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25 December 2006

Seeking recommendations: red wine. [More:]So today we had Sicilia, Nero D' Avola. Ruggero di Tasso. A great red wine, I'd say, an Italian friend sent to me. I thought it was very discreet in aftertaste, which is something I really like especially for wines that accompany elaborate meals. For simple steak dinners I tend to prefer a bold red, though.

So, do you have some favorites? Any suggestions I could try? Not that I need any excuses to drink, really...
Gato Negro Merlot from Chile is a very cheap nice table wine. Not for your wine snob friends but good value. B & G Merlot from France is a nice wine if you are not a big fan of tanins. For more tanin try Carmen Merlot from Chile. For a Cabernet Sauvignon Wolf Blass Yellow Label from Australia, and for a nice Shiraz (same as Frence Syrah) any of Rosemount blends from Australia are nice. The Wolf Blass Platinum Label Shiraz from Aus has a great peppery taste but is pricey. For after dinner Kittling Ridge Ice Wine & Brandy from Canada is amazing. For something different both dry and sweet try a Tokaj from Hungary. I can't recomend one label as around here we never seem to get the same things twice.

Still around here though we mostly drink my homemade wines.
posted by arse_hat 25 December | 16:53
Ohh, thank you Arse. I will try all of them, I do not need to promise.

Actually, I have tried Gato Negro, I think... I am very picky with reds esp. because sometimes I get headaches even after one glass. People say tannins are responsible. I am not sure... This is why I loved the Sicilian wine today.

So, you make wine, eh? Hm. My late grandfather used to produce white wine only -- some kind of retsina (tarred wine) that we loved. He had a small vineyard in Peloponnese and sometimes in August we would visit him there and all the kids would step on the grapes in the traditional vat to extract the juice. Some years his wine would be excellent, and some, meh! (or worse). Of course he would never admit that it was bad. He hated it when one criticized his wine. Better not say anything. But the funniest thing was that he would never, ever give out bottles for us or to his friends to take home. His motto was "Drink as much of my wine you want, fine, but you have to drink it here with me." I loved him and now I really miss him.

So. Care to tell us more about your wines?
posted by carmina 25 December | 17:47
Not that I need any excuses to drink, really...
Lolzorz. A couple days ago I was in Trader Joe's, browsing the wine selection, when I came upon the shelf of "three buck chuck" when I noticed a printed lable inserted next to the price. It said "Now you can afford to drink daily."
posted by pieisexactlythree 25 December | 17:51
Ha! pi. That reminds me of a friend of mine who likes to throw dinner parties and serve only, I mean only, red wine. That's actually fine by me. However, she will bring out some good labels for bottle one and two. But as the dinner progresses and the wine keeps coming, the labels become more and more obscure and the wine of lower quality. We invariably point that out to her, but she laughs and claims we are too drunk to tell! Can you believe it? The witch. I actually like her very much to care, but can you believe the nerve?
posted by carmina 25 December | 18:10
"... I actually like her very much to care, but can you believe the nerve?"
posted by carmina 25 December

What's stopping you from bringing a couple of $50 bottles of red for #3 and #4?
posted by paulsc 25 December | 19:09
What's stopping you from bringing a couple of $50 bottles of red for #3 and #4?

Gah, paul, I hardly need to drink a $50 wine on someone else's tab. But it is odd to offer a $15 wine followed by a $3 one. Don't you think? (disclaimer: she can afford it too).
posted by carmina 25 December | 19:30
Parallel 45 from France, a Rhone, is good. .for about 12 bucks.

The lower end Willamette Pinot Noirs are usually reliable, if inexciting.

I have never had any three buck chuck (Charles Shaw) that I have liked. Same goes for the other Bronco brands.

On preview. . .start with the most expensive wines. . .your palate will not much notice the drop in quality, two or three bottles in. . .*smile*
posted by danf 25 December | 19:59
My favorite wines of recent memory are the reds from Talley Vineyards and Bishop's Peak. Try the Rock Solid Red or the Syrah from Bishop's Peak, and try the Rincon Pinot Noir from Talley; even better, open a bottle of each to compare and contrast. A few other memorable selections I've made in the past include Tractor Shed Red and the Cambria 2005 Julia’s Pinot Noir.

Also, make sure you try kalimotxo at least one in your lifetime.
posted by brainwidth 25 December | 20:05
carmina, I make Cab Shiraz from concentrate for table wine. In season I buy juice for Shiraz and a very oakey Zinfandel. In season I mix 2 parts Zinfandel concentrate with 1 part fresh Strawberry juice or Apple juice to make a nice summer wine. In fall I mix some Cab concentrate with grapes and pears from my yard. It takes a long time to age and mellow but it's nice in the fullness of time.

I've given it away and everyone asks for more so I am doing something right.
posted by arse_hat 25 December | 23:42
My favorites are Penfolds Bin 389 (Cabernet Shiraz/Syrah) and Bin 407 (Cabernet Sauvignon), and Washington state Merlots like Canoe Ridge ($20ish), Woodward Canyon and L'Ecole ($40ish). Gordon Brothers Merlot (also Washington state) is spotty but generally good value (low teens). For something special try one of the bright Syrahs of Cayuse Vineyards.
posted by bigblueroom 26 December | 00:57
Thank you all for your suggestions. I will try as much as I can.

Here is some of the music I am listening to right now:
Tindersticks: Another night in and Sometimes it hurts featuring the ever amazing Lhasa de Sela.
posted by carmina 26 December | 01:36
i live in chile and it's odd how wines from here are seen differently around the world. often the names change completely, or are marketed at very different segments. in trader joe's i once saw a chilean red being sold under the name "picante" which was hilarious - it's slang here for "cheap/bad/tatty/bad taste" (often a class thing).

and gato negro is a really cheap wine here, but that doesn't mean you should avoid it - maybe they send their better stuff abroad (i don't think it will be anything like a good italian though - chilean reds tend to be very heavy and oaky, while the italian reds i've had seem to be lighter, and fruitier - to be honest, i wish we had more wines like that).

one red i drank quite a bit of earlier this year, and which i know was on sale in the uk (in the co-op, i think!) was gracia de chile's reserva cabernet (labelled "pasajero" in small letters on the front) - a very alcoholic, rich, wine. at least here, for the price, it was amazing.

for christmas dinner we had a nice chardonnay - cono sur reserva, valle de casablanca (if you're looking for chilean chardonnay that area has the best reputation at the moment).

a good reliable chilean red is "casillero del diablo". i've seen that all over the world, and it's pretty much a classic here. the vineyard that produces it - concha y torro - has entered into the common vocabularly: "concha y torrearse" means "to get pissed" (it helps that concha is slang for cunt...).
posted by andrew cooke 27 December | 08:34
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