Short notes on recent bottles we’ve tried.
Di Majo Norante Molise Ramitello 2011 ($11.99)
On the oaky side, leading with toffee and vanilla. Dark plum fruit and decent acidity. A touch of drying tannin on the finish, but overall pretty smooth. Not all that complex, but a good pizza wine and a solid buy for $12.
Cantine Rialto Rosso 2012 ($12.99)
Having already enjoyed the La Contessa and the Donna Irene blends from this producer, it’s no surprise this one was also a winner at my house. Straddling the line between new and old world, it blends caramel nuances with Umbrian rusticity. At $13 it’s a no-brainer to have around for the winter months.
Fattoria di Magliano Morellino di Scansano Heba 2012 ($13.99)
This is one the Chairman has brought back on a few occasions and it’s always been a solid pick. Tart & sour cherry fruit, good acid, but somehow also has that mellow maremma character. Food friendly.
Costavecchia Chianti Colli Senesi Riserva 2010 ($14.99)
A minimally expressive Riserva, not bad but not great. Decent midweek quaff. Fine for $15 but nothing I’ll rush to buy again.
Quintay Q Grand Réserve Pinot Noir 2012 ($16.49)
Smooth and, for the most part, seamless save for some heat on the finish. Delicate strawberry fruit, acidity, some terroir peeking through. Feels like a true cool climate PN (Chile’s Casablanca Valley), light in body but the fruit delivers atop a creamy dab. Effortless drinking and a good option if you’re bulking up for a party or wedding (since the minimum purchase quantity in PA is a case). Review by Jeff.
Le Gravillas Gigondas Les Dentelles 2012 ($18.99)
Gigondas is Chateauneuf du Pape’s lesser known little brother, and brings basically the same product at a better value. This one is rich and full-bodied, with sweet dark berry fruit, herbal and chocolate accents, and enough structure to stand up to mid-term cellaring. (Coming Soon)
Locations F-2 NV by Orin Swift ($19.99)
My dad is obsessed with these wines – the ones with the one letter on the label, F for France, I for Italy, E for Spain, etc. Probably because his “wine guy” told him they were a deal. (He’s like that.) The concept is that they’re blends of wine from all over the country. Not typically a recipe for anything unique, especially when the main grapes are usually bulk, easily found ones (Barbera, Tempranillo, etc.). This Grenache-based blend is quite tasty however, offering smooth cherry fruit, some cocoa, maybe even touches of transient funk on the nose. It’s a touch hot, and lacks real character, what the French sometimes refer to as je ne sais quoi. Still, if you can find it for under $15 (outside PA), it’s a solid cellar defender. $20, on the other hand, is pushing it.
Here are a few more reds I tried recently that were uninteresting and not worth a second glance. In other words, don’t bother:
- Sassello Morellino di Scansano 2013 ($11.99)
- Chateaux Tertre de Viaud Cote de Bourg 2011 ($11.99)
- Altadonna Chianti A 2013 ($13.99)
- Campi Valerio Sannazzaro Molise 2011 ($13.99)