Monday, May 22, 2017

Recycle Bin, Week of May 22

It has been a great week for nerdy wine drinking pleasure thanks to a lineup of European values. Dominated by Italy, but punctuated by a French all star, these highly recommended wines signal a strong preference toward the Old World these days. The underlying reasons why will have to wait for another, more comprehensive article, but in the meantime suffice it to say that Europe continues to bring its A game.

Working from left to right in the above photo:  

2014 Mazzi Valpolicella Classico Superiore 'Sanperetto' $19  
Valpolicellas range from simple drink-with-pizza bottlings to mind blowing ripassos that deliver amarone-like substance at a fraction of the price. But they all tend to fall within a fairly predictable flavor spectrum. This example, however, is an oddity of sorts. Funky in the way that natural wines are strange, this one is an exercise in juxtapositions. Very well made and unlike anything else I've had. Slender but flavorful, fruity but savory, sweet but alkaline, acidic but smooth. Above all it's aromatic and herbal. A bit of a sensory whirlwind.

2015 Domaine Cabirau Cotes du Roussillon $15  
The terrific example of why the 2015 vintage in France is not overhyped. Bright and exuberant, this savory, intense red is complex, and cerebral while still being accessible. Laser focused and energetic, the deep core yields to a grippy tannic finish.  The whole package has an allure that'll make you squeeze the bottle for every last drop.   

2013 Tenuta Regaleali Leone Bianco Sicily $10  
On a closeout discount down from $20, this saline-lined, medium bodied white is a reflection more of place than fruit. Works just fine on it's own, but is thought-provoking enough to make you wish for a plate of fresh sardines in olives and capers.  

2010 Domus Vitae Unus Solus IGT $15 
Without a doubt the strongest quality for the dollar I have had in a long time, this resolute and stately red is made in an international style that will turn heads. Thank Napa Valley Cabernet slightly throttled back, with a complement of uniquely Italian acidity, and at 75% off list price. After tasting this at a local restaurant, I found it at a wine shop and promptly cleared the shelf. 50% sangiovese, 25% cabernet, 25% merlot.

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