COLUMN BY PHILLIP SILVERSTONE
I’m writing this week’s column while the rest of the world is watching the Academy Awards on television. This year’s crop of contenders were probably the finest I’ve seen in years but the amount of hype, publicity and over exposure the elite group of award worthy actors and films attracted just bored me out of my skull. And that is precisely why I avoid wines that are seen in glossy magazines and on television commercials. If it’s over hyped it won’t be found in my glass. So let’s get down to a selection of nectar that did indeed find its way into my Dollar Store wine glass this past week and justifies a mention in this week’s award starved column (that’s because I don’t bother submitting my work for awards … I’d easily win each competition and then become over hyped myself and hate myself in the morning).
Let’s begin with Stemmari Baci Vivaci or “Lively Kisses” (Approximate price $14) from Sicily. The label is uninspired and unlikely to catch much attention on the shelf but when you pop open a bottle of this gentle fizz the bottle is transformed into a Cinderella going to the ball moment. Summer fruits dance in your mouth and the wine glides across the tongue as if it were a princess in glass slippers. The grape that produces this pretty little wine is called Grillo and if a Fairy Godmother exists, then Grillo is her name. Even a prince would enjoy these lively kisses.
I’ve had many mental blocks but I’d never had a Loveblock. But this past week when I opened a bottle of Loveblock Pinot Noir 2012 (Approx Price: $37). The wine comes from Central Otago in New Zealand’s South Island and a vineyard called: “Someone’s Darling” inspired by a legend that in the mid-1800s, the farmer who owned the land found the body of a young man on the property. He buried him and for the lack of name, identity or kin, he simply engraved on the coarse wooden cross “Someone’s Darling.” This Pinot spent just under a year of aging in old oak barrels and has more complexity than I expected and not too much to overwhelm me. The wine has those gorgeous red berries of summer on the palate and if ever I found the perfect wine for rack of lamb this organically certified wine is definitely the one.
I am always in the mood for a glass of red sparkling wine. And a splendid example of this dessert wine found it’s way into my throat this week. Fizz56 Brachetto (Approximate price: $21) is light, gorgeous to look at (especially if there’s a candle flickering on the table reflecting on the glass) and very fresh due to being fermented in stainless steel tanks which retain the original characteristics of the grape. It has been made for a younger generation of drinkers, but this Baby Boomer ain’t afraid to say he loves it to bits.
The Federalist Zinfandel 2013 from Lodi in California (Approximate price: $29) has a rather happy looking George Washington on its label. One must assume he had tasted a glass or two of this wine before having his drawing taken. This is a corking good wine and it’s not surprising given the blend of 93 percent Zinfandel and 7 percent Syrah. This Zin is full of ripe berry fruit, it has a rich opulence that I always want in the best bottlings of this grape variety and it begs to be enjoyed with food. I’d suggest a steak or a curry. Or maybe even sip it while sashaying down the Red Carpet.
Phillip Silverstone’s column appears each week in this publication. “Time Out With Phillip Silverstone” is a weekly two-hour podcast heard exclusively on TuneIn radio anytime and anywhere worldwide either on the free TuneIn app for all smart phones and tablets (Search: Phillip Silverstone) or online on Tunein at: http://bit.ly/1gY2Ht4. “Follow” the show for weekly updates. You can also LIKE Phillip on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Phillipsilverstone and follow him on Twitter: @wining