Time for a cheap one…

Had been getting used to having to spend at least $12 for a ‘daily’ bottle, but recently found one at half that price that is drinkable. Available at Trader Joe’s only (that I’ve seen) it is:
Feudo Zirtari, 2003, Indicazione Geografica Tipica Rosso, from Sicilia Italy. The trademark symbol on the label is a red triangle laying on its side, which is where I generally wind up after drinking a bottle.

I’d like to say it is great, but it’s not – but what it IS, is a very dry, very drinkable red with a fairly strong black cherry flavor, both on the nose and the tounge, for a very reasonable price.

I’m working on the second case, and will buy a third this week, if that tells you anything. It is really worth a try if you are near a Trader Joe’s and looking for a red that won’t offend you. If you like black cherry, you might just say it is worth 3 times its selling price.

John Friederich

Lake Breeze Langhorne Creek Bernoota, 1999

50% Shiraz, 50% Cabernet Sauvignon. This was purchased on eBay (I’ve had good luck with these recently) as a ‘6-pack’ . Opened one without a rest, and WOW! I think you have to have a hankering for a wine in this somewhat extreme style (I do.) This is an Aussie wine, by the way

The nose is full of big, dark, fruits with a hint of smokey cedar. First taste is of blackberry, again very intense and ominous. Slightly hot and acidic , but then mellows slightly to a simply large longlasting berry (black, with some current.)

If you are in a mood for a huge, ominous bottle, I highly recommend this. Approx $15 per/ bottle. I’ve not seen these locally, but worth a check.

1999 Martinborough Vinyard Pinot Noir

A friend from Wellington, NZ sent a link to an Ebay auction for a half-case of NZ Pinot Noir he has had and highly recommended. I won the bid for $103 shipped, and received it FedX today. Opened a bottle tonight expecting the worst (hey, could have been poorly stored since ’99.)

The first sniff revealed that it was not damaged in any way – in fact even without resting after its travel it was apparant that this is a high quality Pinot. Very much a classic Pinot nose (unlike many recent offerings from CA and OR, where they have gone ‘overboard’ in one way or another) of damp earth with just a hint of Eucalyptus and over-ripe rasberry.

In the mouth it is velvety-soft, still earthy, and finishes with a leathery fruit. Perfectly balanced, I think, with no one trait standing out too much – like the New England Patriots of Pinot Noir. Not a huge wine, this, as many from CA and OR have become, but beautifully balanced and enjoyable. I wouldn’t have expected it to work with our homemade pesto (homegrown basil) tonight, but it may be capable of providing a complimentary taste with many foods. Martinborough Vineyard is proud of their Pinots, and rightly so judging by this ’99. I think it is near its peak now, but additional cellaring should soften it even more.

Expect to pay $35 or so for a more recent vintage (unless you beat me out for more on Ebay.)