La Spinetta 2017 “Il Nero di Casanova” Toscana Sangiovese ($19.99)
Made in the Tuscan style from 100% sustainably farmed Sangiovese, La Spinetta “Il Nero di Casanova” offers an excellent representation of the region and the variety. Very dark purple with a thin garnet edge, it breathes characteristic Sangiovese aromas of ripe cherries and dried cherries and a whiff of peppery spice. The aromas carry over on the palate in a delicious flavor that frames the cherries and spice with the firm acidic structure, soft tannins, and rational 13.5% alcohol that make Tuscan reds such good companions at the dinner table. U.S. importer: Indigenous Selections, LLC, Fort Lauderdale, Fla. (Dec. 24, 2021)
FOOD MATCH: The winery suggests pheasant casserole, which I doubt many of us will find on our tables, and spaghettone cacio e pepe, which sounds just fine. We did a stereotypical dinner of spaghetti with tomato sauce and were delighted with the match.
WHEN TO DRINK: It’s fully enjoyable now, but should keep for up to five years and possibly longer if you have good, temperature-controlled cellar conditions.
It’s a fine value in a Tuscan Sangiovese at Wine-Searcher.com’s $19 average U.S. retail and my $20 local price tag.
Importer Indigenous Selections offers a detailed fact sheet on La Spinetta In Nero di Casanova at this link.
The image links are broken, but you’ll find more technical information here on the winery website.
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Saint-Hilaire 2019 Blanquette de Limoux ($14.99)
Saint-Hilaire Blanquette de Limoux is a traditionally made sparkling blend of 90% Mauzac (Mo-zock), a regional white grape from the French Pyrennees, with splashes of 5% Chenin Blanc and 5% Chardonnay. A clear bright straw-color wine, it pours with a frothy mousse that falls back fast, but abundant bubbles persist. Its aroma evokes fresh green apples, juicy and appetizing, with a light yeasty back note. The appley flavor carries over on the palate with a fizzy, creamy mouthfeel, adding subtle citric touches of mandarin orange over a tart acidic structure. 12.5% alcohol. U.S. importer: Jack Poust & Company Inc., NYC. (Dec. 25, 2021)
FOOD MATCH: Bubbly is always good for sipping alone, yet it can also be versatile with a range of flavors. We enjoyed it with the many offerings on a holiday party buffet.
WHEN TO DRINK: It should keep well for two or three years in its pressurized bottle, but there’s no benefit from cellaring. Drink up, and buy it again next year.
Particularly when compared with run-of-the-mill Champagne, Saint-Hilaire Blanquette de Limoux offers a resounding value for sparkling wine. Wine-Searcher.com lists a $13 average U.S. retail price. I highly recommend it for New Year’s Eve or any time a bubbly is in order.
Here’s a detailed tech sheet from importer Jack Poust.
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