01/29/10 – Recent Wine and Champagne Experiences

Astor Wines and Spirits is an oasis in a city filled with overpriced alcohol.  Not only is their selection unrivaled, but their prices simply can’t be beat.  The also tend to purchase wine from a great number of small importers.  This allows us to experience some very small vintners that you can get nowhere else in the U.S.  And finally, the icing on the cake:  Top 10 under $10.  They choose 10 different bottles (a mix of white and red), of which 2 are doubled, for a unique case of 12 wines that always comes in at around $80 a month.  It simply cannot be beat for the wine drinker who is searching for incredible value at a great price.  Now that I am done with my unpaid testimonial for Astor W&S, I will move on to some of the recent wine and champagne we have had over the past week or two.

This Sangiovese Toscana from Le Chiantigiane came in at a whopping $5.99 and tasted like it cost much more than that.  I love Sangiovese.  In fact, it is probably my favorite varietal from Italy.  This bottle, although incredibly cheap, was delicious!  The tasting notes from Astor mentioned “soft cherries”, which couldn’t be more accurate.   This Sangiovese went down very easily and had the qualities I like in an every day drinking wine (cheap, delicious, and not over the top with tannins).

This week was all about the cheap wine.  Usually when you get to the under $7 mark, your options become extremely limited.  What a surprise then when I find this Colli Vincentini Cabernet Sauvignon for a whole $3.99 a bottle.  That’s entering Mad Dog 20/20 territory, people!  The best thing about a $3.99 bottle of wine is if it is absolutely rank, you can pour it down the drain without much guilt.  We were so happy when it turned out to be a completely drinkable bottle of red wine.  Like the Sangiovese above, it was very mellow/soft, making it a perfect wine to have without food.  I also used a bottle of this to make the Beef Burgundy last week (scroll down for details).

What can I say about the widow Clicquot?  She’s a foxy ol’ girl, but how I love her.  Veuve Clicquot is one of the premier Champagne producers in France and the orange-yellow labeled bottle is probably one of the most easily recognized labels on the market.  Usually a bottle runs around $40-$50, but when I lived in Colorado they were on sale for $24.99 so I had to buy a case.