Howdy folks – lots of wine this week as I catch up on some stuff. For those of you just joining us, this is my foray into chatting briefly about wines, <$20, that we drink each week. This week is a fun one, as we drink what may be my all time favorite under $20 red in existence, but the jury’s still out.
Best Wine: 2015 Department 66 “Others” Grenache
This Grenache is a favorite of mine, though French in origin rather than the perhaps expected Spanish provenance (either from the vast quantity of Grenache grown in Spain, or my love of all things Spanish wine). Excellent body and structure, despite the youth, in 10 years this should be bonkers. Lingonberry, pepper, cranberry, blackberry and a supple tobacco note. This paired really well New York Strip and Tortellini, as well as a homemade set of soy ginger pork chops and snap peas. I have some other Department 66 stashed away, and will look forward to getting into those at some point. For now, this is delectable.
– $17, Two Thumbs Up
The Other Wines
2016 A to Z Pinot Noir
This Pinot Noir hails from Oregon, a favored region of mine for the style when buying American Pinot. This bottle opened fairly well, drank nicely with lots of pepper, ripe cherry, blueberry and a hint of soil. Acidity a bit high, lacking much structure. Pairing alright with dill salmon, chicken dumplings and pork chop. Without major flaws, this bottling still didn’t impress too greatly, as it felt far too sweet and juicy without some tannin to keep it balanced. Certainly not a bad buy for $12, but not a Pinot I’d pick again from the region.
– $12, Middle of the Road
Iter Sparkling Rose
Some weeks call for sparkling, and I decided to buck my standard choices for bubbles and try something new. Iter Sparkling Rose is a dry California Rose that over delivered on carbonation and underdelivered in complexity. While not bad, this berry forward wine displayed a strong malty backbone I found unbecoming in a rose, even at the price point. This paired very well with spicy shrimp, as well as a standard chicken and vegetable dish, but I found myself wishing with each sip that I had opened a different sparkling. Not regret, but perhaps wondering if there was a better pairing I’d also enjoy once the meal was done.
– $15, Thumb Down
So there we have it. Some off brand selections from me, especially the Pinot and the Rose. A hit or miss week, which is always a good sign of an adventurous drinker – something I really try to be. This weekend looks rainy once more, but I’m not sure what to put on the menu. Maybe some Gris, some Bordeaux, who knows. Be well, all. Check back next week!