SIP: The weather has cooled slightly, but there’s still lots of time for rosé, including Julián Chivite’s 2009 Gran Feudo Rosado from the Navarra region of Spain. It had been a few years since I tasted this wine, and I was reminded the other day just how delicious it is for all of $10 (that’s what I paid for it, but I’m sure you can find it for even less). Made from the garnacha (grenache) grape, with notes of cherry, cassis and spice. It’s great on its own and will match with lots of foods, including chicken, duck, tuna and bluefish. Alcohol 13 percent. Imported by Spain Wine Collection, Congers, New York.
SIP: Natura is a line of wines made with organically grown grapes by Viñedos Emiliana in Chile’s Valle Central. The other day I got around to tasting the 2008 Natura Cabernet Sauvignon. This is superb, inexpensive cabernet (Wine-Searcher.com lists it from $8 to $12) and is superior to almost all cabs from California at this price. It’s 85 percent cabernet with 10 percent carmenere and smaller amounts of cabernet franc and malbec. It shows good varietal character with notes of blackberry, black cherry, mocha and some herbal overtones. Well balanced, moderately tannic and ready to drink (I enjoyed it slightly chilled). Alcohol 14 percent. Imported by Royal Imports, Old Brookville, New York. (Received as a press sample.)
SIP: With Italian-style tomato sauces, I am partial to Italian wines, and one of my recent favorites is Fontanafredda’s 2008 “Briccotondo” Barbera from the Piedmont region. I’ve bought it twice recently in New York and Long Island, paying $15 each time. The other night we enjoyed it with a simple sauce created from a big bag of “seconds” tomatoes I bought for $2 at one of the local farm stands, some basil and parsley. I tossed the pasta into the sauce in a cast-iron skillet, sprinkled some grated mozzarella cheese on top and then broiled it for a few minutes to create a wonderful crusty top. Our whole meal (for six people) cost about $10 or so and the Briccotondo was the perfect accompaniment with its ample acidity and notes of cherry, blueberry and earth. A good, inexpensive barbera like this one is just made for simple, fresh tomato sauces that we are lucky enough to make at this time of year. Alcohol 13.5 percent. Imported by Domaine Select Wine Estates, New York.