Tag: bargain wine

The 20 under $20 Summer Collection 2013 – White Wine

The summer months are for grillin’ and chillin’, but it’s also for more casual and lighter dining – salads, tapas, and fish make up a lot of our summertime menus.  Our drinks also tend to be lighter and more casual.  We have plenty of white wines, all under $20, in the chiller. Here’s our go-to list for this summer – we have tasted all of these wines, and most should be easy to get at your local store, or on line: Winery Vintage   Wine Region Street Price  Country   Varietal San Benedatto 2011 Lugana Veneto/Lombardy $15.00 Italy Trebbiano Antonio Sanguineti 2011 Vermentino Tuscany $13.00 Italy Vermentino Taburno 2011 Falanghina Campania $17.00 Italy Falanghina De Falco Vini 2010 Falanghina Beneventano Campania $14.00 Italy Falanghina Dog Point 2011 Sauvignon Blanc  Marlborough $17.00 NZ Sauvignon Blanc Dashwood 2011 Sauvignon Blanc  Marlborough $18.00 NZ Sauvignon Blanc Laurent Kraft 2010 Vouvray  Loire Valley $18.00 France Chenin Blanc Domaine D’Orfeuilles 2010 Vouvray  Loire Valley $19.00 France Chenin Blanc HERMANN MOSER 2010 Grüner Veltliner Qualitätswein Kremstal Karmeliterberg Wachau $15.00 Austria Grüner Veltliner Pewsey Vale 2011 Reisling Eden Valley $18.00 Australia Reisling Alvarez de Toledo 2011 Bierzo Godello Bierzo $11.00 Spain Godello ROBERTO ANSELMI 2010 Veneto White […]

Lugana – A Beautiful Wine from a Beautiful Region

We happened on this wine at our favorite Italian trattoria in Sarasota – Cafe Epicurean – when we asked for a white wine that would work with a large variety of flavors coming to our table.  The waiter brought us Lugana from San Benedetto (2011), and we loved it.  The price was modest for any restaurant ($28), so we set out to find some for our selves.  We found a few bottles at the Total Wine at $15. Lugana is not an area we knew – it sits on the border between Lombardy and the Veneto on the south end of Lake Garda, part of the fertile Po Valley plain which is just a stones throw to Northern Italy’s lake country and the glacial foothills of the Alps.  The major grape of this region is Trebbiano – which is not a very well regarded varietal in Italy.  Trebbiano is mostly used to add to other white grapes such as Garganega.  However, when cultivated properly, and when not over-produced, this grape can easily be used to make some exciting wines. What makes Lugana so special is its food-friendly quality – it worked well with crisp calamari, then somehow matched with a […]

Falanghina – Hard to Pronounce, Great to Drink

While wondering around one of the local wine stores a number of years ago, we stumbled on a white Italian wine with an unusual name in an unusual bottle from a producer in the Campania region called Taburno.  For a price of $17, it was worth a try.  Since that time, it is one of our favorite Italian white wine, especially for the summer months. The wine has gained in popularity over the last several years, as more and more people experience the unique characteristics of Falanghina, and many of us wine geeks write about it. This grape grows well in the southern Italian regions of Basilicata and Campania.  A great description of the Falanghina grape and its history can be found on Viviwine.com. They note that Falanghina was almost lost forever during a phylloxera plague, but was brought back to life by the Martusciello family in the 70’s. The wines from Basilicata tend to have riper flavors, and are more full-bodied than the Campania versions.  The Campania versions tend to be more acidic, and have a refined structure.  It is typically a medium to full bodied wine, having lots of aroma of honeysuckle, stone fruits, honey, but with some […]

Roero Arneis

We are always trying wines, white or red, that will match well with lighter meals of salad and fresh fish.  We have several “go-to” wines from Italy, including Arneis, a white Italian grape from Piedmont, Italy. There are a number of growing regions for this special grape, most commonly found in the hills of the Roero, northwest of Alba, where it is part of the white Denominazione di origine controllata (DOC) wines of Roero. We’ve also had wines from Langhe made from Arneis, which are also delightful. Arneis means little rascal in the local Piedmontese dialect, because it is indeed a problem child to cultivate.  It’s not so surprising to find that there are only a few handfuls of dedicated growers and producers of Arneis, but they are generally worthy of finding.  The Arneis wines are crisp and light in color, but with a full body.  The nose is typically floral with hints of mineral and lemon or lime. The taste is pronounced pear and apricot, sometimes with hints of melon, particularly cantaloupe and honeydew. We’ve listed the Arneis wines as great bargain whites, with most coming under $20, but there are a few which range a bit higher.  Here […]

Rosso di Spicca – The Chateauneuf de Pape of Italy

We start this series of 20 under $20 with one of the best, most alluring, and maybe the most obscure wines of Italy.  Rosso di Spicca (Pronounced Row-So dee Spee-ka) is a Ovietano Rosso – a red wine coming from the Ovieto region of Umbria in central Italy.  Many people know the white wines from Ovieto, and there are many good, and a few great, Ovieto white wines.  The vast majority of the Ovieto white wines are under $20, so you will see a blog about these very soon. But most folks, even my go-to Italian wine merchant (Will at www.italianwinemerchants.com/) were a bit stumped by these hidden gem.  We first came across this wonder in the wine store attached to our favorite Italian market in Florida (Mazzaro‘s in St. Petersburg – as for Jeff). We were looking for an interesting red wine that would match well with an array of food flavors – and Jeff from Mazzaro’s said this was the best.  He was right. The Ovietano Rosso is a relatively new designation, being recognized as a DOC in 1998.  We coined it as the Chateauneuf de Pape of Italy because it is typically made from a blend of […]

20 under $20 – Who Doesn't Like a Bargain

Cheap doesn’t always mean bad – but you’ve got to be careful.  We’ve unfortunately been stuck with bad cheap wine, mostly at restaurants (that we no longer frequent).  We’ve had some bad expensive wine (mostly from folks who don’t know how to store wine properly). We’re here to help sort out the good, the bad, and the down-right ugly from the best. This series was spurred on by our two grown kids, who now like to drink good wine from time to time.  They wanted a selection to fit their budget, but still impress their friends and significant others.  The DinnerDoctor and MrSeriousFoodie have come to the rescue with wines from all over the world that are bound to fit your tastes and pocket book. Be warned, though…..Many of the wines we find come are limited production, and might be hard to find.  We’ll have some suggestions, but you might be doing some web browsing to get the best of the best.  It will be worth the effort. Coming in a few weeks will be our lists, which will be updated every quarter, providing simple access to our favorite great bargain wines. Salute!

The Italian White Wine Series: The Vermentino Grape

  This is the first in our series, discussing some very interesting white wines from indigenous Italian grapes.  We are always on the look-out for serious producers who focus on quality, willing to spend time in the vineyard to control flavor, and willing to use more labor intensive fermentation techniques to make a final product which brings out the best in their production.  The best of these wines will sing along side of food, especially those foods from the same regions. Vermentino is a late-ripening white grape variety, and is the primary grape for white wine  in Sardinia, and to some extent in Corsica, in Piedmont under the name Favorita, and in increasing amounts in the Tuscany region.  Vermentino also shows up in wines from other regions, such as Colle Solato from Umbria (we’ll review this wine in one of our next postings). The  Vermentino wine which often gets the most attention is the DOCG Vermentino di Gallura which is produced in the province of Olbia-Tempio, in the north of Sardinia.  It’s a good wine with mildly-flavored seafood, but it is difficult to drink alone or with other stronger flavors.  A classic Vermentino from Sardinia is straw colored (sometimes slightly green), […]

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