Second Glass

My Wines

2004 Graffigna Malbec

Argentina, Mendoza

The 2004 Graffigna Malbec is definitely one of my top 10 for under $10 wines. In an ideal world it would have a little more weight, but the medium body it does offer delivers juicy plum fruit, chocolate, cedar, and sultry smoke. Its chalky finish brings out some meat, red pepper, and banana peel. Come to think of it, these are a lot of descriptors for a $9 wine.

Pair this bottle up with a meaty, malbec-marinated, portabella burger from the grill.

he loved it!

$12.00

2004 Hugh Hamilton Knick Knack Paddy Whack Ozzie Red

Australia

It's cheesy, it's kitschy and it's oh, so, delicious. With a winemaking bloodline that dates back to the first settlement in South Eastern Australia, Hugh Hamilton brings us another blockbuster: 2004 Hugh Hamilton Knick, Knack, Paddy Whack Ozzie Red for only a few bones (har har har - sorry, it was too easy!).

This "everything but the kitchen sink" wine is made from a plethora of undisclosed Aussie grapes. We can only assume there is a fair amount of Shiraz, Cabernet and Grenache in this deeply colored red wine.

While the 2004 Ozzie Red offers up the typical 'down under' juiciness and flavors of ripe red fruit, it manages to not go overboard. The wine is well balanced and not too heavy, which makes it great for every day sipping and it goes with a surprisingly wide array of foods. Plus, if you're bored and/or tipsy you can look up the entire lyrics to the wine's namesake song on the website.

Drink this wine with a burger, steak frites or all by itself after a long day.

he loved it!

2004 Jekel Cabernet Sauvignon

USA, California, Monterey County, Arroyo Seco

Comfort food has taken liquid form in the 2004 Jekel Vineyards Central Coast Cabernet. I chose this bottle because after schlepping across town getting the new issue out, I don't want to wrap my brain around a hugely complicated Bordeaux. Instead I want to sit down, put on the Big Labowski, eat something microwavable, and uncork this bad boy. This well structured wine gives you an abundance of black fruit, a bit of oak, a little spice, and some tingling tannins. It’s not an exhilarating and complex show-off, but if you want a hangout-at-home, medium-bodied, drink-under-an-afghan, comfort-wine, grab the wine of the weekend.

he loved it!

$13.00

2006 Falernia Carmenere Syrah Reserva

Chile, Elqui Valley

One of our goals at Wine Riot is to introduce people to up-and-coming regions and grapes. Chilean Carmenere is a big one! Once thought to be Merlot, some DNA testing revealed that this grape is actually a forgotten Frenchie. This superstar-to-be is about to do for Chile what Malbec did for Argentina. Earthy, bright and bold, this incredibly affordable red wine is absolutely delicious.

The 2006 Falernia Carmenere Syrah Reserva comes from Chile's northern most winery. Made from 60% Carmenere and 40% Syrah, this wine brings intoxicating aromas of tobacco and chocolate that lead to knock-your-socks-off bold red berry flavors. This is a whole lot of wine for your money!

If this bottle looks familiar, you may have caught our very own Tyler Balliet chatting about it on NECN. Get a chance to sip it for yourself at Wine Riot!

Drink liberally with hamburgers, beef stew or anything while dining with Ninjas.

he loved it!

2004 Matchbook Tinto Rey

USA, California, Dunnigan Hills

I've had all I can stands and I can't stands no more. I need a red! With the current heat, cruising along, taking the low road, and drinking crisp, cool white wine is all too easy . Today I'm taking the high road and I encourage you to do the same. Pick up the 2004 Matchbook Red by J.L. Giguiere. This blend of 57% Syrah, 29% Tempranillo, 7% Malbec, and 7% Petit Verdot delivers blueberry fruit on a juicy nose that turns spicy with oak and cracked red pepper as the wine opens up. A little leafiness and earth accompany oak into the drawn out blackberry and vanilla finish. Whether you have air conditioning or need to throw this into a Camelback canteen and hightail it to a retail store with central air, mix things up with this spicy blend!

