Monday, April 20, 2020

Recycle Bin, Week of April 20

As the quarantine drags on, I'm grateful for having ordered a few cases of mixed bottles about a month ago.  Drinking through these has unearthed some fun surprises and a few disappointments.  At the top of the list of wines to seek out are a French white and a Chilean (sort of) red.  Later this week we'll look at some things to keep in mind when ordering online.  In the meantime, stay safe, stay sane, and drink on.




(Reviews are in order of the photo above, from left to right.)

2018 Vina Maitia Aupa Pipeno Chile $10
Made of 80% pais and 20% carignan, this lip-smacking red is closer in color to a rosé than most reds.  That luminescence carries through onto the palate where it shines brightly.  Red fruit framed by crisp, refreshing acidity is delivered in a straightforward, gulpable package, thanks in no small part to its low (12.5%) alcohol and dry farming.  Unusual and absolutely worth a try slightly chilled.

2018 Michel Lelu Muscadet Loire $12
Speaking of low alcohol, this inexpensive white is full of jubilant energy and offers a big mouthful of taut, cracking flavors leaning towards sauvignon blanc.  How they've managed to include so much in a wine of just 11.5% ABV is a mystery to me, but what a difference it makes to start an evening with a glass of this as opposed to a 14% chardonnay.  Buy it by the case.

2018 Milou Rouge Vin de Pays d'Oc $12 
What this wine lacks in pedigree it more than makes up for with its appealing freshness.  An uncomplicated, versatile blend of syrah and grenache that will happily go with anything from burgers to pasta primavera, it is still a bargain even though tariffs have pushed the cost beyond last year's $10 steal of a price tag.

2016 Tenuta di Arceno Chianti Classico $15
Chianti Classicos are getting more and more expensive, so it was a bit of a coup to find this one for under $20.  Though my preference tends towards the more puritanical expressions of sangiovese, this broad-shouldered example will appeal to many who enjoy stout reds.  The oak is pronounced without being overpowering and adds an element of structure to the big fruit on display.  A chianti to enjoy with steak.

2018 Del Cerro Chianti Colli Senesi $8
A real disappointment.  The 2013 vintage of this wine made it on to my short list of 2015's best wines and that was at a price popint of $12.  The same bottling is now 30% less expensive, but now we know why.  It's worse than simple or plain; it's just mediocre.

2017 Hahn GSM Central Coast $13
Ordered on a whim, this classic Rhone red blend of grenache, syrah, and mourvedre met expectations on the heft front.  Not at all shy and in firm possession of the concentrated fruit and oak regimen we've come to expect from mass-marketed California reds, it exceeded expectations in one important regard: the best GSMs straddle an impossible line between fresh, ripe fruit and meaty, savory flavors.  When that happens, it's like magic.  And even though that magic is not the first thing to hit you about this wine, that it's there at all at this price is impressive.


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