Another label from The Wine Group that has been proliferating on the shelves of my local stores is It’s A Head Snapper. I have to say that this label is a true example of just how global the wine business has become. The folks at It’s A Head Snapper source their wines from all over the world. Appropriately, then, they went to Italy to get this Pinot Grigio and bring it to my grocery store.
Winemaker: It’s A Head Snapper
Wine: Pinot Grigio delle Venezie
Appellation: Venezie IGT, Italy
Notes: The color of this wine was so light, I’d call it a hint of yellow. Like it’s hue, the bouquet was very faint with gentle citrus and floral notes. It was characteristically light-bodied with high acidity that created a slight feeling of effervescence on the tongue. At 12.5% alcohol this PG is just a little off dry, but the acidity helps balance that out. On the palate I tasted almond, bitter orange, grass, and citrus peel. It was definitely enjoyable – even fun to drink. I think, perhaps, it was a bit overpriced at twenty dollars. Something tells me it must be available for less at other retailers. In which case, I’d buy it again.
When I grabbed this off the shelves, I’d only had one other single varietal wine made with Carménère grapes. That was the Anakena Carménère that I’d had while on travel over a year ago. Clearly, then, it was high time to take the plunge once again.
Wine: Carménère Reserva, Santa Ana Vineyard
Appellation: Colchagua Valley, Chile DO
Price: $7.99 at Trader Joe’s
Notes: In the glass this Chilean was a deep, dark red. In the bouquet I detected scents of menthol, tea leaf, rubber, and cherry. It was medium-bodied with good acidity and alcohol at 13.5%. I thought the tannins were medium and fairly aggressive in their onset/grip. Flavors I found included rubber, black cherry, pepper, menthol and ash with a dose of bitters. All in all, I thought it was an OK wine but not at all balanced. If you choose to grab a bottle, I would serve it with a beef or perhaps lamb dish that would stand up to the rubber, menthol and bitters in this wine’s flavor profile.
Back in mid December when we’d gotten our holiday tree and were ready to devote an evening to decorating, I perused my small stock of wine for something light and easy to accompany our efforts. Goodness knows tree decorating can sometimes (read: often) be a challenge for me. Making sure the lights are working. If they aren’t, finding spare bulbs. Then getting the strands on the tree in an evenly dispersed yet naturalistic and harmoniously relaxed way. And that’s all before the decorations come out to play because lights always go on first in our house. No pressure. No pressure at all. Ha! Yes, tree decorating in my house is a tradition that takes time, consideration, and patience. Much like the enjoyment of wine, it is an experience to be savored not rushed. And no matter the result, it’s really all about doing it together.
Winemaker: Villa Sonia
Varietal: Pinot Grigio
Appellation: Venezia DOC – Piave, Italy
Price: $5.99 @ Trader Joe’s
Notes: The color of this wine was a light Tuscan yellow. On the nose I caught scents of apple, citrus and spice. Acidity was high, and it was light on the tongue. Flavors I detected included pear, some apple, spice notes, a tart citrus and citrus zest on the finish. If I had to do it again, I wouldn’t sip this by itself. Seems like it’s high acidity and citrus notes beg for a food pairing. Don’t have anything in mind, but maybe you will if you decide to give this one a go.
First time I had a glass of Mark West Pinot Noir was during late night happy hour at Old Ebbitt’s Grill in Washington, DC. Old Ebbitt’s is an institution in the nation’s Capitol. It is located steps from the White House and has the distinction of being Washington’s oldest bar and restaurant. Although it isn’t in the same location as when first opened in the late 18th century, you can feel the history when you walk in the door. And you get the feeling that history is still being made there. The grill attracts an eclectic clientele from Washington power elite to international tourists to locals looking for a place to kibitz after a show at one of the outstanding area theaters.
Vineyard: Mark West
Wine: Pinot Noir
Notes: I’d call the color of this Pinot a medium ruby. On the fairly subtle nose I found scents of strawberry, blueberry and earth. It was a light-bodied selection with good acidity. Flavors for me were strawberry, a touch of blueberry, tea, and a hint of mushroom. The finish was quite tart – zippy even.