Two good-value wines
Having begun this week with a visit to the bargain basement (with Monday's investigation of the $2 Charles Shaw wines), let's finish up with a quick look at a couple of wines that don't go quite that low but that stay safely in the good-value range under $10.
Extra points for figuring out the geographical source of Prosperity Red on the first try. This affordable item, with its tongue-in-cheek label that evokes the come-back spirit of the Great Depression, is an Argentine Malbec, but the wine is shipped in bulk from the Mendoza region to be bottled and labeled by Firestone Vineyard at Los Olivos on California's Central Coast. (You may note here another parallel with the Charles Shaw wines, which are also produced anonymously to be bottled under the vendor's label.)
The second wine of the day, more straightforward in its labeling and a few dollars more, is made by Jacques and François Lurton in France, producers of a wide variety of wines and labels from many countries. The name Terra Sana is Italian (it means "Healthy Earth"), but the wine is French, from the Charentais region of Cognac. The name reflects the wine's organic status; it's made, the back label pledges, "under strict organic principles ... without the use of pesticides, herbicides or artificial fertilizers."
NEW IN WINE REPORTS: Based on suggestions many of you made after my recent articles about when wines will benefit from aging - and when they won't - I have added a new line to my tasting reports. "WHEN TO DRINK" will include my opinion about whether the featured wine will benefit from aging, assuming reasonably good storage conditions. Bear in mind, however, that the affordable wines I usually discuss here are rarely intended for long-term cellaring.
Prosperity Red Wine ($6.79)
This Argentine Malbec is shipped to the U.S. in bulk to be bottled and labeled in California. Very dark garnet in color, it offers simple and plummy black fruit aromas with hints of spice. Simple but enjoyable in flavor, ripe plums with ample acidity to balance. U.S. importer: Prosperity Wines (Firestone), Los Olivos, Calif. (Jan. 22, 2003)
FOOD MATCH: Made a fine match, as Argentine Malbec generally does, with a hot pizza, this one topped with black olives and cheese.
VALUE: Good value for this price.
WHEN TO DRINK: It will hold up for a year or so, but not for cellaring. Drink soon.
WEB LINK: http://www.prosperitywines.com/.
Terra Sana 2001 Vin de Pays Charentais ($9.99)
This is a clear, pale straw-color wine, loaded with ripe, appealing pear and starfruit aromas. Very full and ripe in flavor, the first taste almost seems sweet, but bright and snappy citric lemon-lime brings it into balance on the palate. Quenching, good with food, another white wine to be drunk up while it's young and fresh. U.S. importer: Ex Cellars Wine Agencies Inc., Solvang, Calif. (Jan. 15, 2003)
FOOD MATCH: A good cross-cultural match with bratwurst and sauerkraut and potato pancakes.
VALUE: Competitive at the $10 point.
WHEN TO DRINK: Best when fresh: Enjoy it this year.
WEB LINK: The producer's movie-style Website at
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Friday, Jan. 24, 2003