Food Pairings: grilled sweet Italian sausage.

he loved it!

$13.00

2006 Erik Banti Carato

Italy, Tuscany

Oh, Italy. How we love thee. You have the ability to make stunning and simple everyday sippers, yet utterly confuse the crap out of us with grape names and regions. For example, in Scansano, the village in Tuscany this 2006 Erik Banti Carato comes from, Morellino is the local name for the internationally famous grape Sangiovese.

Italy is chock full of these kinds of shenanigans that make their wines difficult to undersand. Luckily, while the details may leave you confused the wine will not. This silky smooth blend of Tuscan goodness is mostly Sangiovese with some Merlot and a touch of Cabernet Sauvignon to round things out. It has a bright red fruit flavors, light tannins and a smooth finish that makes this wine incredibly drinkable. While delicious on it's own, like most Italian reds this wine really comes to life with food. We suggest picking up two bottles because the first one could disappear as your pasta boils and your meat cooks in the oven.

Drink with a light red pasta sauce, braised lamb or semi-soft cheese.

he loved it!

2006 El Burro Kickass Garnacha

Spain, Navara

A Second Glass staffer purchased this wine for the sole reason of the label reading "kickass." At a recent tasting we held this badboy lived up to its name and was one of the crowd favorites.

This wine hails from Navarra, Spain, which spans from the foothills of the Pyrenees to the Ebro Valley. It's here, in a land that's been making wine since the time of the Romans, that a "kickass" wine was birthed. Made from 100% Garnacha (or as the French call it, Grenache) this vino is smooth and nicely balanced, yet rocks enough body and fruit to live up to its name.

Drink this wine with grilled sausages, hard cheeses or while enjoying the last few weekends of summer sitting on your front stoop.

he loved it!

2004 Teira Zinfandel

USA, California, Sonoma County

When it gets as cold as it does in Boston you need a wine to keep you warm from the inside out. A perfect choice is California Zinfandel. Zinfandel's sweet grapes have plenty of sugar to be fermented into alcohol (aka: much needed warmth) as well as the forward fruit to pair with all the spicy chili it'll take to thaw you out.

Tonight I'll be drinking the 2004 Teira Zinfandel from Sonoma, CA. It has great blueberry fruit over a creamy texture with hints of mocha and damp forest. It's without a doubt one of the more tasteful Zins I've tried. The grapes are harvested earlier than most, leading to a Zin that is uncommonly lively, fresh, and dare I say elegant for a Zin.

he loved it!

$16.00

2006 DeForville Barbera Piedmont

Italy, Piedmont, Alba

We had this bottle a few weeks ago at our new favorite haunt, Silvertone. With six people at the table we were tearing through bottles quickly but after a single sip of this Italian beauty we all stopped and said, "holy crap!" We instantly ordered a second bottle.

The 2006 DeForville Barbera d'Alba hails from a small winery in Piedmont, Italy where the Anfosso family has been tending the fields and making wine for five generations. While the winery makes a number of higher end bottles, this one is priced right for every day sipping.

Like most Italian wines this Barbera tends to drink better with a meal. Between the bright red fruit flavors and the well balanced acidity, this wine is a steal at twice the price. Stock up on a few bottles and those miserable winter days will melt away.

Drink with a plate of Italian cheeses, a simple steak and a table full of friends.

he loved it!

$15.00

2003 Alate Cosecha Tempranillo

Spain, Navara

n honor of the upcoming holiday we're rocking some Kosher wine. And trust us, there's a lot more to Kosher wine than just Manischewitz. In fact, there are some pretty damn good wines made using the Kosher method.

In order for a wine to be considered Kosher, a Sabbath observant Jew has to be involved in the entire winemaking process from harvesting to bottling. If a non-Jew gets involved in the process in any way shape or form, including opening and pouring the bottle at a restaurant, the wine is no longer Kosher.

AlateCosecha Tempranillo is a Spanish Kosher wine with bold and firm tannins and great fruit flavors. Just because the wine is made under the supervision of the Principal Rabbi of Barcelona and the label rocks some Hebrew doesn't mean you need to be Jewish to drink it. Anyone can rock this tasty bottle of wine.

