Feb 27, 2012

Italian Wine Night

I visited my local liquor store in hopes of finding some good value wines.  A couple of friends were coming over for a games night, as I am a big board games person, and we decided to combine it with a wine evening.  Our games of choice for the evening were Say Anything and Telepaths - both pair quite well with wine!

I noticed in the liquor store had a Smart Buys section, located at the end of each of the isles.  I was excited to see what amazing deals they had featured here.  I highly recommend that the next time you visit a British Columbia liquor store, you ask a sales representative if they have this kind of section.  If they do, ask for a recommendation!  I did, and not only did the sales rep suggestion multiple bottles, she also gave suggestions for pairing and decanting tips.  I generally find that the staff in the BCLDB stores are extremely knowledgeable and full of great suggestions.

Based on the selection available, an Italian theme was selected.  I purchased 2 that were good values; a 2005 D'Alessandro Syrah for $16.79 (regular $23.99) and a 2010 Mandrarossa Fiano for $10.99 (regular $14.99).

I was a little hesitant about buying a 7-year old bottle of red from a liquor store, that was deeply discounted, but after speaking with the sales rep I felt confident that as long as the wine was decanted properly, this wine would be good.  Fiano was a somewhat unfamiliar variety but after a short lesson, I learned that it is an Italian grape that is known for intense flavour - I was intrigued.

Immediately after opening this bottle I was blown away with the bouquet.  It was extremely fragrant, with major hints of pineapple.  The colour was an intense golden one, much darker then wine I am used to drinking.   After the first couple of sips I was very unsure if I was a fan of this wine, however, the more I had, the more I really started to enjoy it.  Not only did it have the intense smell of pineapple, but the Fiano really tasted like it.  This wine would be great served with sushi, a salad or even chocolate cake.  I would rate this wine a 7/10.

The next wine that we tried was the 2005 D'Alessandro  Syrah.  I let this wine decant for close to 30 minutes before trying it, at which point we decided it tasted quite medicinal.  However, I swirled it for a couple of minutes, allowing it to breath and tried it again.  It tasted much better, so I used 2 decanters and poured the wine from one to the other, allowing more air to get into the wine.  Once we did this a few times it tasted much better.  This red was very full bodied and really lingered in my mouth.  I could taste hints of chocolate and berries.  However, it did have a bit of a bitter finish.  I am not sure if I would drink this wine again.  I would rate this wine a 4/10.

Tip: Invest in a decanter or a good wine aerator for when you drink red wine.  It really is amazing what a difference it makes when you allow the wine to breath.  I own a very inexpensive aerator that works great! There are many available at reasonable prices at Winners and Homesense, or even on ebay.

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