Thursday, November 13, 2008


Actually, I had one of those plague-like wines just the other night. It’s a wine that we sell at our store for $9.95, Fonte Al Sol 2004, and its made by the usually trustworthy producer Ruffino. 100% Sangiovese. But I am telling you it was undrinkable. Now, previously, I had treated wine sort of like I treat movies- once I start a bottle, I have to follow through, if only to see what happens. It is very rare for me to walk out in the middle of a movie, or to decide to chuck a whole bottle after a couple sips. But there is always the theory that a friend of mine put forward the other day- sometimes its best to cut your losses. That's how I saw it with this wine. This is what it tasted like to me:

The more I think about this wine, the more I am convinced that this was just a nasty run in with the dreaded Brettanomyces. Brett is an interesting guy (/organism.) The flavors he contributes to wine are described by such charming adjectives as “earthy,” “leathery,” “saddle sweat,” “mousy,” “barnyardy,” and my favorite, “manure-like.” The presence of Brett in a wine is often chalked up to poor winery hygeine or sloppy wine making. Sounds scrumptious, doesn’t it? But the truth is, a slight bit of brett can add character and complexity to a wine, as long as its well integrated and not overpowering. Think more like this:

To make a long story short, in this wine all I tasted was barn. Very little fruit, some pretty tight tannins, and barn. So I recapped the wine, put it aside, and opened a bottle of 1919 (the name of the wine, not the vintage.) A 2006 Argentinian malbec at that same appealing price point of $9.95. This I found delicious. What a great fall wine! Full and silky, with a nose of dark plums and rasberries. Fruity on the finish, it was a perfect wine for the price, and it was delicious paired with my homemade pizzas. (One white with fresh mozzerella and carmelized onions, the other a classic margarita style. Dough from scratch. Am I domestic or what?)

So proud of myself for finding a yummy under-10-dollar that night. Lets just conveniently disregard that I had to sacrifice a bottle to the wine gods to get there.

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