My friend Kevin Keith, blogger at Under the Grape Tree and head wine buyer at Liquor Direct in Northern Kentucky, has invited me to present the weekly wine tasting at Liquor Direct this Friday and Saturday, May 15 & 16. It’s really pretty casual, not a formal presentation or anything. Kevin asked me to pick the wines and I’ll be on-hand to talk about the wines you’re sampling. I did this one last fall and it was fun to meet some of the local readers of this blog.
Times and locations:
- Friday 4-8PM @ Fort Thomas, Liquor Direct
- Saturday 2-6PM @ Covington, KY Liquor Direct
Since there are 2 locations I can’t be in both places at once. Jonathan Seeds, another Cincinnati-area wine blogger, will be at the location opposite me at each of those times with his own theme. You can check out his blog too at Best Drink Ever.
The theme I picked for this tasting is European Red Wines for Under $20. Unless anything changes before then there will be a couple wines from Spain, a couple from Italy and one from France. And because I like to constantly try new wines myself, I picked a few new ones for this along with a couple favorites. Most of the wines we’ll be tasting are ones that I haven’t even posted an official review about. And so, I’ll give you the quick assessment. Please note that the prices are just from my notes the last time I bought these wines. I don’t work for Liquor Direct and can’t guarantee the prices. They usually have special prices at tasting also, so you’ll probably do better than what I have listed here. Here’s what we’re planning:
Villa Brondello Primitivo 2007
This is an Italian wine and if you’re not familiar with Primitivo, well it’s the same grape you may know as Zinfandel. That said, it is stylistically different from what you probably think of as Zin. The nose has a dusty nature to it. I would describe the nose on this one as cherry, dusty tomato, sage and coffee. The palate is much softer than California Zinfandel. It’s full of rich tannins, dark cherry, blackberry, oak and cocoa. It is not at all jammy. It’s well balanced and very approachable. To be honest, it’s slightly over-oaked in my opinion, but it’s still good.
Mano a Mano Tempranillo 2006
Now we jump over to Spain for a little Tempranillo. This is a tasty wine and quite a bargain. Blackberry, salami, black pepper and tea on the nose. The palate has big blackberry flavors followed by tea on the mid-palate and finish. It’s not very complex, but it’s still a yummy Tempranillo.
Tres Picos Garnacha
Since we’re enjoying Spain, let’s stay there for a minute to enjoy some Tres Picos Garnacha. To be honest, I don’t even have formal tasting notes on this wine in my database (yes, I’m that geeky that I keep a database of my tasting notes). It kind of amazes me that I don’t have notes on this one because it is a quick pick favorite of mine. If I’m having friends over or going to a party I’ll often grab a bottle of Tres Picos because I know it’s going to be good. If I had to guess (and I do) I’d say that it would end up getting a rating between 88-90 from me.
Price: I have to go from memory here $14-15
E. Altare Dolcetto d’Alba 2006
And now it’s back to Italy for a recent favorite of mine from a review of wines from Piedmont, Italy. Read about it in that post.
Gerard Bertrand Tautavel 2005
This is a red blend from the Tautavel appellation in the Roussillon region of France, and it’s outstanding. It’s a combination of Grenache, Syrah and Carnigan… not a surprising blend at all from France. The bouquet on this wine favors the earth-side of the spectrum. Mushroom, toasted oak and walnut provide an earthy foundation to soft cassis and blackberry aromatics. The blackberry and cassis come to life in a big way on the palate, but I wouldn’t go so far as to call it “fruit forward”. It is an elegant and full bodied wine, with silky tannins that give a luxurious feel to the wine. The berry flavors linger on the finish. This is a very nice wine.
I hope you stop by, say hello and challenge me on my tasting notes.