ELEGANT CHEAPIES

By: Stacie Hunt – Sommelier
Contributor’s website: Splash Pros
Ten Under Ten
…and three at around Thirteen — which is the new Ten
There are two ways to ride out our down-in-the-mouth economy.  One is to switch from purchasing our favorite wine in half bottles, but then you get just half as much.  A more “economic” idea might be to discover the delicious world of under $10.00 “full” bottle wines.
Get out your corkscrew, set up your glass and let’s get started:
REDS:
’08 GRAND THEATRE, Bordeaux, France                                                        
 $ 7.99
This wine is a “Baby Bordeaux.” 
Looks:  The color is deep garnet
On Your Nose: Lots of ripe red and black berries and plum fruits. 
In your mouth:  When tasted, the fruit steps back a bit and the tannins (that
part of the wines that gives structure and aging potential) move forward. 
Discovery:  A good choice if you’re having a gang over because it will match up with just about any dish and works well with a varied wine-enjoying crowd.
’06 LUZON VERDE, Jumilla, Spain (Organic)                                                        
$ 8.99
If you only remember one name when shopping for wines of Spain, remember any selection by Jorge Ordonez.  And, when you see his name, translate that into “get this wine!” This bottle is an adventure for Sr. Ordonez because it’s the organic brother to the Finca Luzon.
Looks:  Inside the bottle you’ll find  ruby-garnet colored, organic Monastrell (the French call it Mourvédre, and in Bordeaux it’s a principal blending grape).
On Your Nose: Blue and purple ripe plums. 
In Your Mouth:  The tannins are just where you want them and the taste is full-flavored and a toast to the fruits and herbs of the region: lavender and blueberries, with a back flavor of licorice.
Discovery:  A perfect match with anything you can put on a BBQ, from shrimp to vegetables, to red meats.  And, even if you don’t wear Birkenstocks, you can appreciate that this is completely organic.
’07 RED ARNEVELS COTES DE PROVENCE, France                                   
$10.99
 A local blend of Syrah, Grenache and other local cuties from this countryside. 
Looks:  This is a light red wine for BIG, RED WINE DRINKERS. 
On Your Nose:  Plum, blackberry and raspberry
In Your Mouth:  The plums give way to a juicy and slightly spicy red berry flavor
Discovery:   In the heat of Provencal countryside, if you like red wine, you’ll like this, even with a quick chill.  In warmer weather, leave the white and rose wines for the timid.
’07 MASCIARELLI MONTEPULCIANO d’ABRUZZO, Italy                          
 $9.99
One of the two most influential winemakers in Abruzzo, Gianni Masciarelli,
created and innovated winemaking in this region. Taking traditional grapes and
teasing them into a contemporary fashion, while pushing the limits of winemaking in this region to create a style that is layered, lush and loaded with fruit.
Looks:  Deep, garnet red
On Your Nose:  Black and red berries, spice and sweet tobacco 
In Your Mouth:  The alcohol content is in check and that’s where the tradition comes in.  Smooth, soft tannins, long finish.
Discovery:  A lot of applause from your dining companions.  This is a food wine.  This is a secret wine.  Serve this wine, gift this wine, drink this wine! Sure, you can buy another of Masciarelli’s wines for $100.00, but um, why?
 
’09 Claude Val Rouge, Vin de Pays d’Oc, France                                    
$ 6.99
 From the prolific winemaker, Paul Mas, here comes a rocking blend of Grenache, Carignan, Cinsault, Merlot, Syrah and Cabernet Franc. This is southern France in a bottle! 
Looks:  The color is light garnet-ruby
On Your Nose:  Stick your nose deep into the glass and you’ll recognize raspberry and plums. 
In Your Mouth:  Medium-bodied,  red berry flavors with some baked cherry Discovery:  You could start thinking about a pork roast studded with garlic cloves and roasted with plums.  This is not a heavy wine, but one for those Tuesday or Sunday nights.
SPARKLING:
NV Pol Clement Brut Blanc, France                                                         
$ 8.99
100% Chardonnay 

Producer notes: “Founded in 1909 by Eugène Charmat, the inventor of the ‘second fermentation in tank’ process, now known as the “Charmat Method”.  Looks:  Pale yellow-gold with small bubbles that twirl to the top of the flute
On Your Nose:  A little bit of baked bread, followed by green apple
In Your Mouth: This high profile sparkling wine has a flavor of apples, pears and a refreshing lemon-crisp finish.
Discovery:  The characteristic food versatility of sparklers — think lobster, oysters, roasted chicken or shrimp in a creamy sauce.
WHITES:

’08 Clement Cote du Rhone, France                                                                      
$8.99
A blend of white grapes you may not have hear of before:  Grenache Blanc, Marsanne, Rousanne and a little known white grape called Bourbolenc, with the Looks:  Brilliant pale gold in color you notice with the first pour.
On Your Nose:  Capability to make it twitch in pleasure! Then that great bouquet of white citrus blossoms and pears. 
In Your Mouth:  The body of this white wine is a surprise.  This is no watery, cheapie, but a luxurious white.
Discovery:  Pairs perfectly with salads, cold chicken, corn-on-the-cob and Ann Lit selections on your iPod. (www.kcrw.com/annlit