Drink liberally with latkes, gelt or grilled burgers.

he loved it!

2006 Cusumano Nero d'Avola

Italy, Sicily, Avola

Hailing from the southern Italian island of Sicily comes the delicious indigenous grape Nero d'Avola. Although it can be made into very structured, full bodied wines that age gracefully, it can be used to create young, light and fruit-forward wines like this one. Many compare the grape to Syrah or even Aussi Shiraz.

The Cusumano Nero d'Avola is perfect for the "not quite spring but DAMN I wish winter was over" weather. This wine is light with a lot of fruit and notes of black cherry and raspberry. Keep an eye open, because many bottlings of this wine come with a glass stopper, instead of the traditional cork or the less traditional screw cap. This is becoming more popular than plastic corks and is a cool novelty.

Great with simple Italian food such as pasta or pizza.

he loved it!

2006 Craftsman Kiralyleanyka

Hungary

Although you probably have never heard of these grapes we assure you they are widely distributed. Plus, they're hella cheap! We've decided, given the current state of things, that we'll be hooking our readers up with info on least expensive, most badass wines possible. When it's time to splurge we'll throw some baller wine your way but, in the mean time, you can down a glass of this great Hungarian white while you attempt to pronounce 'Királyleányka.'

It goes like this: Kee-rye-lay-ohn-kha and it's a widely planted grape in Hungry. It tastes something between a Sauvignon Blanc and a Chenin Blanc with some Viognier action going on. At $9, this makes a perfect cocktail wine. Smelling of honey and those Nestle orange push-up pops it's incredibly easy to drink. So easy, in fact, we highly suggest buying two or three bottles at a time.

Drink this with mildly spicy Asian take-out, salmon and mashed potatoes or just sip while handing out candy to trick or treaters!

he loved it!

2001 Bodegas Museum Rioja

Spain, Rioja

Hey everybody! I’ve got the low down on what you need for this weekend’s hoedown: 2001 Bodegas Museum Rioja. I found this ultra-drinkable red at Bauer Wine and Spirits, at 330 Newbury St, for a scant $13. On the nose there is raspberry and blackberry. They are then joined by chocolate and a slight oakiness on the palate. The finish is smooth and piney. While everyone else is drinking green beer this Saturday, treat yourself, your wallet, and most of all, your stomach, to a bottle of 2001 Bodegas Museum Rioja!

he loved it!

2006 Chateau Coupe Roses La Bastide Rouge

France, Languedoc-Roussillon, Minervois

If this wine lived in Pennsylvania it would live in Scranton. If it went to a ball game it would sit with a hot dog in one hand and a plastic cup of beer in the other. If you were on a road trip with this wine it would put on Bruce Springsteen's 'Born to Run' album. This wine is your everyday red.

The 2006 Château Coupe Roses 'La Bastide' comes from the Languedoc-Roussillon region, in Southern France. It's another fantastic wine regions you've never heard of that produces tons of killer wine. Three times the size of Bordeaux, it's one of the last places in France that's producing great, but inexpensive vino.

This wine falls on the lighter side of reds making it incredibly easy to drink. It has a beautiful nose that almost whisks you away to Southern France. It tastes of green pepper and raspberry.

Drink this simple but solid wine with delivery pizza, a box of macaroni and cheese or the leftovers in your fridge.

he loved it!

2006 Chateau Bonnet Blanc

France, Bordeaux

We tasted a number of Bordeaux whites at a tasting that consisted of about one hundred Bordeaux wines for less than $25 a bottle. The 2006 Chateau Bonnet Blanc was by far the best of the entire tasting.

This blend of Sauvignon Blanc, Semillion and a bit of Muscadelle has a nose of lemon, grapefruit and straw. It is medium bodied and very crisp with good acidity and some sweetness. It ends with sugary fruit and a tingle of acidity and alcohol.

he loved it!

