Drip, drip, no drip?

The groove catches a pesky droplet.

You pour your wine, you lift the bottle gently and, splat! A dark red Rorschach blot stains the tablecloth.
Has this ever happened to you? Heck, can any of you claim this has never happened to you? I’ve even seen certified sommeliers do it in fancy restaurants, and they are supposed to know all the tricks.

Archives | Subscribe (free!) | Previous article: Open that bottle! Read article.

Campo Viejo 2014 Rioja Tempranillo ($12.99)

Campo Viejo

Dark reddish-purple, only slightly more red at the edge. Typical scents of simple Rioja, fresh Bing cherries cloaked by aromatic vanilla. Bright red-cherry fruit on the palate, shaped by a brisk mix of fresh-fruit acidity and soft tannins, with a touch of vanilla joining the fruit in a medium-long finish. Food-friendly and appealing, with rational 13% alcohol.

Find vendors and check prices for Campo Viejo Rioja Tempranillo on Wine-Searcher.com. Read article.

Bodegas Volver 2014 “Tarima” Alicante Monastrell ($12.99)

Bodegas Volver

Made from organic grapes grown on 40-year-old vines, unfiltered and unfined and aged in French oak, this is a dark, almost opaque deep-purple wine. Raspberries and blackberries show first in the aroma, woven with more subtle scents of cinnamon and roses. It’s tart and quite tannic on the palate – a characteristic of Monastrell (Mourvèdre in France), but there’s abundant black fruit, too, adding distinct currant jam as it crosses the palate, lingering with astringent tannins in the long finish. The 14.5% alcohol shows itself in a touch of heat, but the wine is big enough to carry it.

Compare prices and find vendors for Bodegas Volver “Tarima” Alicante Monastrell on Wine-Searcher.com. Read article.

Open that bottle!

Which dusty bottle shall I open?

Tomorrow is “Open That Bottle Night!” Who’s in?
Or, you may well ask, what is it?
A wine-geek tradition since 2000, Open That Bottle Night has become an annual observance since Dorothy J. Gaiter and John Brecher, the couple who wrote the Wall Street Journal‘s “Tastings” column from 1998 through 2010, came up with the idea 17 years ago.

Archives | Subscribe (free!) | Previous article: Who’s No. 1 in wine?
Read article.

Montebernardi 2014 “Fuoristrada Off Road” Rosso Toscano Sangiovese ($14.99/1 liter)

Fuoristrada "Off Road"

This certified organic wine comes in a recyclable coated red-cardboard ‘TetraPak” box roughly the size and shape of a wine bottle. It pours dark reddish-purple, shading to a clear garnet edge. The aromas bespeak Tuscan Sangiovese with fresh and ripe cherry fruit, dried cherries and subtle spice. Fresh and tart, red and black berries and zippy, food-friendly acidity and 13.5% alcohol in a palate-cleansing flavor that lingers, adding a touch of tannic astringency in the finish. If you’re prejudiced against wines that come from a box, taste this one “blind” and prepare to have your attitude adjusted. Excellent value.

Look for vendors and compare prices for Montebernardi “Fuoristrada Off Road” Rosso Toscano Sangiovese on Wine-Searcher.com.
Read article.

Il Viziato NV “The Spoiled One” Vino Rosso ($9.99)


An offbeat blend of 80 percent Sangiovese from Chianti Classico near Panzano in Tuscany with 20 percent Nero d’Avola from Sicily, this wine is made by an unusual technique: drying some of the grapes separately before introducing them back into the fermenting mix, concentrating the natural grape sugars for a more intense wine, although it still comes in at a moderate 13 percent alcohol. There is a note of dried cherries in the aroma, dancing with distinct though subtle scents of licorice and dried herbs. Full, juicy fruit flavors follow the nose, rather full body shaped up by zippy, mouth-watering acidity and astringent tannins, with tart dried fruit lingering in the finish.

Wine-Searcher.com lists only a few vendors for Il Viziato NV “The Spoiled One” Vino Rosso, but it’s worth a look if you’re near one of these shops or can have them ship to you.

However, distributor Empson (U.S.A.) offers this handy online tool to find retailers that carry their portfolio in every U.S. state. Read article.

Tenuta La Badiola 2013 “642 Il Canapone” Maremma Toscana ($18.99)

Tenuta La Badiola

An unusual six-way blend of organically farmed grapes, the Italian varieties Sangiovese and Montepulciano with the French varieties Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petit Verdot and Syrah, this is a very dark purple wine shading to a bright garnet edge. Blackberries, dried cherries and a pleasant, restrained touch of vanilla in the aroma lead into an appealing medium-bodied flavor of ripe black fruit nicely balanced with crisp, refreshing acidity, joined by palatable tannins in a very long finish. Good balance and structure carry its 14 percent alcohol with grace.

Find vendors and compare prices for Tenuta La Badiola “642 Il Canapone” Maremma Toscana on Wine-Searcher.com. Read article.