’09 Oisly Thesee, Touraine, Loire, France                                                           
$ 8.99
This wine is 100% Sauvignon Blanc, one of the grapes classified as an “aromatic” grape, meaning that its aroma is characteristically pure and easily identifiable. Sauvignon Blanc (or if you want to be cool, just call it SB) is made primarily in France, California, Oregon, Washington State and New Zealand.  Each area has a different styles.The mother of all SBs, though is in France, in Bordeaux and primarily, in the Loire Valley.
Looks:  Bright, greenish-gold in color.
On Your Nose:  Herbaceous, green, tart.
In Your Mouth:   Clean, minerally taste, coming from the soil, however still packed with fruit and definitely grassy and herbaceous.
Discovery: Under normal circumstances, any of these SBs would be in the teens and upward price-wise.  Shhhh —  this one’s a steal.
’09 PAJOT,Cotes de Gascogne Blance, Organic                                              
$  8.99
Looks:  This wine has a beautiful pale golden color.  
On Your Nose:  When you stick your nose inside the glass, you’ll be amazed at the mineral, stony quality that greets you. 
Discovery: Imagine this wine on an afternoon picnic with roasted chicken and the sweet/tart flavors of potato salad.  In other words, “darling, drink me.”
’08 Astruc Viognier, Languedoc, France                                                            
$9.99 
I call this a “Winter White”.  More suited for cooler weather because of it’s complexity.  Six months, partially fermented in oak barrels, which gives a bit of creaminess, but not at the risk of losing its great acidity. 
Looks:  Golden colored. 
On Your Nose:  Remindful of those candles with hints of honeyed bee’s wax  — like the really sexy ones from Neiman-Marcus — according to Rob at Du Vin Wine & Spirits in West Hollywood.   
In Your Mouth:  Elegant peach and citrus crisp and lip-smacking dry. 
Discovery:   You can drink winter white wine in winter, while wearing winter white.  This wine embraces spicy food and savory cool-weather meals.
AND, NOW FOR THE AROUND $13.00 WINES, WHICH IN TODAY’S ECONOMY ARE THE NEW $10.00 WINES:
  

’07 SORIN, Provence, France                                                                    
$12.99
In 1994, Luc Sorin, went south (young man) from Burgundy to make his wine in Bandol.  Today, he farms his 30 acres 100% organically, making dark, almost black, rich red wines. He’s created a new way of fermentation, inventing huge, rotating, wooden fermentation casks. It’s his belief that this is the secret to the quality of his wines.  The wines are not fined or filtered, so don’t be surprised to find a bit of sediment in your glass.
Looks:  This wine is mostly of Grenache and Syrah.  Garnet with Ruby highlights. 
On Your Nose:  You’ll smell the warm days, sunshine and herbs that grow wild in the area, such as lavender and thyme. 
In Your Mouth:  The wine is packed full of red-berries and you can be sure this will set up nicely with any savory or robust meal.
Discovery:   According to no less an authority than Robert Parker, Jr., “Luc Sorin is one of the most exciting winegrowers the South of France has to offer, with wines of exceptional quality to be bought now before the price goes up.”
’08 CANTELE PRIMITIVO SALENTO, Puglia, Italy                                               
$12.99
So, this is the original Zinfandel.  In Italy, it goes by its Italian name: Primitivo.
Looks:  Here is a purple-ruby colored wine.
On Your Nose:  Blueberries and jam
In Your Mouth:  An earthy back flavor of strawberry and blueberry.  Its medium body still gives a very satisfying finish. 
Discovery: You could even put a bottle into the refrigerator for about 5-7 minutes, just before you pour and wash down your dinner of tasting-better-the-second-day left-overs.
‘06, MEURGEY VOUVRAY, Loire, France                                                            
$12.99 
This is a lingerie wine. The grape is Chenin Blanc. The name even sounds like lingerie!
Looks:  The color is a pale to medium gold. 
On Your Nose:  Aromas of melon, honeysuckle with a flirt of meringue. 
In Your Mouth:  Light and springy with lots of fruit.  The finish is not sweet, but dry and refreshing. Tames spicy foods.
Discovery: This is one good glass to come home to and an even better glass while taking a bath.  Oh, you want to have something to nibble on?  How about creamy cheese, or Chinese or Indian food ?
Contributor’s website: Splash Pros
 
(image credits: Photo #1 – $10.00 American bill: courtesy: tmonews.com, Photo #2 – Open Bottle Red Wine, 2 glasses courtesy: iClipart,Photo #3 – Luzon Verde label courtesy:  Luzon Verde Winery, Photo #4 – Masciarelli Vineyards courtesy: Vigneti Masciarelli, Photo #5 – Claude Val Bottle courtesy: Paul Mas Wines,
Photo #6 – Sparkling wine glasses at sunset courtesy:  iClipart, Photo #7 – Couple toasting with white wine
courtesy: iClipart, Photo #8 – White wine pouring / outdoor table courtesy: iClipart, Photo #9 – Red wine splashing into a glass courtesy: looking-beautiful.org, Photo #10 – Lingerie Glasses courtesy: wineracksuperstore.com)

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