A Wine Lover’s Near Weekly Review Of $15 Wines – A Fizzy Kosher Malvasia Signed Italy

Many of the North American Kosher wines are sweet reds, often made from the Concord grape. I grow Concord grapes and enjoy nibbling on them once in a while. But I HATE Concord wines. Today’s offering is a different sweet red, Kosher wine. It comes from the Malvasia grape. There are lots and lots of Malvasia subvarieties, some are red and some are white. The Malvasia family is moderately popular in Italy, in fact you can even get a Champagnino (do you need a translation?) made from this pedestrian grape. The Borgo Reale winery is located in the great wine region of Piedmont, but these grapes come from not-so-prestigious Apulia region at the other end of the country. They claim state of the art equipment and ISO certification. This wine is fizzy. Our companion wine is a much more inexpensive dry wine made in the same region from the Primitivo grape, Zinfandel’s Italian cousin.

All wines that we taste and review are purchased at the full retail price.

Wine Reviewed Borgo Reale Malvasia Ogio Puglia Indicazione Geografica Tipica 2008 6.5 % alcohol about $15.

There were no marketing materials so we will start by quoting the back label. “Borgo Reale Malvasia is made up of carefully selected grapes grown in the Apulia region of southern Italy. This light red fizzy aromatic wine shows pleasant notes of strawberry, raspberry, and hints of ripe cherry. Thanks to its crisp acidity, soft mouth, and red fruit lingering aftertaste, it is the perfect wine served as an aperitif, with cheeses and light entries. Best served chilled.” And now for my review.

At the first sips this wine seemed to be a too-sweet soda pop. My initial meal centered on a rather spicy homemade roasted chicken leg. Now this liquid’s acidity perked up. It was pleasant and fruity. When it encountered the side dish of leeks sauteed in olive oil its acidity crawled back into the shell. I asked myself, “Is this wine?” In the face of fruit juice candy there was no pretense of wine. It would be a kiddie’s drink except for the 6.5% alcohol. I repeat, do not serve this liquid to children.

Our next meal consisted of slow cooked beef ribs and potatoes. In response to the meat this libation grew darker. But in the face of the accompanying potatoes it lightened. As I consumed it with green beans in tomato sauce one thought dominated – it’s not wine. However, this liquid did lengthen when I liberally doused the meat with Louisiana hot sauce.

My final meal was a box of Baked Ziti Siciliano that I doused with grated Parmesan cheese. The Malvasia responded with good acidity but it was too sweet. Ice cream and wine is usually not a marriage made in heaven. Haagen-Dazs Rocky Road (chocolate with roasted almonds and marshmallow swirls) gave this drink a trace of pleasant acidity, but frankly, the ice cream was better off without it.

Final verdict. I will definitely not buy this wine again. Ever. Even if it had a reasonable price. (Such as a bottle of soda pop.)

Levi Reiss authored or co-authored ten computer and Internet books, but prefers drinking fine wine. He teaches computers at an Ontario French-language community college. His global wine website www.theworldwidewine.com features a weekly review of $10 wines and a whole lot more. Visit his Italian travel website www.travelitalytravel.com.

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