It’s Friday, YAY! Once again I’m filling you in on wines that are under $10 at your local grocery stores. Okay, to be honest, they’re MY local grocery stores – but I’m pretty sure they’re generic enough that you’ll be able to find the wines wherever you may be (at least, if you’re in the U.S.) Today I step outside of the West Coast of the United States, however, and venture abroad. But first…
To Swirl, or Not to Swirl? Lettie Teague fills you in on the art of the swirl – she’s got a video and everything! Go here for more info. Now…on to the wine!
Gabbiano Chianti Classico, 2008 Product of Italy Alcohol, 13.%% by Volume. Under $10 (according to my husband)
On the Label: “In 1124, Castello di Gabbiano was extablished in the heart of the renowned Chianti Classico region. During the Middle Ages, a courageous Italian knight, Il Cavaliere, dedicated himself to protecting our castle and vineyards. His code of honor came to embody our philosophy that the finest things in life deserve our fiercest commitment – estate vineyards, Old World traditions, and the enjoyment of robust wines. Our Gabbiano Chianti Classico has rich flavors of berry and pepper. Salute.”
My Take: I’m pretty sure I’ve reviewed Gabbiano before, but that I guess doesn’t matter. This is a lovely wine, and as advertised is rich with berry and that peppery taste I adore. We had it with parmesan mustard chicken, and it was a delightful accompaniment. It won’t rock anyone’s world, but it’s a solid player in the red wine department.
My Rating: ~ Drinkable ~
Picton Bay Marlborough Pinot Noir 2011 Product of New Zealand Alcohol 13.0% by volume; $7.99 at Trader Joe’s. (This was a screwtop bottle.)
On the Label: This wine is made from grapes grown in Marlborough and Nelson. Picton Bay Pinot Noir is fresh with delicious red fruit flavours, enticing spicy aromas and a smooth, fine texture. Drink now or cellar until 2015.
My Take: I was thrilled to find a red from New Zealand, and surprised to see it was a 2011. All the latest reds in the States have been 2010s, so I was a bit worried about drinking this obviously very young wine. As it turned out, I had nothing to worry about. The wine was smooth – young, yes, but eminently drinkable right now. I may have to put a couple bottles aside and see how they taste a year from now…except, you know. I’ll never manage to hang onto them that long!
My Rating: ~ Drinkable ~ especially at this price!
Goats in Villages Shiraz Pinotage 2008 The Goats Do Roam Wine Company, South Africa Alcohol 14% by Volume $7.99 at Trader Joe’s. (Yes, that’s a screwtop.)
On the Label: “Africa has a way of bringing out the best in people. With its magnitude and raw beauty, and the intensity of day to day living, Africa draws on one’s deepest spiritual resources. Rebecca and Gary Mink moved from the United States to the wilds of the Caprivi in Northern Namibia, where they founded the Children of Zion Village to care for children orphaned by AIDS. Their immense courage and spirit however, could not fully offset their limited financial resources, and they were soon overwhelmed by the magnitude of the problem. An urgent appeal was sent for goats – and immediately a group of young does and bucks from our Goats do Roam herd volunteered, rushing north to supply our nutritious milk and gentle company. Our caprine colleagues who stayed behind in the Western Cape have carefully selected the finest grapes from which to make this complex wine. Rich, spicy Shiraz and ripe, robust Pinotage are carefully blended to emphasize the fruit, whilst judicious oaking adds elegance and structure, befitting the noble gesture made by the Goats who roam in African Villages. Enjoy this wine with barbecued meats and full flavored dishes.”
My Take: Wow, what a story! We had it with our corned beef on St. Patty’s day; and the wine was surprisingly superb. When my hubby tasted it (without knowing its name or where it had been made), he said there was something unusual – earthy, maybe – about the wine, and he quite liked it. I did, too – and am planning on going back and getting more.
My Rating: ~ Very Drinkable ~ I mean, come on. When was the last time you consumed anything from South Africa?!!
As usual, this is just my honest opinion and depend upon my mood, the weather, and what cycle the moon is in. Your taste buds will differ.
