Category: Wines

25 Red Wines Under $25 to Try Now!

Every year we publish our compilation our report of quality red wines we've found that are under $25.  These wines are a result of various tasting events, restaurant experiences, and sommelier suggestions we've had this year.  Some usual suspects pop up, as well as interesting bargains from under-appreciated regions such as Lirac in Southern Rhone. The Top 5 Value Wines We have identified five special wines from this group of 25 that are exceptional values and really noteworthy: Palazzo della Torre The Allegrini Family makes some seriously great wines at many price points.  This wine has always impressed us with its consistent quality and value, and it is easy to find.  Allegrini uses an innovative "ripasso" method that gives this wine a style similar to higher end Amarone wines.  Bursting with dark, dried cherries, blackberries, and hints of dates, this wine has a lasting finish bolstered with just enough tannin to make it interesting, and worthy of a few years in the cellar.  Pair with pasta, chicken, or mild sausage. Corvina, Rondinella and Sangiovese. (typically $17 to $20). Tua Rita Rosso The Tua Rita winery is located on the western side of Tuscany, near the sea.  They are world-renowned for [...]

Revisiting Sangiovese

We were really happy to see one of our favorite wine writers - Lettie Teague from Wall Street Journal - give some love to one of our favorite food wines that has somehow gone out of style:  Chianti (click HERE to see the article).  As our readers know, we have a long standing love affair with the Sangiovese grape in all its wonderful forms and expressions (take a look at some of our previous articles: Sangiovese Round One and Round Two).  It might be the most food-friendly grape on the plant, as long as you pick up the right bottle.  Ms. Teague mentioned that she couldn't recall the last time folks talked about Chianti - most likely because of all the bad stuff that had flooded the market.  We hope to reverse the trend a bit by first mentioning the wines from Ms. Teague's article, then by talking about some of our favorite Sangiovese bottles. The Chianti List Let's start with Lettie Teague's list, since there was quite a few familiar faces, all at reasonable prices: From WSJ 2/27/2016 You won't go wrong with any of these producers, especially if you can grab some older vintages.  But our top bottle [...]

Tailgate Wine Pairings

Even though there is nothing like watching football with a great brew in hand, you don’t need to have a beer-only ootball party.  But the Serious Foodies at your party may not be your average American football fan. So, let’s impress them with a nice glass of vino to go with all those great football party munchies. This article focuses on wine suggestions that would work with most foods you’ll have on hand during the big game(s). Let’s start with the starters – chips & salsa, maybe some smoked salmon, or guacamole.   We think that the whites from Campania are magical with guacamole, like Greco di Tufo or Falanghina (try Taburno).  If you want a riper wine to cut through the spice, try Grüner Veltliner from the Wachau region (Hermann Moser, for example).  You want enough alcohol to match the weight and texture of the avocado, but enough acidity to match the lime.  These wines will also work well with shellfish & seafood (crab dip, shrimp, oysters).   If you are starting with something very spice, you can always go to a semi-dry Riesling.  It might be a wine-pairing cliche at this point, but these wines are perfect with Mexican food, […]

Intriguing Wine from the Island of Sardinia

We stumbled on a very intriguing wine this week – Argiolas Costera-  and we had to immediately share it with our readers because of the high quality at an amazing value – we purchased it for $13.  We were familiar with the whites from Sardinia (mostly using the Vermentino grape), but didn’t know much about the red wines.  Now we come to find that there is more red wine produced in Sardinia than white. There are quite a few unusual native red grapes on Sardinia, such as Monica (a light, bright, berry-flavored grape), Carignano (also known as Mazuelo in Spain and Carignan in France – deep colored, very fruity grape), Bovale sardo (related to Carignano, but smaller less fruity grapes), and Cannonau (also known as Grenache).  The warm climate, and the constant air movement from Mediterranean breezes give the Cannonau grapes more concentration and more body.  It is fragrant, has good tannin to acid balance – just don’t be put off by the color.  It is not going to be the deep red you would expect from a Grenache-based wine. The Argiolas Costera for 2011 is made up of 100% Cannonau (other years, the winemaker will mix in up to […]

Red Wines of the Veneto: A Vapolicella Tasting

You might be ignoring Valpolicella wines - most folks see them as light, fruity red wines with little character or finesse, a wine that you might find in checkered table cloth, red sauce only Italian restaurants.  We wanted you to re-think Valpolicella, so the Serious Foodie decided to dispel some of these myths and misconceptions with a wine tasting event featuring reds from the Veneto. It's a pity that Valpolicella lost favor with the US market, mainly because of heavy advertising pressure from mass-produced versions (many of which are still light, fruity, and insipid).  Like other Italian wines, there has been winemaking renaissance in the region for Valpolicella, spurred by producers of the outstanding artisan Amarone wines such as Allegrini.  The Valpolicella wines are produced solely in the Veneto region, just west of Verona, in an area between foothills of the Alps and Lake Garda. The primary grapes used are Corvina (40-70%), Rondinella (20-40%) and Molinara (5-20%), but the vintner can also add up to 15% complementary varieties, which include Rossignola, Negrara, Trentina, Barbera, Sangiovese, and the recently revived Oseleta grape (almost solely due to efforts at Allegrini).  What makes these wines so interesting is the variety of flavors and [...]

