We love this guy! in fact we call him the Wine Cure-mudgeon for his affable take on wine: not too stuffy, approachable. Wine writing for real people. Two of his latest reviews follow:
January 07, 2011
Wine review: Castello Monaci Piluna Primitivo 2008
Yet another wine that the Wine Curmdugeon judged before tasting — and was, as usual, completely wrong about.
Though I had my reasons. Really. The PR materials that came with the Piluna ($13, sample) were, to be kind, a bit overwrought. They included a line that said, “Here spreads the sun which floods the land with light. …” I’ve been writing professionally for too long to take that well. Plus, I’m wary of Italian primitivo, which was one of the varietals of the moment before the wine business crashed in 2008. I wonder how much primitivo is sitting in distributor warehouses, gathering dust, never to be heard from again.
Though, of course, neither of those had anything to do with what the wine tasted like. Maybe that should be my New Year’s wine resolution: Drink the wine before you write about it, stupid. So, needless to say, the Piluna was a pleasant surprise. Though it had more oak than it needed, there was lots of very impressive black fruit, and the necessary amount of acid to balance it. I drank it with roast chicken, and it paired well. It would also work with beefy winter braises and stews.
One other thought: The wine comes from Puglia, in the Italian boot heel. This should have been a clue the wine was worthwhile; the blog’s favorite wine, Tormaresca Neprica, comes from Puglia (as does its sister chardonnay). Like I said, stupid.
January 05, 2011
Wine of the week: Volteo Viura + Viogner + Sauvignon Blanc 2008
This wine should really be called Volteo Blanco, since it’s a Spanish white wine blend. I’m assuming that the three grapes used to make it are in the name because most Europeans think that Americans only buy wine that has the varietals in the name. That most of us have no idea what viura or viogner are probably never occurred to the folks behind Volteo ($10, purchased).
Having said that, it’s quite well made and (with its tempranillo cousin) was in consideration for the 2011 $10 Hall of Fame. That it didn’t get in speaks more to its newness; this is one of the first vintages, and I’d like to see what happens next before I elevate it to the Hall.
Viura is a traditional Spanish grape used to make just this kind of wine. Look for a crisp, fresh, clean effort with a bit of lemon fruit and Spanish minerality and acid. Don’t expect a New World citrusy wine — the Volteo is much more balanced. Serve this with salads, almost any kind of grilled fish, and even boiled shrimp. And, like the tempranillo, it has the “Smart Label:” A blue frame appears around the label illustration when the wine is at the correct serving temperature. Which actually did work.