WINE OF THE MONTH
Mirassou Moscato 2015
The wine: Soft, semi-dry, fruit-filled white sipping wine
The grapes: 100 percent Moscato
The source: California
The verdict: Sometimes the old palate gets tired of full-bodied, dry, complex wines. Sometimes the old palate wants something sinfully tasty and just plain enjoyable to drink — no tannins, no subtle flavors of dark cherries or green apples. Allow me to present Mirassou’s Moscato. Nothing sophisticated about this one. It brings soft, pleasant flavors to the taste buds. Moscato is a grape — actually a whole family of grapes — with a distinctive nose and taste. It’s not the kind of wine to serve with a meal, but goes nicely with light cheeses and sliced fruit. Another nice thing about it is the low alcohol content of 7.5 percent, compared with 13 percent to 14 percent in most table wines. Chill it down, unscrew the cap, pour out a glass and sip away. It’s fun.
Price: About $12
Summer is a mere 20 days away. Time to start thinking about hot-weather quaffing.
Obviously Georgia summer is not a time for hefty reds or viscous, sweet dessert wine. So let’s review a parade of light, pink offerings, ranging from dry to semi-dry.
Dry rose wines are — excuse the term — hot items in the wine world. More are offered and consumed every year and, generally speaking, the quality level is way up. These are, for the most part, wines to be consumed with food.
One cautionary word. OK, a bunch of cautionary words. Try to avoid thinking of white zinfandel whenever you see or read about a pink or rose wine. Not all pink wines have that sweetish, fruity component that appeals to so many white zin fans.
VITIANO ROSATO 2015
This light offering comes from Umbria, the only Italian region with neither a coastline nor a border with a neighboring country. It’s in the heart of Italy and for years produced so-so wines.
This one is a real pleaser. It’s made from a blend of Sangiovese, merlot, cabernet sauvignon and aleatico grapes. It’s fermented and aged in stainless steel tanks to preserve the fruit character. This blend brings out good, dry fruit flavors.
Made by the respected producer Falesco, it’s a very nice food wine, dry enough to accompany seafood, chicken or veal dishes. About $14.
DARK HORSE LIMITED RELEASE ROSE 2015
This is a new value label from the good folks at E&J Gallo, who have produced a ton of fine wines over the decades. I was impressed with the fruitiness of the wine, while it retained a nearly dry character, making it suitable for partnering with food.
It is an interesting fruit blend: grenache, barbera, pinot gris and tempranillo, all
California-grown. I picked up a hint of roses in the nose.
This wine, too, gets the stainless steel treatment to keep it crisp and true to character. About $11.
Now, let’s hop over to Spain for a pair of roses. The following two come from one of Spain’s largest producers.
CUNE ROSADO 2015
The name actually is printed as CVNE, short for Compania Vinicola del Norte de Espana, but a typo many decades ago turned it into Cune (pronounced Coo-nay).
This rose is fruity, yet dry. It’s made from 100 percent tempranillo grapes, one of Spain’s finest, grown and harvested in the famous Rioja region. About $15.
VINA REAL ROSADO 2015
Here’s the big brother to the Cune Rosado. There is more structure to this wine, and I think that comes from blending some tempranillo with a lot of viura grapes, which are generally used to make some of Spain’s good white wines.
It, too, comes from Rioja. I noted a rip of ripe strawberry in the mouth. It is nothing sweet, but real strawberry.
This wine, to me, is the perfect choice for sipping while sitting on the porch at the end of the day. Of course, it’s a great match for lighter foods, including salads that are not heavy with vinegar. About $17.
DOMAIN DE BILA-HAUT LES VIGNES ROSE 2015
This beauty comes from famed Rhone winemaker Michel Chapoutier, but it’s from his lower-priced series of wines from France’s Roussillon region. It’s a blend of 55 percent grenache and 45 percent syrah. The result is a full-bodied rose, laced with bold fruit flavors, such as raspberry. It’s definitely a food wine. About $16.
PINETTI NOTTE ROSE 2014
I found this lovely little wine on a supermarket shelf in the Gainesville area. I tried finding more about it online, but pretty much struck out. That’s too bad, because I like this pink, fruity wine from Sicily.
Don’t know what grapes go into it, although I’m guessing some Nero D’Avola and Grillo, dominant varieties in Sicily. This one is just a tad fruitier (some might say sweeter) than the others. But I think that’s more a result of the fruit than the sugar level.
In any case, it’s a nice, friendly little wine. About $14.
Randall Murray is a Gainesville-area resident. Have a question about wine? He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org. His column appears on the first Wednesday of the month and on www.gainesvilletimes.com/life.