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Monthly Archives: February 2013

Two reds: light & heavy

My new favourite light red is this Angel’s Gate Gamay Noir. I should have posted about it long ago! I’ve probably drunk about six bottles of this alone since I first tasted it — that’s a lot for me. It’s a truly yummy wine: a VQA Gamay with a mild fruity flavour that stands up to some foods and most importantly for me, is sippable on its own in the evening.

AngelsGateGamayI wouldn’t drink this with spicy foods or really powerfully acidic foods, because it lacks bite, but I’ve had it on pizza night and I’ve had it on comfort-food nights and it’s great that way. I hate the bottle: my good corkscrew kind of slips on the overly-rounded lip. But I’m getting the hang of it, and it’s worth it.

Because I love this Gamay so, so much, I tried their Süssreserve Riesling recently — it was not as much of a hit. With a name like that, I expected to basically be sipping pear nectar; but it was more like a really generic Pinot Grigio than an off-dry Riesling. So, not everything from Angel’s Gate is necessarily a home run. But this Gamay is really hitting the spot when I want the flavours I love from a light red, but not the zingy/tangy feel of, say, a Beaujolais. This is a light red that’s lasting me through the winter. Yum!

 

Meanwhile, I did also want some variety recently (it was SO COLD OUT! who’d want to drink “light” anything?), and decided to try again with the bigger reds. I’ve loved several of Cono Sur’s wines, and the price is right, so thought I’d try their Syrah (Reserva edition). You can’t go wrong with bicycle wine, right? Right, at least this time. I really enjoyed the Syrah, though fair warning: it will turn your teeth as blue as the Farnese Montepulciano. In the glass, it’s extremely grape-juicey, with an opacity that is shocking to someone like me who’s more accustomed to lighter varieties. Still, it was very appealing, and robust without any of the tendencies that are “downsides” for me (leathery, moldy, smoky, earthy flavours in really noticeable amounts turn me right off). I would buy it again for drinking AT HOME ALONE ONLY. Especially with a meaty or spicy meal, since it has a lot of flavour but is still smooth and not too tannin-y. (Sometimes I feel like tannic flavours make spicy food in particular just unpleasant — everything is too harsh! But this would be a great complement, IMO.)

syrah

Perfectly Decent $8.25 Italian Red

I’ve tried Farnese’s Sangiovese and Montepulciano d’Abrruzzo and wasn’t crazy about them. But last week I read something saying this 2010 Negroamaro was a great buy.

Negroawhat? To the Googles! Wikipedia says:

Negroamaro, also Negro amaro, is a red wine grape variety native to southern Italy. It is grown almost exclusively in Puglia and particularly in Salento, the peninsula which can be visualised as the “heel” of Italy. The grape can produce wines very deep in color. Wines made from Negroamaro tend to be very rustic in character, combining perfume with an earthy bitterness.

The only description the LCBO site offers for the Farnese version is “Medium-bodied & Fruity” (and the photo doesn’t match the current bottle). Wine Align has “clear garnet colour; floral, blueberry and sweet cherry aromas; dry, medium body; cherry and plum flavours with a touch of spice to finish”

“Amaro” is Italian for “bitter”, but that’s not really what I got from the Farnese version. Comparing it with one of my favourite cheap Italian reds (Montalto N’ero d’avola/Cabernet Sauvignon) it was darker purple and just a tad sweeter, but not jammy sweet. But I have a taste for dry, rustic, food-friendly Italian reds, so you might not taste any sweetness at all. The product sheet from the distributor includes a review comparing it to a California Zinfandel.

Overall, I’d say it’s a perfectly decent red wine to have with pizza or meaty pasta, or some other casual thing that needs red wine. Plus, it gives you another fun Italian word to wrap your tongue around.

(If you have another $0.75 to spare, wine access says the Mezzomondo Negroamaro 2010 is a killer buy at $9.00. I haven’t tried it, but I will!)

Salute!