A Cheap Bottle of Wine: Villa Cerrina’s Montepulciano d’Abruzzo

May 26, 2010 at 3:06 AM (Musings) (, , , )

While reviewing the recipe for a “Quick Ragù Bolognese” (details in next post), I saw that I would need some red wine.  Given that I’m a college graduate who is still surviving off a part-time hourly wage, I was in no way going to waste any of my precious $10+ wine on an experimental recipe.  Clearly I would have to buy more wine for this particular purpose.  You know, a two-buck chuck deal.

It wasn’t that simple, though.

I easily could have bought a box o’ wine and called it a day, but given how little I cook with wine (where I actually use it in the food, anyway), most of it would likely go to waste.  I wanted to find something that would serve as both an ingredient and as a palatable beverage.  As much as I love the kind people of Best Cellars, I knew I would have to sojourn elsewhere to find a wine within my budget of $6.00, so I went to Trader Joe’s (home of my favourite $4 bottle of wine, but unfortunately, it’s a white and therefore useless in this scenario).

Villa Cerrina Montepulciano d’Abruzzo red wine labelI walked into Joe’s not entirely sure of how I would select my first bottle of cheap wine.  Luckily, the store sorts its wines by region.  I figured that since it was an Italian recipe, what better place to start?  Apart from that the search was uneventful.  I went with the second cheapest red I found: Villa Cerrina’s Montepulciano d’Abruzzo 2008 ($4.99+tax – score!).

I brought it home and used it to make my bolognese, which turned out tasty enough.  After I got the stove fires under control, I poured a small glass to see if I had found my “best of both worlds” wine.  The verdict?

I’m going to keep looking.  It wasn’t awful, but if I plan on an extended wine night, this won’t be the first bottle I open.  It’s pretty light, a little juicy at the start, and I’m not crazy about the dryness that hits me in the back of the throat.  In addition, I don’t really notice any really distinct flavours. Granted, I am far from having wine connoisseur taste buds, but even I notice when the wine is lacking in such a defining characteristic.

On the bright side, I did find an interesting-looking site looking for the picture of the label. CheapWineRatings.com may hopefully save me the effort of making a bigger mistake in the future.  Regardless, the search continues . . .


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Re: “Real Men Drink Rosé,” via The Second Glass

May 15, 2010 at 7:48 PM (Happenings, Miscellaneous) (, , , )

For those of you who don’t judge a wine by its colour (like you folks who refuse to drink rosés, for instance), the Second Glass has a treat this weekend: 2009 Charles and Charles Rosé.Charles Rose wine second glass best cellars While I do love drinking wine, my wine terminology is pretty lacking, so I’m going to steal their description from the weekly newsletter:

Columbia Valley, Washington State – $14

Who says real men don’t drink rose? And for the record, we’re not talking about that syrupy sweet bastardization of wine called “white zinfandel.” Made from red grapes that only see minimum contact with the skins (which is what gives red wine it’s color) this bone dry wine tastes of the freshest fruit.

So what if rose is currently getting more press than all of Brad and Angelina’s baby’s combined? It’s still our go-to drink for any warm summer evening. And it doesn’t get much better than this wine, made by two of the biggest badasses in the wine industry, Charles Smith and Charles Bieler.

Coming from the Columbia Valley in Washington State, the Charles and Charles Rose assails your nostrils with the smell of ultra fresh strawberries and raspberries. It goes down dry, crisp and dangerously easy. Bring a bottle to beach house, drink too much of this while sitting on your stoop, and sip on it all Saturday afternoon while laying lazily in the grass with your summer fling. It’s time to get serious about your summer drinking so stock up on one of the best roses of the year.

Drink liberally with goat cheese salad, a bowl of fruit or in place of orange juice with smoked salmon on a bagel for breakfast.

. . . That about sums it up.  So now that you have something delicious to drink this weekend, a little about Second Glass:

On the home page, Second Glass touts itself as “your source for unpretentious, baller wine info,” and I’m glad to have such a source.  Every Thursday or so, SG’s weekly newsletter features a wine of the weekend that’s pretty darned tasty and won’t empty the wallet.  It also puts together all kinds of lovely events such as Wine Riot and wine crash courses which not only tell about these tasty sips, but provide said sips for attendees.

best cellars logo boston wine

Along with sharing weekend delights, SG also provides venues that feature each wine of the weekend.  Charles and Charles just so happens to be available at my favourite wine shop, Best Cellars.  The folks at BC offer over 100 wines under $15 (!!) and free wine tastings.  Every.  Day.  Similar to SG, BC believes that wine can be delicious and not pompous or expensive.  Be sure to check them out on Boylston Street.

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Today I Learned . . .

February 23, 2010 at 6:29 PM (Musings) (, )

Today I learned that while people may look cool pulling a cork out of a wine bottle with their teeth in movies, it certainly doesn’t feel cool in real life.

Today’s Tune
“Californication,” Red Hot Chili Peppers

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What Happens When I Network?

March 25, 2009 at 2:31 AM (Happenings) (, , , )

I win VIP tickets to an International Twitter wine tasting.  What else?  I’ll gloat about this more as I get more info, but here’s what I have so far for you Boston wine aficionados (taken verbatim from my quarter-page advert):

The Second Glass and Dig present:
Wine Riot
250+ wines, food pairings, crash courses, snob-free!!!
Friday, April 17th, 2009
Trade Tasting: 2.00 – 5.00 P.M.
VIP Riot: 6.00 – 10.00 P.M. ($65.00) – I’ll be at this one!!
With Special Sustainable Wine Tasting, International Twitter Tasting and More!

Saturday, April 18th, 2009
Riot 1: 1.00 – 5.00 P.M. ($45.00)
Riot 2: 6.00 – 10.00 P.M. ($45.00)

The Cyclorama at the Boston Center for the Arts
539 Tremont St.
Boston, MA 02116

I’ve got to admit that I’m pretty stoked: this is the most that my business card has done for me so far.  If you’re planning on attending Friday night, shoot me a message!

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