A Wine Lover’s Weekly Guide To $10 Wines – A Sangiovese From Abruzzi, Italy

Sangiovese is a quite popular red Italian grape that is used to make both plebian and upscale wines. It’s grown in Tuscany and lots of other places including the Abruzzi region of central Italy, home to the Casal Thaulero family since the Sixteenth Century. They have a 1738 marriage contract, which shows that a local property was brought as a dowry. However, the vineyards are relative upstarts, planting begun towards the end of the Nineteenth Century. Casal Thaulero are proud to be the first estate in Abruzzi to produce DOC wines. Today’s wine carries the less prestigious IGP designation. Despite the word English on the home page, their website is unilingual. Today’s companion wine is another Sangiovese; a Tuscany Chianti from the other end of central Italy at about twice the price.

OUR WINE REVIEW POLICY All wines that we taste and review were purchased at the full retail price.

Wine Reviewed Casal Thaulero Sangiovese IGP 2010 13 % alcohol costing about $7.

Let’s start by quoting the marketing materials. “Tasting Note: Medium to deep ruby color; cherry aromas with notes of espresso; dry, medium bodied with juicy cherry flavors, firm structure, and medium tannins on the finish. Serving Suggestion: Beef stroganov, roast beef, or a meaty lasagna.” And now for my review.

At the first sips this wine was mouth puckering and fruity, but short. I started off with Japanese rice crackers that cut the acidity. The initial meal centered on barbecued beef ribs. The wine responded with black cherries, light tannins, and crisp acidity. The side dish was one of my favorites, potatoes roasted in chicken fat. The libation’s flavors intensified and I enjoyed its mouth-cleansing acidity. But a spicy tomato-based salsa really gutted the wine.

The next meal was a fairly dry, honey-garlic barbecued chicken breast. The drink was pleasantly oaky, offering balanced acidity and tannins. Upon meeting the couscous side dish the wine’s acidity increased but it thinned. A cucumber, tomato, and red onion salad rendered the liquid light with a dark finish. Fresh cherries for dessert imparted a somewhat unpleasant acidity; the wine also presented cherries but all these cherries didn’t really mesh together.

My final meal was a baked ziti siciliano that I freely doused with grated parmesan cheese. The Sangiovese was round and sweetish with light tannins and unassertive cherries. Dessert was a no-no from the wine perspective; Haagen-Dazs Maya chocolate ice cream including a touch of cinnamon. The wine was slightly spicy, and nothing else.

When paired with a Swiss cheese this wine was balanced and just a bit sweet. It was very refreshing. When paired with a brushetta-covered goat’s milk cheese its acidity was slightly sour and presented light fruit.

Final verdict. Given the price I would buy this wine again. I might even try some of their other, similarly priced offerings. But sure I wish they would clean up their website.

Levi Reiss authored or co-authored ten books on computers and the Internet, but prefers drinking fine wine. He teaches computer classes at an Ontario French-language community college. His global wine website www.theworldwidewine.com features a weekly review of $10 wines. Visit his wine, nutrition, and health website www.wineinyourdiet.com .

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