Sangue di Giuda
One of the most harmlessly perverse joys of wine for me, as regular readers will surely know by now, is the pleasure of discovering another offbeat and unusual wine, one that comes from an exotic grape or region, delivers an unexpected aroma and flavor profile, or carries a charming story.
"Judas's Blood"? What kind of a wine name is that!
Enrica Verdi, with Azienda Bruno Verdi, the seven-generation family producer of today's featured wine, responded (in English, thankfully) to my E-mail question: "Local legend has it that the name ... was given by friars who disapproved of its stimulating and aphrodisiac effects. Today, Sangue di Giuda is enjoyed as a country wine but still - so itís said - enjoy its more 'exciting' attributes!"
Don't look for an alcoholic knockout effect from Sangue di Giuda, though. This wine draws its party style not from full body or strength but from a light (7.5 percent alcohol), slightly sweet and frothy character that invites quaffing, laughing and maybe a round or two of karaoke.
And there's no need to let the gory name nor the story of Judas's betrayal get you down: This odd but amiable little wine comes from a vineyard named ... Paradiso.
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Bruno Verdi 2004 "Sangue di Giuda" "Paradiso" Oltrepò Pavese ($11.99)
Very dark reddish-purple, almost black; a line of bubbles circles the edge of the glass. Intriguing sweet dried-fruit aromas are reminiscent of spice cake, an impression borne out by a flavor that's both sweet and tart, with dried-fruit and spice character that follows the nose, a gentle prickle on the tongue and a hint of hot cinnamon candies in the finish. Odd but intriguing. I suggest serving it slightly chilled. U.S. importer: Rosenthal Wine merchant, NYC. (Sept. 16, 2005)
FOOD MATCH: Like the Lambrusco that it somewhat resembles, this light and slightly sweet wine invites a non-traditional match with hot-and-spicy fare. It paired beautifully with a Cajun-style sausage and seafood gumbo.
VALUE: No qualms at all about this unusual and intriguing wine at the $12 price point.
WHEN TO DRINK: Its fresh, frothy fruit is best enjoyed while the wine is young. Drink it up this year, then look for the 2005.
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Wednesday, Oct. 5, 2005