My Photo

search the juice

January 2008

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
    1 2 3 4 5
6 7 8 9 10 11 12
13 14 15 16 17 18 19
20 21 22 23 24 25 26
27 28 29 30 31    


  • Food & Drink Blog Top Sites

09 May 2006

Ten Buck Tuesday: 13-buck Vermentino


Hear ye, hear ye.  The judges* have invoked a little known clause to the Ten Buck Tuesday rules, in which all Italian islands beginning with the letter "S"  ending in "A" are granted a three-dollar exception (what with all the extra transport, marauding seagulls, duties, etc).  Thus, Argiolas' Vermentino di Sardegna Costamolino, is awarded this week's TBT title.

Vermentino is one of Italy's most rugged white grapes.  It can endure heat and drought, yet still produce wines with zip.  This grape is a staple in the vineyards along Sardinia's coast.  V-tino also seems to enjoy the Tuscan coast.

The Skinny
Argiolas Vermentino di Sardegna Costamolino 2004 ($9-$13)

  • 100% Vermentino from the Costamolino vineyard on Sardenia/Sardegna (the rock ricocheting off of Italy's shin); imported by Leo LoCascio
  • 13.5% alcohol, vinified in stainless steel tanks, partial malo-lactic fermentation
  • Intensely bright green-gold in color
  • scents of lemon and pepper along with subtle notes of fresh parsley
  • In the mouth, Argiolas is full-bodied and viscous.  It offers tart lemon-herb flavors, along with a nifty finish, which is simultaneously crisp and creamy.  Considering this Vermentino's considerable heft (13.5% alcohol), the wine maintains an admirably crisp acidity


This wine is sitr-fry friendly, peachy with salmon roulade, and superb with succulent scallops. 

Do you know of any budget island (Sicily, Corsica, New Zealand) wines that can compete with Argiolas' "big V"?

*Ten Buck Tuesday is like Calvinball - the rules may change at any time

Technorati Tags: , ,

02 May 2006

Ten Buck Tuesday: The Spanish Leviathan

Boxingw_2 When it comes to the $8-$12 sweet spot for wine of all kinds - red, white & bubbly; Spain reigns supreme.  While my heart may be with value wine 'under dogs' like Portugal and Austria, I must give the Kingdom of Spain its due.  However, I do have one minor gripe.  Many of Spain's wine offerings seem to be of the modern, "kaboom fruit" variety.  Still, many of these wines aren't necessarily off-putting.  They are more or less easy-drinking, if not slightly generic, wines.

Countries who attempt to throw down with Spain in the 'ten buck' department, are invariably forced to say to España, "No mas.  No mas."

One thing I have noticed of late is the gaggle of Garnacha (Grenache) flocking to the wine shop from nearly every Spanish Denomination with which I'm familar (and a few new to me).  Take for example, Artazuri Tinto, part of Eric Solomon's seemingly endless supply of Spanish imports.  This wine comes from the Navarra region - a neighbor to Rioja. I was expecting it to be the usual bargain-Grenache mix of berry jam scents along with a touch of pepper.  Surprise!  Artazuri has produced an outstanding character-full wine for ten bucks.

The Skinny
Artazuriw Artazuri Navarra Tinto 2003 ($9-$10)

  • Old vine Grenache (~50 years) from Navarra in north-central Spain
  • Bright ruby in color
  • Scents of fresh red raspberry and cherry; along with some, uhh, briar/brambly notes
  • Tart red cherry flavors with distinct acidity.  There are also subtle flavors of peppery spice and hints of green bell pepper (Is this wine really from sunny Spain?)

This is one of the more unique expressions of Grenache that I've sampled in some time.  I recommend sipping it slightly chilled.  It would make a tasty pairing with a satisfying Stephencooks dish such as pork and porcini meatloaf.

Technorati Tags: , ,

25 April 2006

Ten Buck Tuesday: Verde v. Grün

Boxingw_1 Back to defend its Ten Buck Tuesday title is....Quinta da Aveleda Vinho Verde (NV, $8)

This week V.Verde takes on an up-and-coming challenger - Berger Grüner Veltliner (2004) from Austria's Kremstal region.  At first glance, Berger appears to be ineligible to compete in T.B.T.  The wine, at $12, is over the price limit.  However our judges* have dertermined that Berger, in the unique 1000 ml (1 litre) size class, qualifies as a ten buck wine (were the wine in a regulation size 750 ml bottle, its price would be around nine dollars).

Berger, aside from a bottle-girth advantage, is a formidable foe to Aveleda's V.V.  This wine is made in a similar fashion - using just-ripe, low sugar grapes.  Berger G.V. weighs in at a svelte 11.5% alcohol, and packs a jaw-rattling acid punch.  You might say this is Austria's version of Vinho Verde.  It's simple, refreshing and extraordinarily finger food-friendly.