2006 Budini Malbec

Argentina, Mendoza

We threw the first edition of Wine Club for Second Glass staffers and friends this past Friday. The "meeting" highlighted wines from South America. Before we knew it the kitchen counter was loaded various reds but Malbec seemed to dominate.

One of the crowd favorites, which was recommended by Louis from the Wine Emporium, was the 2006 Budini Malbec. Priced right, this is a big and juicy wine with great flavors of dark fruit. Although we only washed down our bottle with some bread and cheese, try pairing this wine as the Argentines do - with a big, fat, juicy steak.

he loved it!

2000 Quinta de Ventozelo 10 Year LBV

Portugal, Douro

Here it is, the first after dinner 'Wine of the Weekend'. That's not to say the 2000 Quinta de Ventozelo Late Bottled Vintage Port isn't just as delicious at 9 in the morning. Believe me, I know.This wine has raspberry and prune fruit everywhere with hints of clove, cinnamon, and vanilla framed by firm tannins and a hell of a lot of body-warming, heavy-weighted, alcohol. This port house is Portuguese owned (as opposed to the majority of the famous houses, which are owned by English families) and spends 4 YEARS in cask! I had this last night with some of Somerville's own Taza 80% dark Chocolate and pleasure overload ensued. Oh, did I mention it only costs $25 for delicious late bottled VINTAGE port that will keep for over a month (if you don't drink it all the first night).

he loved it!

$16.00

NV 1+1=3 Cava

Spain, Penedes

If you're hosting Thanksgiving this year, you might be entering into panic mode about now. Is the turkey big enough? Do you have enough chairs? What the hell are you going to feed your brother's vegan girlfriend?

We have a solution to this and other Thanksgiving-related predicaments: sparkling wine and LOTS of it.

Cava comes from Spain and is an affordable, everyday drinking version of French Champagne. The 1+1=3 Cava Brut is dry with delicious citrus flavors and is packed with tons of bubbles.

Stock up on this wine if you're hosting. It will buy you time if dinner is running late and keep guests out of your hair while you do the last minute prep.

Cava also makes a great gift if you're an attendee. Bring a bottle or two and pop immediately upon entering. Pour into glasses and distribute at will. We promise, your host will thank you!

Drink liberally with a pre-dinner cheese plate, while watching football or directly from the bottle while hiding in the bathroom to calm nerves.

he loved it!

$19.99

NV Castello Banfi Rosa Regale Brachetto

Italy, Piedmont, Acqui

The Banfi Rosa Regale Brachetto d'Acqui is pink, sparkling and sweet with flavors of raspberries and strawberries. On top of that, this fizzy Italian elixir pairs perfectly with chocolate and is readily available in full or half bottles at fine wine stores across Boston and the country.

he loved it!

$10.00

2006 Bio-Weingut H.U.M. Hofer Winery Gruner Veltliner

Austria, Niederosterreich

This is, not only my favorite summer wine at the moment, but also a really fun grape to say. Everyone together: GROO-ner VEHLT-ly-ner.

This Austrian sipper comes in a 1 Liter bottle, which is traditional of the region and not because it strayed from the “bargain bin.” This particular bottle does, however, come with an unusual, bottle cap top, which makes it the only wine bottle you can open with a lighter.

Grüner Veltliner is typically very crisp, clean and refreshing making it the perfect outdoor drinking wine. The Hofer is no exception with hints of apples and pears with a slight zest of acidity, which makes the wine very food friendly. I would pair this with grilled fish while sitting on a roof deck or near a body of water.

he loved it!

NV Heidseick & Co. Monopole Blue Top Champagne

France, Champagne

What's popping open at midnight this year? If you just downed André last year, you need this more than you thought. Even though a $6 price tag can be attractive, you don't have to spend a lot more to turn drinking sparkling from a chore to an absolute utopia. A utopia with bubbles!The Heidsieck & Co Monopole Blue Top Champagne is without a doubt, my favorite inexpensive Champagne. Coming in at about $30 this sparkler has an incredibly creamy texture with citrus, honey, nutty, and buttery flavors. It isn't the driest Champagne out there, but the slight amount of sugar really brings out the fruit. It finishes with a touch of spice and honeyed peanuts.

