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Saturday, January 30, 2010

Cheap Trick: Add $5 to the value of your pizza wine

We're not exactly wine snobs- in fact, you could call us cheap tipplers. Many trips to wine producing parts of the world have taught us that it's not unreasonable to expect to be able to pick up a good tinto for only a little dinero. However, as we all know, achieving this on a daily basis is a little difficult. So we've become quite proficient at seeking out plonk that is the best value for dollar.

Given our frugality we thought we would be the last to be extolling the virtues of Riedel stemware. Our minds were changed, however, thanks to the recent availability on a semi-regular basis of these babies at Winners. We became the proud owners of matching sets of two models from the economical "wine" series. (OK, confession- we thought we were buying white & red glasses when in fact both were for red, a fact pointed out by a little after-sale research. And we further confess to continuing to use the Syrah model for blancos)

Pinot Noir-Nebbiolo model at top and Syrah-Shiraz (& occasional white) model at bottom

Lets face it, we don't always drink Pinot Noirs or Syrahs, so how does one know which glass is appropriate for which other wine? Riedel has a very useful website for selecting the correct bowl shape. Of course, Riedel has a glass for every wine variety know to mankind and would like you to own a half dozen of each, but we've found that so far the two shapes we own are pretty versatile. And here's where that $5 comes in.

Last evening we uncorked a nice Spanish Monastrell to have with our pizza. Not being familiar with the grape's attributes, we consulted Riedel's guide. Hmmm, no Monastrell. A quick Google search indicated that Monastrell goes by the name Mourvèdre in some parts. Well, a good French name can usually be found on Riedel's page, & sure enough, there it was.

If you check the link you'll see that the recommended glass is similar (though not exactly the same) as the Pinot Noir bowl. We decided a taste test was in order.

And the winner is:
Pinot Noir-Nebbiolo! (as recommended)
While the wine in the Syrah bowl was perfectly quaff-able, in comparison to the Pinot bowl it tasted a bit of stems or pips. The Pinot glass brought out more sophistication & a subtle hint of cherry. There is no question that a perfectly decent wine for $12.95 had become a little gem that we would associate with a price tag of $15-17.

Juan Gil Gos Monastrell 2008, Jumilla region, Spain $12.95 here in Ontario

Of course this was not our first of such taste tests; it's now a regular occurrence around our home when there's any doubt. It adds a little fun, and definitely boosts the bang of your hard-earned-wine-buying buck. Try it- you'll be amazed at at the difference the proper glass can make!


  1. Appreciate the info about the glassware...I have lived in disbelief that all of those shapes were necessary and that it was a plot of the manufacturers to claim more real estate in my cupboards.I will be keeping your suggestions in mind the next time I shop for stemwear.
    I have a few favorite reds to share with you. With the decline of our economy, like everyone else I had to consider where and how I spent my shrinking $$$$$$. Moving a glass of wine to the "not any more" list just wasn't an option so I started trying out the $10.00 or less "vintages". I have 3 reds that I think are excellent value for the money.
    2 Spanish....Castillo de Monseran, soft, full flavoured and fruity
    La Casona, full bodied, nice fruits and berries flavor
    An Italian, Negromaro Rosso Salento, dark, spicy, hearty.....this one really needs to breathe or maybe that's "pant" at this price point. Also excellent to cook with...I made braised beef short ribs and it added a beautiful layer of flavor to the sauce.
    Salut! ellelle

  2. Yep,
    Castillo de Monseran is a favourite of ours as well. Great value for $8.95.
    Thanks, ellelle

  3. hey b and j...further to that wine list, I had something else from the same label as the Negroamaro Rosso Salento (the label being MezzoMondo). A Sangiovese Merlot which is equally delicious in a comletely different way. Extremely full-bodied and rich it is a truly spicy one...vanilla, licorice and chocolate...delish! again needs a good amout of breathing to get it rocking! and all for $8.95.....yeah baybee!

  4. Thx elle.elle,
    we'll need to check that baybee out