At the end of the tenth round the fight appears to be a draw.  What's this? Aveleda's Vinho Verde has yet to come out of its corner.  It appears to be empty, while Berger still has 250 ml-worth of picnic-ready wine in the tank.  The referee has stepped in and stopped the fight.  And the winner by TKO is....


Berger Grüner Veltliner 2004 ($12, 1 litre bottle)

Who's ready to step up and name a contender for the Ten Buck Tuesday Value Wine Grand Championship?  Give us your best shot.

*Ten Buck Tuesday is like Calvinball - the rules may change at any time

Technorati Tags: , , , , ,

18 April 2006

Ten Buck Tuesday: Sicily v. Portugal

Boxingw In the 'Global' corner we have...
Feudo Arancio Chardonnay (2004, $8) - weighing in at 13.5% alcohol.  This Chardonnay hails from Sicily.  It's an un-oaked wine, with a surprisingly crisp character.  Arancio Chardonnay offers flavors of citrus and pineapple.  It's perfectly serviceable, yet a little too generic to my taste.  If you're interested in a cheap Sicilian, I recommend going with Feudo's Grillo, a native white grape or Nero D'Avola, a spicy-fruity red wine that's perfect with pizza.

In the 'Quirky' corner we have...
Aveledavv Quinta da Aveleda Vinho Verde (NV, $8) - weighing in at a svelte 8.5% alcohol.  This light, salivary gland-tickling, slightly bubbly wine is made to be drunk within two years of its born-on date. Vinho Verde (green wine) is a traditional wine made in Portugal's rainy northwest.  In this damp climate, vines grow quickly and produce grapes high in acid and low in sugar.  The result is a very light wine that tastes something like a Granny Smith apple-lime spritzer.  In fact some might argue that it "tastes great," while others contend it's, "less filling."  Try it with Tempura or a Feta & spinach salad.

And the winner of this week's Ten Buck Tuesday is...Avelda Vinho VerdeFind it online or at a shop near you.

Have you discovered any ten buck champions recently?

14 March 2006

Ten Buck Tuesday

Tenbucks_1 I'm not sure anyone needs to be standing up for corporate wine.  However, I will say this; there are literally hundreds of inviting and reliable, cheap ($10 and under) wines to be had.  A few months ago we compiled a list of over thirty ten-buck recommends created from wine & food bloggers' favorite cheap drinks.  It's an incredibly diverse set of wines - ranging from macro- to micro-producers.  People new to wine shouldn't be intimidated by wine.  On the other hand, I don't think wine newbies need to be constrained to the garanimals wine department.  Exploration is fun.  In the spirit of exploration, allow me to recommend some of my new favorites on the Hamilton tip:

  1. Viña Alarba  Old Vines Grenache 2004 ($6)
  2. Terre Rouge Vin Gris d'Amador 2003 ($10)
  3. Saint M Riesling 2004 ($10)
  4. LaVis Merlot 2003 ($10)
  5. Cantina Rotaliana di Mezzolombardo Teroldego Rotaliano 2003 ($10)

There you have it.  Fine wine.  Ten bucks.  And nothing that could be confused with Hi-C or Hawaiian Punch.

If you've recently discovered a tasty ten buck gem, share it with the class via the comments section.  Our wallets thank you.

Tags: , ,

18 October 2005

Ten Buck Wine Gems

TenbucksIntroducing the latest meme for the wineblogosphere (see last month's XL selection of 'best-wine-in-last-30-days + fab food pairings):

"Ten Buck Wine Gems"

I want to ask my wine amici to imagine themselves in their local wine shop..(cue harps and dreamy music)..

You check your wallet/purse/pocket/sock and discover all you've got is a ten dollar bill (or the equivalent thereof).  The question is:  What wine will give you the most bang for your ten bucks?  Tell us what you would pick - and remember you've only got ten dollars to spend.  You can go under, but not over (imagine how embarrassing that would be at the checkout register).  For extra bonus points, tell us what food pairings your $10-vino shines with.

Once you've told the world about your ten buck wine gem, pass the question along to a fellow wine or food blogger.  The aim here is to compile a big 'ol list of tasty, affordable wines for those days when we need a cheap gift, an accompaniment to Wednesday night's meatloaf, or we find a ten dollar bill in the front pocket of our favorite pair of jeans.

I'll kick things off by tagging Terence Hughes of Mondosapore - a great resource for Italian wine.  Terry, tell us, what's your ten buck wine gem?  Let me also ask for a chef's opinion - Chef M!  Got a ten-dollar wine recommendation?

My contribution:  Paul Cheneau Art Series Brut Cava, NV ($9).  This little bubbly was only $8.95, which gives me about one dollar in change.  I could create an instant party by purchasing a small bag of popcorn on the way home.  Alternatively, Cheneau's Cava would greatly compliment my rediscovered joy of risotto

Continue reading to track this meme's blogosphere voyage..

Continue reading "Ten Buck Wine Gems" »

site sponsors

Vino Voyeur