Today's Sponsor:
 California Wine Club

In This Issue
 The lure of the new Trying the odd and unusual in the world of wine.
 Tenuta le Querce 2000 "Il Viola" Aglianico del Vulture ($15.99) A Southern "food wine," plummy and warm, tannic and tart.
 California Wine Club Join the Club and earn a free gift set for Mother's Day!
 This week on A visit to VinItaly.
Last Week's Wine Advisor Index Links to recent articles in the Wine Advisor archives.
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The lure of the new

In a world divided between wine lovers who enjoy returning to the same old favorites and those who can't get enough of the strange, offbeat and new, I keep my feet planted firmly on both sides of the fence.

Of course I love the old familiar wines, and whether it's a Chianti or a Burgundy or a good California Cabernet, a taste that brings back memories of wines enjoyed over the years will always make me smile.

But I can't deny an utter infatuation with new and different wine experiences, as a quick review of Wine Advisor topics over just the past couple of weeks will reveal. In that short period alone, I've delighted in Sicilian Inzolia and Nero d'Avola, Puglian Negroamaro and Aglianico from Campania and even the truly offbeat Pineau d'Aunise of the Touraine.

It's hard for me to say whether I get more enjoyment out of the comfort of the familiar or the excitement of the new, and so I think I'll just keep on having it both ways.

In our latest Wine Lovers' Voting Booth, online today, we offer you an opportunity to share your "wish list" of offbeat and unusual wines that you haven't tasted yet but would like to try. I hope you'll take a moment to drop by the Voting Booth to check off the varieties that intrigue you:

And of course, any time you want to talk about wine, you're always welcome to join in the conversations about wine in our interactive Wine Lovers' Discussion Group.

If you prefer to comment privately, feel free to send me E-mail at I'll respond personally to the extent that time and volume permit.

And now, let's stay in the "offbeat varieties" mode for today's tasting report. It's another Aglianico, similar to the wine from Taburno in Campania that I featured among others on April 7, but this one is from Vulture (named after an extinct volcano) in Basilicata, the "sole" of the Italian "boot."

Tenuta le Querce Tenuta le Querce 2000 "Il Viola" Aglianico del Vulture ($15.99)

Very dark reddish-purple, this Southern Italian wine's hearty character shows in an almost blackish color in the glass. Warm and plummy aromas are accented by a note of licorice. Mouth-filling black-fruit flavors, plums and prunes, are structured by tart acidity and smooth tannins. A touch of oak adds a slight earthy quality, but fruit is dominant, with a snappy tang that goes well with food. U.S. importer: VIAS Imports Ltd., NYC. (April 18, 2004)

FOOD MATCH: A versatile food wine, it pairs easily with grilled red meats, roast poultry or cheeses, and went just as well with a meatless option, a light-style variation on Alfredo-sauced pasta, accented with fresh sage.

VALUE: It's worth paying this upper-teens price once to try a very fine wine from an offbeat variety and region; but the local price I paid is well above the median for this item, with vendors in some parts of the U.S. offering it at more competitive prices under $15.

WHEN TO DRINK: No rush to drink this one, as fruit, acidity and tannins in balance suggest it might gain complexity with another two to five years under good storage conditions.

WEB LINK: The winery Website,
appears to be currently offline. The U.S. importer's fact sheet on the "Il Viola" Aglianico is here:

FIND THIS WINE ONLINE: The U.S. importer lists distributors by state on this page:

Locate vendors and compare prices for the wines of Tenuta le Querce at,

California Wine Club

California Wine Club: Free gift set for Mother's Day!

Mother's Day is May 9, and for the first time ever The California Wine Club is offering a $70 Wine Gift Set - Free!

Place a Mother's Day Gift of three months or more, and in the first shipment Mom will receive two bottles of award-winning California wine, an 8-page newsletter, Wine Fundamentals DVD, a set of Wine Charms and an Engraved Wooden Collector's Wine Crate. It's a $70 value, absolutely free. Each month is just $32.95 plus shipping and will include two bottles of wine hand-selected by club owners Bruce and Pam Boring, as well as their entertaining 8-page newsletter, Uncorked. There's never any bulk, closeout or private label wine and every wine is 100 percent guaranteed.

To order this special Mother's Day Gift Set call 1-800-777-4443 and be sure to mention The 30 Second Wine Advisor.

This week on

Here are links to some of our recently published articles that I think you'll enjoy:

Guide to Italian Wines: VinItaly 2004
If you're going to attend VinItaly, the huge five-day wine fair in Verona every April, you need to remember a few things. Drink lots of water, wear comfortable shoes and don't even try to think that you'll taste as many wines as you would like. More than 4,000 wineries are pouring here, and there's no way to taste them all. Italian wine expert Tom Hyland gave it an honest try, though, and he's back from Verona with this extensive tasting report, featuring the wines he enjoyed the most from eight major Italian wine regions.

Wine Lovers' Discussion Group: Are wine lovers presumptuous?
Wine lover Kurt M. finds it puzzling that any wine lover would be so presumptuous as to ask a restaurateur to permit diners to bring in their own wine to be opened and served at the table. On our Wine Lovers' Discussion Group last week, he asked, "Why would anyone want to bring his or her own bottle(s) of wine to a restaurant? Better yet, why would a restaurant allow customers to bring their own bottle of wine?" Needless to say, this question sparked quite a debate. To read the discussion, and join in if you like, click to

Last Week's Wine Advisor Index

The Wine Advisor's daily edition is usually distributed on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays (and, for those who subscribe, the FoodLetter on Thursdays). Here's the index to last week's columns:

 Merlot and more (April 16, 2004)

 Offbeat Sicilian white (April 14, 2004)

 Austria revisited (April 12, 2004)

 Complete 30 Second Wine Advisor archive:

 Wine Advisor FoodLetter: Spareribs from France and Italy (April 15, 2004)

 Wine Advisor Foodletter archive:


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All the wine-tasting reports posted here are consumer-oriented. In order to maintain objectivity and avoid conflicts of interest, I purchase all the wines I rate at my own expense in retail stores and accept no samples, gifts or other gratuities from the wine industry.

Monday, April 19, 2004
Copyright 2004 by Robin Garr. All rights reserved.

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