Category Archives: Table wine

Montupoli Red Wine 2008 -Abruzzo, Italy

I’ll warn all of you ahead of time this review is going to be brutal. So if you’re squeamish turn away now. There will be blood and guts everywhere by the time I am done.

I bought this wine to pair up with a recipe of Pasta Bolognese that I intended to make for company that was coming (I had a nice vegetarian version up my sleeve by the way). The recipe called for a robust red wine and I also wanted a nice Italian wine to drink with the meal. So, of course, I headed to my local Total Wine store.

At the store I was assisted in my wine selection by one of their wine experts (though she was new to me so I knew I was taking a risk. I know a few people there that never steer me wrong…she wasn’t one of them I later found out.) I told her my requirements and she immediately suggested this ‘lovely’ Montupoli wine from Abruzzo, Italy. She said she always has this wine when she has Italian food. I trusted her! I also was intrigued by the fact that the wine was made with Sangiovese grapes. ‘How could that be bad?’ I thought to myself!

She also suggested a cheaper Chilean Cabernet Sauvignon (to be reviewed at a later date) for the recipe itself because no one really wants to cook with a more expensive wine after all. So with my treasures in hand I skipped home to start my cooking. Once home I discovered that my guest was not coming and so I put off the meal for another day.

A few days later I decided to open this ‘lovely’ Montupoli wine from Abruzzo, Italy and really enjoy it. I opened the bottle and I at once was not ‘at one’ with the smell. ‘Maybe that’s just the Sangiovese grapes’ I told myself. I bravely poured myself a glass and took a sip. It was HORRIBLE! I can’t even tell you what it tasted like but it was unlike any wine I’ve ever tasted. It actually tasted like it was formulated in a chemical plant to me. Absolutely AWFUL! This, my friends, is the first wine in a long time that I actually labeled ‘Undrinkable’. I saved it in my refrigerator with the hopes of at least cooking with it but I can’t bring myself to do that at all. It will be dumped…right after I finish writing this.

So my rating is this…I give it a rating of 4. It gets 2 points for having a cork rather than a screw top and 2 points for the mere fact that it was imported from Italy.

Maybe I got a bad bottle. That’s always a possibility but I am gun shy now and I probably won’t be trying another bottle of this wine any time soon. It was a wasted $9.99 in my opinion.

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Interesting Wine Facts: Fact #1 – Serve at Room Temperature

Here I would like to introduce you to a new series of posts called ‘Interesting Wine Facts’. This is where I will share a few interesting facts that I’ve learned about wines recently. So without further ado here’s fact #1.

FACT #1: Red wine should be served at a temperature of 65 degrees.

Most people have heard that red wine should be served at room temperature and never put in the fridge. The fact is that in the old days in European wine country that was indeed true and for the most part is still true however, ‘room temperature’ there is different then say here in Florida. If I serve my red wine at room temperature you’re going to get a nice hot wine most of the time.

The fact is that it is best to serve wines at their suggested temperature rather than some arbitrary, nondescript instruction of ‘serve at room temperature’. The actual  serving temperature for most red wines is 65 degrees F. If you are in a cooler  climate you probably can achieve that by leaving the wine at ‘room temperature’ but if you’re in a warmer climate it’s perfectly okay to put the bottle in the refrigerator for an hour or so, use a bucket of ice to chill it for 15 to 20 minutes, or any other method to get it to reach its optimal temperature. No one is going to take your head off for doing that especially if they really know their wines.

Frey Natural Red Organic Wine – California

In my quest to check out organic wines and find something that my other half can drink I found this nice bottle of biodynamic red table wine.

The color was bright, clear red/garnet and it swear I smelled cherries.

I found the flavor to be well balanced, mellow and light bodied with a slight taste of cherries, chocolate and could that be licorice? I don’t even like licorice but I swear I tasted it a bit and I didn’t mind. 🙂 This wine also had a slightly dry and long lasting finish.

Overall I found it to be a really nice, pleasant wine that would go with just about any meal particularly a vegetarian one.

We had this wine on New Year’s Eve with a few wonderful recipes that I found. We started off the evening with a Hot Spinach Red Pepper Dip from Allrecipes.com. The main course was a nice polenta dish called Polenta and Vegetable Bake from Eatingwell.com and later we followed it up with a desert that allowed me use some of the pumpkin flesh that I got by sacrificing my Thanksgiving pumpkin. It was a tasty Pumpkin Parfait from Cooks.com though if I were to make it again I would make it a little sweeter (not much but a little bit).

Buzz factor: I would give it a 4. It didn’t have that much of a kick but it was nice and mellow.

Likability factor: I gave it an 8. It’s a nice wine that didn’t give my other half a headache and it tasted really nice. We will probably get this wine from time to time.

Price: $9.59

So that’s it for today. Stay tuned for Wednesday’s post on something I am sure will be really informative and change your life so don’t miss it…okay, I don’t know if it will REALLY change your life but it might, who knows? See you then.