WINESLACKER..the lazy drinker's guide. Another 'slacker yammering on about drinking.

September 6, 2010

Sippin’ Our Way Into Fall…

Filed under: California,Cheep wine,pinot noir,Port,Summer Bubblies — Dex Wineslacker @ 5:12 pm

Veggies on da Barbie

Summer is waning fast and Labor Day marks the psychological start of Fall.  Here in the Golden State, how-some-ever, we play on. The Pinot season keeps rolling out, with new, inexpensive bottlings showing up on everybody’s shelves.  Couple of worthwhile mentions go out to Caretaker Pinot, 2009, from the Santa Maria Valley, $9.99 at Trader Joes, Carmel Road Pinot, 2008, from Monterey, at Vons, the fabulous Melville Pinot, Estate – Verna’s, 2007, about $27 at BevMo, if you can still find it, and Steven Bannus Pinot Noir, 2008, from the Russian River Valley, $13.99 with the BevMo card at BevMo.  This beauty is rated a 91 by BevMo’s in house wine critic, Wilfred Wong, and the Wineslacker thinks he’s right on.

One wine we did not mention in our last blog on bubblies is one ‘slackers should not overlook. Sparkling Moscato from Italy.  For a sweet change of pace, nothing beats this on a torrid September day.  The Moscato we like is Oltrepo Pavese, Moscato Dulce, available at Whole Foods (Whole Paycheck, as some cynics might sneer) for an affordable $11.99.  Get several bottles, ’cause this is a light (about 8% alcohol), creamy, slightly sweet quaffer that everyone will want more of.

Looking toward the cooler realms of fall and winter, it’s not too early to think about stocking up on dessert wines that will go well next to the fire on those windswept nights in the mountains or on the coastal bluffs. We were recently turned on (by slackerette Susan) to Ficklin Tawny Port; California Port from Southern Madera County. Ficklin is a family owned vineyard that ‘s been making serious Port for the last sixty-some years. This is a hand made fortified wine, made with Portuguese methods, from people dedicated to their art for generations. While their Tawny Port may seem expensive at $28 a bottle, when you think about what goes into it, it’s a real bargain.  This wine is aged for ten years in small oak casks and that fact in itself means an investment and a vision toward the future, rather than a quick turn around profit. Ficklin Vineyards grows and uses only Portuguese varietals, originally purchased from U.C. Davis in 1946. Click on the link to their website and find out more about this under the radar California gem.

Moscato in the Back Yard

June 27, 2010

Tired of All That Champagne?

Filed under: Cheep wine,pinot noir,Summer Bubblies,summer wine — Dex Wineslacker @ 6:42 pm

Three Summer Bubblies That Aren't French

Tired of all that old Champagne?  Lost everything in the crash?  Your bank failed? You can still enjoy bubbles in the swingin’ summertime.  Here are three inexpensive sparklers that not only don’t hurtcha in the hip pocket, but give you something different and interesting.

First in line is the illustrious  Prosecco Balbinot (NV) (about $17 at Wine Expo in Santa Monica) the frizzante, the basic wine of a distinguished winemaker from San Pietro di Feletto, it’s soft, creamy, fully delightful; if you typically buy middle brow California sparklers like Piper-Sonoma, Gloria Ferrar Brut, etc., try this for a change of pace. Second, an organic sparkling Chardonnay from Argentina, no less. Vida organica, 2007, from Familia Zucccardi at Whole Foods is a more substantial wine, with a unique character, clean and round. The ‘Slacker likes it and it stands up to a garlicy roast chicken or grilled salmon just fine. Last but far from least is the familiar (to TJ’s fans) Zonin Prosecco Brut, a lovely, everyday bubbly at about $6 a bottle. Fruity, but dry and soft, it’s just the thing at the end of a warm summer evening on the patio.

2007-2008 are the Pinot Years!  Great Pinot Noir is comin’ out our ears, here in California.  For as little as $8.99 you can enjoy a  casual little Pinot from the Central Coast or the Russian River Valley. The Trader called Joe is currently keeping a very respectable stock of Pinot Noir, including the very tasty Lane Tanner, Block 4 at 19.99, MacMurray Ranch 2007 Pinot at $13.99, but also the well regarded Castle Rock Pinot and two low end, but excellent buys, Inslay Peak, 2007,($9.99) from Edna Valley Vineyard, San Luis Obispo County, and Hamilton-Steven’s, 2008, ($8.99)from the Russian River Valley.  In the bargain arena this week at Von’s, the ‘Slacker picked up Lockwood Vineyard, Block 7, Monterey County Pinot, rated a respectable 87 by WineSpectator for 2007, for $13.39.  BTW, Lockwood’s winemaker, Larry Gomez makes an interesting statement on their website as follows, “We’re backing away from oak and un-masking the grapes to really show off this vineyard and the unique terroir.” Maybe a trend???

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