At AVIS we try harder!

How many remember these great old ads?  “Where’s the Beef”?  “I can’t believe I ate the whole thing”.  “Plop, Plop, fizz, fizz oh what a relief it is”.  Maybe it’s me but I don’t understand the new ads.  I don’t understand the drop the mic ad for Verizon. That ad wouldn’t move me to purchase anything.  Maybe it’s because I’ve moved into a non-targeted demographic group and I’m no longer hip so the ads are targeted to people who understand them.

You don’t need to be a millennial to understand when you not number one, you need to work harder to get notice and close the sale.  Often, that worked out for the consumer, they got more value.  Something we don’t seem to talk to much about any more.  Warren Buffett always said, “price is what you pay, value is what you get.”

So I’d like to talk about two wine regions that are not well known, are trying harder, and are making great wines that I think are fantastic values.

You say Barolo, I say Roero.  I don’t know how many of you drink wines made from nebbiolo grape, but if you enjoy a good, strong, full body, highly tannic, dry wine, you should look into this wine. “Tastes great, less filling”, sorry couldn’t help myself!  Really these wine are wonderful.

Nebbiolo home is Piedmont in northwestern Italy.  As the “Pour Man” man,  wow, I wish I had thought of that one, Michael Austin says Roero is that place around the place where great nebbiolos are from.  He’s talking about Barolo and Barbaresco. These wines are legendary and expensive.  So, Roero is the DOCG that’s trying harder and offering great value.

Now I’m not going to tell you the wines of Roero are better than the Barolo or Barbaresco, they’re not.  But it’s like paying $200 a seat to see your favorite performer, or paying $20 to see a really good tribute act.  They do offer the person who loves to drink nebbiolo the experience for a lot less money.

IMG_2830Our wine was Matteo Correggia 2011 under $20.  Color was on the mark, a nebbiolo should  be brick red, this on was perfect. Inviting and satisfying aromas. Tannins were much softer than the Bartolo’s I have been fortunate to taste, this is another advantage to the underdog, this wine is far more approachable young vs. the better known neighbors.  Flavor of cherries and tobacco.  Wine Spectator rated this wine a 89.

The region also produces a white wine from the arneis varietal.  I haven’t found one yet, but you know I’m looking.

Matteo Correggia is the guy  that helped get Roero international recognition.  He died in a tractor accident in 2001, he was only 39 years old.  The other Roero winemakers helped his wife take over, and she’s done a great job ever since.

For our next appellation that’s trying harder, we head west to Spain.  On a high plain, sitting at an altitude of 2300 to 2800 feet about 100 miles north of Madrid welcome to Ribera del Duero.   Ribera del Duero mans “bank of the Duero” and yes we are talking about the famous Duero river that runs through Portugal.  

The grape is tempranillo.  I love this grape because of it dry fruity taste.  Local names use in Ribera del Duero are tinta fino and tinta del pais.  The 800 pound gorilla for this wine in Spain would be Rioja.

The wine comes in three model levels; crianzas, base model, reserva, sport model, and Gran Reserva, luxury model.  Crianzas spend 12 months in oak barrels and a year in the bottle.  Reservas spend 12 months on oak and two more years in the bottle before release. Gran Reservas spend two years in the barrel and three years in bottles and can be unnervingly expensive.

IMG_2833Our wine is Montecastrillo an outstanding bargain at $11.00 from Center Wine and Spirits in Glastonbury CT.  Color intense Cardinal red.  Aroma licorice and flowers.  I’d almost say, jelly bean.  Flavor of red and black berry fruit with a hint of minerality.  Nice long finish.  Dry.  I paired with lentil soup and with dark chocolate tollhouse cookies for dessert, AWESOME!

So, “try it, you’ll like it”.  These wines can “take a licken and keep on ticking”.  “Just do it”.  “They’ll melt in your mouth, not your hand”.

You can read Michael Austin “The Pour Man” in the Hartford Courant’s Living Section every Thursday, it’s the only thing I like about the Hartford Courant.

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