Wednesday, January 11, 2012

One Liter Bottles are a Deal

We love the one liter bottles, they are a deal. Here is a list of several great things about them.

1. More wine, more fun.

2. As they frequently come with a screw cap or bottle cap, there's a refreshing casual attitude and lack of pretense. Most producers don't put their more "serious" wines in this format, just good, drinkable, everyday quality stuff.

3. The math is simple, you get 25% more wine than a standard bottle so if, for instance, you are buying the Mille Sauvignon Blanc at $12.99, that's the same as paying $9.75 for a750ml bottle.

4. We have a good and interesting selection of wines in 1L. Available for sale and consumption are fantastic lesser known grape varieties like torrontes, dornfelder, zweigelt and teroldego!

5. Here's a list of some available items in the 1L format:

Mille Sauvignon Blanc $12.99
Loca Linda Torrontes $17.99
Martinshof Sepp Gruner Veltliner $14.99
Mille Bardolino $13.99
Endrizzi Teroldego $16.99
Gaspare Vinci Nero D'Avola $16.99
Villa Travignoli Chianti Rufina $16.99
Schloss Muhlenhof Dornfelder 2010 $12.99
Berger Zweigelt $15.99



Tuesday, January 3, 2012

A Love of the Rhône

I must confess a personal love of Rhône wines. Some of the first wines I got into drinking were Côtes-du-Rhône. I drank them mostly because there were good and solid and I could afford them. They've been in my rotation ever since. I just love the generosity without pretension that the wines have, the full, ripe flavors combined with an earthy, peppery quality that makes for totally enjoyable consumption.

Another thing that I love about these wines is that you find just about the best quality/price ratio on the planet. What I'm talking about is that there are delicious and serious wines to be had for under $20! No other region in the world can lay claim to so many interesting wines of quality in that range. Rhône wines are bargains and they can make a lot of mass produced wines seem overpriced and one-dimensional. Furthermore, if you go up to $30 or $40, you can find wines equal to those from other regions costing twice that price.

For this article I'm referring to red wines that are from what is called the southern
Rhône. As for grape varieties, grenache dominates the blend with syrah, mourvedre, cinsault, and carignan also playing a role. The categorization is pretty easy. It goes like this. Basic wines from anywhere in the area are called simply Côtes-du-Rhône, they have to be made from at least 40% grenache. The next step up in quality is labelled as Côtes-du-Rhône-Villages and their grenache component has to be at least 50%. If there is a village name added to that moniker (i.e. "Cairanne Côtes-du-Rhône-Villages") then you're in the next tier, less than 20 villages are permitted to do so. The top of the pyramid are the Rhône Crus (or "growths") and they have their own A.O.C. which means that only the name of the village appears on the label. The notable ones for red wine here in the southern Rhône are Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Gigondas, Vacqueryas, Beaumes de Venise, and Vinsobres.

Although you can find exceptions, these wines are full bodied with loads of personality and flavor. The best wines have power and opulence while also showing some refinement along with a silky elegance. They are great wines for hearty stews and braises, and grilled or roasted meats. The wines are nicely food flexible and I find them wonderful partners with Middle Eastern cuisine. In fact one of my favorite combinations in the Terrace is a leg of lamb or lamb shawarma platter from Bedawi Cafe or Shawarma Flame House and a hearty glass of Côtes-du-Rhône.

Try it! This is a great region to explore