Wine & Chocolate Pairings: Discover New Ways to Wow Your Valentine

It's a great time to plan for a great Valentine's Day experience.  And we're here to help to plan around two universal elixirs of love:  Wine & Chocolate. Wine & chocolate seems strange to some, but the right wine with the right chocolate is a beautiful thing - magical, in fact.  There is so much exploration to do, since there are so many interesting taste combinations to discover – nuts, fruits, types of chocolates – it really is an endless experiment.  We’ll give you some pairing tips to keep in mind, then some fun wines to discover. Tips for Successfully Pairings Wines with Chocolate Here are a few simple rules – not hard and fast, but more like guidelines: 1.  Chocolate is very complex – just like wine.  For pure chocolate, you’ll find some subtle flavors which are inherent to the region, the cocoa content, and the fat content.  It is best to do some experimenting to find the best wine and chocolate combinations for you. Try to detect some underlying flavors of the chocolate, then the wine separately.  Play with the matches.  If you have several types of chocolates, always work from light to dark. Start with a more [...]

Spring Time is for White (Wine, That Is)

[vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text] Lettie Teague did a  great service for people who love to drink Gruner Veltliner in her recent Wall Street Journal article – including the team at Serious Foodie.  It is a great Spring and Summer wine with “bright, lively acidity that pairs well with all kinds of spring food…” with “unusual flavors and aromas, which range from white pepper to citrus and herbs.”  It is also the only wine we know which you can pair with asparagus. While Gruner is one of our favorite white wines for spring food/wine pairing, we wanted to highlight four others that we love to pair with food and share with friends. [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_separator color=”grey” align=”align_center”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_text_separator title=”Gruner Veltliner” title_align=”separator_align_left” align=”align_left” color=”sandy_brown” style=”dashed”][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/4″][vc_single_image border_color=”grey” img_link_large=”” img_link_target=”_self” img_size=”thumbnail” alignment=”center” style=”vc_box_border” image=”4875″][/vc_column][vc_column width=”3/4″][vc_column_text] Ms. Teague highlighted 3 wines in her article, all under $25:  Szigeti Gruner Veltliner nonvintage Brut ($20), Loimer Langenlois Gruner Veltliner Kamptal 2014 ($18), and Malat Gruner Veltliner Kremstal 2012 ($23).  The Malat sounds particularly intriguing, “…boldly structured with a powerful acidity…”  However, we love the Hermann Moser Karmeliterber Gruner Veltliner 2013 ($19).  The Wine Advocate (91 points) says “It shows total citrus focus, linearity and precision, fringed by green pear peel […]

Avignonesi Cortona Desiderio

Avignonesi has been a winery on our radar screen for a long time.  While we have mostly focused on their Vino Nobile, we recently came across a few curious bottles at one of our local wine stores:  Grifi Toscana IGT (a blend of cabernet sauvignon and sangiovese) and  Desiderio (85% merlot, 15% cabernet sauvignon). The grapes come from one of the newer Italian appellations called Cortona.  Cortona DOC wines must contain a minimum of 85 percent of any one of several approved grape varieties: Syrah, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Sangiovese and Pinot Noir for reds, and Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc for whites. The other 15 percent can be a blend of any approved grapes, though the wines can be made entirely from a single grape variety.  This area in the southeastern corner of Tuscany (also encompassing a northwestern corner of Umbria) has an unusual micro-climate which always the grapes to ripen which giving enough cool breezes to avoid jammy fruit bombs. We opened a bottle of the 2006 Desiderio, and we were surprised by the power.  Wine Spectators notes:  “Aromas of blackberry, with hints of black olive. Medium-bodied, with fine tannins and a smoky berry aftertaste. Surprisingly forward.”  That about nails […]

Gavi – a Great Spring & Summer White Wine

[vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text] White wines from Italy are very often over-looked by the wine geeks, mostly because of the mass-produced, insipid versions of Pinot Grigio that appears on most low-end Italian restaurants.  HOWEVER…what we found over the years is that Italy produces wonderful white wines, if you are willing to experiment a bit – with many quality wines under $20 per bottle. We saw a great article by one of favorite wine writers, Lettie Teague, in the 4/11/15 issue of the Wall Street Journal.  Ms. Teague talks about her early love affair with Gavi – a popular wine from the Piedmont region.  In her words, “Gavi offered a more stylish alternative to other Italian whites such as Frascati and Orvieto, was almost as popular as Pinot Grigio (in the ’90’s) and it was just as easy to say (“Gah-vee”). But perhaps more important, it was the favorite wine of my boyfriend back then. (Love stories of wine often begin with love stories of a different kind.)” We have always loved Gavi, since our first trip to Italy in the ’80’s.  Gavi is a DOCG wine made from Cortese, which is found predominately in the province of Alessandria near the Ligurian boarder.  […]