~ Until the next time, cheers – and remember to drink responsibly! ~
My award-winning novel, Demon Soul, is available for the Kindle and the Nook! Have you read it yet? If you’ve read it, have you reviewed it on Amazon?
My Rating System: Undrinkable, Barely Drinkable, Drinkable, Very Drinkable, and the ever popular Stay away! This is MY wine, you slut!
Tasting cheap wines, so you don’t have to! I’m your guide to good wines under $10 a bottle, most of which can be found in your local grocery store.
A lot of people look horrified when I pull a bottle of red wine out of my refrigerator, so I thought I’d briefly discuss wine temperature. (Not storage – I don’t store wine. It’s better to drink now, yes?)
Centuries ago, wines were stored in cellars and served room temperature. However, you must consider the times – “room temperature” could very well be 54 degrees F. During the summer, my kitchen temperature tends to hover in the high 70’s low 80’s. So the all-thinking wine gurus have made this pronouncement: A bottle of red wine should be chilled for 20 minutes prior to serving. A bottle of white wine should be well-chilled, but taken out of the refrigerator 20 minutes prior to serving. Makes sense when they put it that way.
Anyway, I’ve got two different Chianti wines for you today – two more to come later. (I’ve discovered a broken leg and wine don’t really go together. Makes me a bit too tippy, if you understand! So my wine consumption has been scaled back. Sorry!)
D’Aquino Chianti Product of Italy Bottled by Vltra-Firenze-Italy 12.5% Alcohol by volume $6.99 at Vons
The label was uninformative, just the way I like ’em. The bottle is straw-wrapped – what you expect from an Italian wine. It remains one of those feel-good bottles wrapped up in not only straw, but memories of young love. But enough about the bottle. What about the wine?
The epitome of bland. If you want a red wine but don’t want to have to think too much about it, don’t want it big and bold and in your face, then this is your wine. It’s quiet. Inexpensive. A good bottle for beginning wine drinkers. An easy bottle for a picnic.
We’ve had it a couple of times now, once with chicken, once with fish. See? It goes with just about everything. Chianti isn’t just for Italian food any more. And…that’s about all I can say about this wine.
My Rating: ~Drinkable~ but kind of boring. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!
Castello di Gabbiano Chianti 2009 Product of Italy Denominazione de Origine Controllata e Garantita 12.5% Alcohol by volume Under $9 at Vons
On the Label: “The 12th Century Castello di Gabbiano Estate is located in the heart of renowned Chianti Classico region. The Gabbiano Knight, or Cavaliere, protected the Estate and embodies the tradition of winemaking excellence. Today, the Cavaliere vividly symbolizes the robust charm and tradition of the Chianti region, which has been recognized through the centuries as the birthplace of fabulous wine and cuisine. Gabbiano Chianti has invigorating flavors of cherry and spice, and complements a wide variety of cuisine, including pasta dishes, grilled meats and pizza.”
This wine is more of what I think of when I think Chianti. Bigger, but not off-putting, with nice fruit on the tongue. It adds to the meal rather than merely complements it. It’ll stand up to the more robust dishes of autumn and winter, but goes perfectly well with pizza (which is how we had it). If you’re looking for a nice Chianti, Gabbiano has several different ones in varying price ranges to fit your purse or your gift-giving needs. This is the least expensive, and I know it was on special for around $7 but I don’t have my receipt with me, darn it. Usually runs $9.99.
My Rating: ~Very Drinkable~
Regarding Hannibal; I haven’t seen Silence of the Lambs, but I’ve heard way too many impersonations of Hannibal talking about “a nice Chianti”. Privately, I suspect that movie caused more than one person to avoid the wine for several months – if not years – afterwards. I don’t know why I’ve avoided it, but it was past time to search it out again. Two more Chiantis coming your way in a few weeks.
As usual, this is all my opinion. Wine ratings depend on the phase of the moon, what kind of mood the cat is in, and which stringed instrument the hubby is playing as I type. Your taste buds will vary.
~ Thanks for dropping by, and remember – Drink Responsibly! ~