Top 5 reasons why you shouldn't drink André:

1. It actually says Champagne on the label though the producer has probably never even been to Champagne
2. It is a chore to finish.
3. It will burn a hole in your stomach lining
4. There is no cork to pop, just a child safe, plastic screw top.
5. It's artificially carbonated. Each bubble is a lie!

Top 5 reasons why you should pick up a bottle of Heidsieck & Co Blue Top Champagne:

1. It's from Champagne (a lot cooler than something made in a bath tub and called champagne)
2. You can mimic the Christopher Walkin SNL sketch and go around asking if anyone would like some 'Cham-pon-yay'
3. Since there is an actual cork, you can hose down your friends.
4. You can perform sabrage with this bottle!
5. It is absolutely delicious and extremely well-priced for a Champagne of its quality!

Enjoy and Happy New Year

he loved it!

2008 Jelu Torrontes

Argentina, San Juan

From the land that took the little know blending grape, Malbec, and made it a bold, juicy rockstar, comes a white wine completely unique to Argentina; Torrontés. This grape has historical roots in the Mediterranean but the Argentines have claimed squatter's rights.

Torrontés is typically a full-bodied, zesty and very floral wine and this is no exception. The 2007 Jelú is made from 100% organic grapes grown in the San Juan region, just north of Mendoza. This wine boasts a well-balanced acidity and bright freshness which sets it apart from similar wines.

This wine is perfect for an apéritif so just uncork and enjoy!

he loved it!

$17.99

NV Lucien Albrecht, Crémant d'Alsace, Brut Rose

France, Alsace

GO RED SOX!
Even though the trophy has been in The Bay State for close to a week now, the city has yet to recover. You can find remnants of the parades as traces of confetti are still blowing around Boston.

Keep the celebration going with a RED, or at least red-ish, sparkling wine, perfect for celebrating any time of the day or night. The Lucien Albrecht Brut Rosé Crémant d'Alsace is a great sparkler coming out of the Alsace region of France. This 100% Pinot Noir wine has flavors of cherry and strawberry. Pour it into a flute or drink it right out of the bottle.

Congrats to the 2007 Red Sox on a GREAT win and a FANTASTIC season.

he loved it!

2008 Mas de la Dame Les Baux de Provence Rose

France, Les Baux de Provence

Look out Earthlings; Nostradamus said we have until the year 3797 before the end of the world and either A. eradication or B. relocation. 1,790 years is a long time to just twiddle our thumbs, but fortunately for us, Nostradamus was kind enough to give us something to bide our time with. In addition to his more depressing premonitions, he wrote that the Mas de la Dame house would be farmed by two women and wouldn’t you know, the managers are currently Caroline Missoffe and Anne Poniatowski.

Since it’s nearing the end of the Rosé season, take your last chance to get the 2006 Mas de la Dame Rosé. The blend of Grenache, Syrah, and Cinsault offers floral and fruity aromas as well as flavors of strawberry, sundried tomato, mineral, and pepper. Remember to stock up, you’re going to need it to last a while.

he loved it!

NV Murai Family Genshu Sake

Japan

Murai Family Nigori GenshuThis stuff is WILD! If you don't like sake, you need to try this. If you're a sake lover, this is required tasting. This sake was voted the favorite beverage of the "Silk Road Social" at Pho Republique by the hundreds of attendees. Even mentioning the name to a local wine shop had the manager drooling. "This stuff is incredibly," he proclaimed.

The Murai Family Nigori Genshu sake is unfiltered, which means when shaken, it becomes a cloudy, milky white color. This gives the sake a smooth and creamy texture along with a more pronounced ricey flavor. When we first tasted this sake the uniquely bold and strong flavors made us do a double take and actually yell out loud, "WOW!" This isn't a delicate sake, which means it cries for strong and intense food. Think spicy curry or a hot Thai dish.

Oh, one more thing, the stuff packs a punch at 20% alcohol, so go easy on it.

he loved it!

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