Tasting Note: What can $5 deliver?
It would be naive to expect great wine at this bargain-basement price, but if you believe, as I do, that life's too short to drink poor wine, can you find wine that's worth drinking in such a low-rent neighborhood?
Many cheap wines, sadly, fall into one of two broad categories: They're sound but boring, short on the complexity or flavor interest that makes wine special. Or they're frankly flawed, afflicted with unpleasant aromas that don't invite a taste.
But here and there you'll find an occasional niche of sound wines that simply sell cheap; wines that earn respect for what they are and have never sought higher status. One such realm is Montepulciano d'Abruzzo, a wine made from the Montepulciano grape in the Abruzzi, a Central Italian region on the Adriatic coast opposite Rome. Not to be confused with Vino Nobile di Montepulciano (which is not named after a grape but the town it's made in), this Montepulciano is a country cousin in an urbane world of wine: Simple but honest, capable of doing a day's work for a day's pay.
Here's one good example, found on sale locally for $5.49. If you've got others - not just "good enough for what it is" but good enough to put on your table and enjoy - let's hear about them! I hope you'll post a reply to this topic on our Wine Lovers' Discussion Group, http://www.wineloverspage.com/cgi-bin/sb/index.cgi?fn=1&tid=19338>, or send me E-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Casal Thaulero 1999 Montepulciano d'Abruzzo ($5.49)
FOOD MATCH: It was too hot to make a pizza, its natural companion, so I fashioned a "summer pizza" by making a pair of oversize pancakes with flour, egg and olive oil, topping them with a cool Greek salad of tomatoes, cucumbers, green peppers, black olives, feta cheese and fresh basil.
PRODUCER'S WEBSITE: http://isinet.it/abrunet/sapori/vino/thau/thau.htm (English)
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Wednesdabserug. 8, 2001