Thursday, January 22, 2009

Some moderately priced easy drinkers, with a little Spanish thrown in for good measure

Enjoyed two wines this week that were very well priced and great value.

The first was Montevina Barbera. An amador county barbera, you ask? Well yes. Actually the second barbera from California that I've tried. Renwood being the other. Both were/are exceptional representations on this varietal typically found in Italy.

The Montevina had a lot going on for a $10 bottle of wine. Black cherry aromas lead to chocolate, some tobacco-vanillan, full berry fruit on the palate. light citrus zest bookmarks both the opening and closing of this wine... very light. Great quaffing wine, could easily recommend for a bottle to share between you and your loved ones, sitting in front of a crackling fire.

The second bottle is in-hand as I write this review. From Sardon Del Duero in Northern Spain, came this lovely bottle of Rivola. Light on the tongue, splash of crisp raspberries and strawberrys on the fore palate. The Spanish earthiness is there, and the sun-ripened fruit gives a tease of heavy extracted berry flavor, but it never follows through (I mean that in the best possible way) and it leaves you with a refreshing, drinking red. A very well-rounded, well constructed bottle.

Rivola should come in around $15, but there are plenty of deals online, to be found.

Speaking of Spanish wine, I should mention my fastest growing favorite region for wine making; Priorat.

I'm loving Priorat wines, and nobody else seems to be hip to them yet. Which for you means that your store may carry a great selection that has been passed over by other wine shoppers. Prices may have gone down? Or, as in PA, you might find the state putting a few on display with it's "Chairman Select" program. 

Priorat blends are standout, in that they combine two of the greatest wine regions with masterful blending. Typically a Priorat wine will be a combination of French and Rhone varietal: cab, merlot, malbec, petite verdot, cab franc & syrah, grenache, mourvedre, carignan (in Spain: carinena) . Look for Vall Llach. I have a bottle of both their Embruix & Idus storing in my cellar. They are just great to open now, but my intuition tells me, a few years in the cellar will mellow out the tannins a little, and deliver a robust powerhouse wine. Both are $35 and up, but I've bought mine, both, at under $20 on the aforementioned "Chairman's Select". Happy hunting!

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