodied.  Understated.  Tastes “tight” and too reserved when first opened, gets better on day 2.  This dark burgundy-red wine from Bordeaux is absolutely killer for $10.   I say give it a try, especially if you don’t drink French wine.  Maybe pop open a Washington or California merlot to go with it.  Compare and contrast.  Let us know what you think!

Chateau Bois Redon bordeaux superieur reviewRecommended.