"" What's She Eating Now?: Spotlight on Value: 2 Italian Reds

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Spotlight on Value: 2 Italian Reds

Examining our recycling bin last week, I noticed that Dan and I have been economizing a lot more when it comes to wine. There are just as many bottles, perhaps even more, but the total value of the empty shells that once held wonderfully fermented grape juice is decidedly less. If I were a sociologist perhaps I would hypothesize that given the recession we have been drinking more, which means we in turn have reduced our per bottle spend. But that doesn't mean we have been enjoying any less. Or only drinking wines from Argentina and Chile, though we do enjoy many of those.

In fact, let's take a trip to the Italian aisle. I spy a bargain in this 2008 Sigillus Primus Vigna D'Oro from Apulia (aka Puglia) which is a blend of three grapes: negroamaro, primitivo and anglianico. So what does all this Italian mean? It is a robust red wine from the part of Italy that looks like the heel of a boot. It is medium to full bodied and round but just when you question whether the wine is too smooth, the fruit reveals a little spice. Best with food, we have enjoyed this wine with everything from grilled lamb to shepherd's pie. And at $7 on sale at Astor right now, you really can't go wrong. (For you out-of-towners Astor has a great website and gladly ships.)

Not cheap enough? Try this Lilla Moltepulciano from Abruzzi. I recently picked up a bottle for $5 and felt like king of the world but that was a fluke. The 2007 is priced at $5.99 at Astor right now, though, and it is worth all five hundred and ninety-nine of your hard-earned pennies. Everything from the color, to the nose, to the mouthfeel, to the finish-- even the label-- suggests a much more expensive wine. But for the price of a non-fat-double-decker-vanilla-hazlenut-absurd-i-can't-believe-you-drink-that-latte, you can get a remarkably likable wine which pairs well with almost any meat dish and also happens to love cheese, a quality more rare in red wines than you'd think. It is velvety but with just enough tannin and contrast notes to remind you it isn't a ho hum plain jane. Salute!

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