A light and fruity wine with the distinct flavor of
berries. Expect to taste strawberries, cherries and
raspberries. This is an excellent choice for the beginner,
generally nicely priced, a good bistro wine, happy to be
consumed with casual foods including pizza, Croque monsieur,
French onion soup etc. The best ones come from France. These
are known as Beaujolais.
In France these are known as Burgundy wines and are
grown exclusively in that region of France, just next to the
Champagne region. Every ones else knows them as Pinot Noir,
which is the name of the grape varietals. The pinot Noir
grape is the most difficult and most finicky grape to grow.
To many growers, this delicate fruit can bring heartache and
despair. Often, crops do not survive because they are not
hearty like for example the merlot grape. Itís what makes
the Pinot Noir wines so special. Once you begin to truly
develop your taste for red wine, you will always search for
an excellent Pinot. So many are bad, watery, flat and simply
dull. But youíll know when youíve had a good one. The French
Burgundies, (good ones anyway) are costly. Donít expect to
pick up a good bottle for 10 dollars or so. Youíre probably
looking at 30 dollars and up. However, California has a good
climate for Pinot grapes and turn out some product which are
velvety, smooth, fruity and just plain sensational. These
can be bought for about half of the French Burgundies.
Expect a good Pinot Noir to be cherry like in flavor with a
touch of rich vanilla. The wines will be velvety on the
tongue and mouth, a characteristic unique in a good Pinot.
Food pairings suitable with a Pinot are numerous. Try with
richer tasting fish, grilled salmon or tuna are a good
choice, also turkey and delicate rack of lamb.
This is a wonderful grape varietal exclusive to Spain. A
fabulous accompaniment to tapas, figs, manchego cheese and
lighter meat fare like chorizo sausage and paella. The
flavors are warm, smooth and mellow. Some of the good ones
have a plumy taste while with others youíll taste black
cherries. Most will have a delicate under current of vanilla
and mint. Where are they from? Look for the word Rioja on
the label. These are strictly Spanish.
These bright and playful Italian wines are the perfect
accompaniment to all Italian fare. Ideal with pizza, pasta,
tomato based foods and lighter meat fare. They are otherwise
known as Chianti. (Remember the wines bottles wrapped in a
kind of basket, everybody used these as candle holders
after). Sangiovese offers a spicy flavor. Think of cinnamon
and herbs. Perhaps thatís why they marry so well with casual
Italian fare. Also the fruitiness of black cherry is
prevalent. These wines are strictly Italian and are so
moderately priced they can be enjoyed by every budget.