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23 January 2006

Like Pro-Keds in a Manolo Box

Dig this.  Suppose you've been invited to a housewarming party.  Naturally, as a wine lover, you plan on bringing some wine to your pals' hizzouse.  And be honest, you're going to be packing this bottle not so much because the hosts are wine people, but because you want to have something good to drink.  Of course, you run the risk of having your gift bottle disappear once deposited on the refreshment table (you know those people who don't bring wine, but actively chug the free stuff at get-togethers).  For this reason, you want something that won't cause you to audibly gasp if it's emptied within the first ten minutes of your arrival (i.e. in the $10-$15 range).  As a cherry-on-top sort of thing, it would also be great to find a wine that looks classy; one that exudes a little bit of luxury.  The result of bringing such a bottle might be twofold:  1) Your hosts could think, "Wow! Jane & Jim are really generous.  Just look at that fancy bottle of wine they brought." and 2) Wine poachers (well, those with a conscience anyway) may shy away from the classier stuff and pour their glass-fulls from other bottles with semi-aquatic cartoon birds or bouncing marsupials on the label.

So what wine works in a situation like this?  Allow me to suggest 'Adriano' from the iconic Port house, Ramos Pinto.  Even non-wine drinkers are likely to recognize Adriano's label.


(see a larger version of this photo at Vino Voyeur)

Now this is what I call an easy-drinking wine in a classy wrapper (Think Pro-Keds in a Manolo Blahnik box).

The Skinny
Ramos Pinto 'Adriano' DOC Douro 2003 (~$13)

  • A blend of 4 native grape varieties, more commonly found in Port
  • From Portugal's Douro region - 13% alcohol
  • The wine's color is dusty cordovan at its core, fading to bright ruby and finally to a thin watery rim
  • My first whiff impression: "Really ripe fruit & meat"; Adriano offers scents of berry compote and a meatiness with savory herbs.  There is also a dusty earth component lurking in the glass
  • Simple, youthful flavors of red plums and berries, paired to friendly, slightly rounded tannins.  Bright red cherry flavors bust through on the finish.  Just a bit flabby, but enough of a mini acid-lift to warrant a spot at the casual dining table.  After 30+ minutes, tart cherry flavors begin to win the in-glass flavor tussle

*** (3 stars out of 5)

Adriano isn't terribly complex or unique.  However, it's a sure to be a crowd pleaser at parties.  This drink-me-now red will pair with pizza, grilled meats and pasta. The added bonus is a label that puts those cartoon characters to shame.

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Here's another good wine, good price, with great bottle presentation that is very yummy.

Torre Oria Reserve '96

The gold netting on it definitely let's people remember who brought it.


Good suggestion Rick. Nothing like a little bottle accoutrement to get the bottle noticed.

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