Guest blog post #3 from author @thevinofile
I’ve never truly understood when people talk about transitioning to their white wine porch sippers as the warm weather approaches in late spring. It’s not that I don’t like white wine, and certainly it gets hot early here in Southern California, it is just that I’ve never really had a porch. You see in L.A. where real estate averages over $300 a square foot a small porch can cost a guy $20,000 – so most of your “20-something” years are spent in a rental. In the natural So Cal rental progression one starts with a dirty balcony that overlooks a busy street, and then upgrades to a duplex in which your shared porch is completely overrun by the neighbor lady’s cactus collection. Both the lady and the cactuses are probably covered by rent-control so it is inevitable that you will be gone long before the succulents. The setting has the potential to kill the relaxation, thus I have in the past tended to skip the summer sippers.
This year is going to be different. This will be the first summer where I have my very own porch, and I do not intend to let it go to waste. I have realized that when calculated into my mortgage this porch costs me about $6.23 a day, so I need to find some wines that won’t break my budget. I went around town looking for a variety of wines at slightly different price points but all under $15 and put them each to the test:
Mezzacorona Chardonnay 2008 Vigneti delle Domlomiti – This wine from the Venice region in Italy offers green apple and yeasty bread on the nose. Across the palette there is some fresh citrus and tart apple. It finishes a little short with some subtle acid. The wine is refreshing, if not special, but retailing for between $5 and $10 it fits the bill. On my rating scale this wine gets a 2.5 out of 5.
Cono Sur Bicycle Viognier 2009 – Cono Sur is a large producer out of the Colchagua Valley in Chile. They offer wines at all different levels with the Bicycle brand representing their entry level wines. Cono Sur is known for offering good quality at a value-driven price. The 2009 Viognier is an orange tinged golden yellow in the glass. It offers a pretty nose of peaches and a touch of honeysuckle, with the palette offering lots of citrus, a touch of peach and mineral finish that shows some heat. The acid in this wine is a bit strange as the wine comes across a touch flabby when being drunk, but acidic afterwards (that kind of down the middle of the tongue acidity). The wine is a bit thin, a bit one-dimensional, and yet does offer some flavors that many will find tasty. There are many better examples of viognier available, but certainly on a hot day if this wine is chilled I think people will be refreshed. The wine retails for between $9 and $12, and also receives a score of 2.5 out of 5.
Cascina Castlet Moscato D’Asti 2009 – This wine borders on a dessert wine as it has a high amount of residual sugar, but at my house it disappeared very quickly with a little bit of cheese on a hot afternoon. A pale straw yellow with a bit of sparkle and foam (the term frizzante comes across as pretentious to me, sorry) the wine is only 5.5% alcohol by volume. The nose gives off some apple, citrus, and bread and ultimately reminds me of a lemon or lime Home-Run pie that at $0.25 a pop were still a HUGE treat to me when I was a kid. The mouth gives off a rather sweet and forward bit of pineapple, citrus, and a touch of melon. The sweetness is refreshingly offset by the bubbles and generous dose of acidity. The low alcohol content makes it utterly drinkable, and the website translated from Italian suggests that ‘even kids like it.’ This wine retails for around $13 and receives a score of 3 out of 5.
The porch trials are now over and I would drink any one of these three wines. The clear winner in terms of being interesting, different, delicious, and refreshing is the Cascina Castlet. There will be some who are averse to the sweet factor, and I understand this as I generally do not drink sweet wines either. But I encourage you to give it a chance, and hey if you don’t like it there are apparently some Italian kids who will finish it up for you!! Enjoy!
About the Author
The Vino File is written by Scott Wadlow in Pasadena, CA. Scott is an admittedly novice wine enthusiast who writes about what he is trying, learning, thinking, or laughing at in the world of wine. During the day Scott is a software consultant, a job that helps facilitate and occasionally perpetuate his interest in wine. Please visit The Vino File, comment, and interact with Scott and other readers.