And…here’s the best buy in Piedmont red wine, from Dave Russo:
I am always on the lookout for wines with real regional character at affordable prices. I tasted a sample of the 2011 Franco Serra Barbera d’Asti (Reg. $14.99) and was really impressed. I requested the sample because we were running out of the incredibly popular Franco Serra Barbera d’Alba, (Sale $9.99) and I needed something to replace it. I liked the Barbera d’Asti even better than the Alba! The Barbera d’Asti has an assortment of black-fruit flavors, firm acidity, and a lingering mineral finish. I got the wholesaler to come down to the Alba price, so I now can offer the 2011 Franco Serra Barbera d’ Asti for $9.99 each, making it the best buy in Piedmont red around. There are not many cases of this left, so if you would like to reserve one, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Best Champagnes Don’t Need to Cost More
For a wine to be authentic Champagne, the grapes need from the Champagne region of France. There is more demand in the world for the major, well-known brands of Champagne then there is supply of Champagne grapes. To address this problem, a few years ago the French government expanded the borders of the Champagne region. The effect of this expansion, however, has been the watering down of quality for the major brands because the fruit grown from these vineyards outside the original borders are not as good. Smaller grower producers of Champagne still have access to the best fruit. If you want a Champagne made with the very best grapes in the region, look for the term Grand Cru on the label. The vineyards classified as Grand Crus make up less than 10% of the entire Champagne region. Three of my favorite Grand Cru Champagnes are Coutier Blanc de Blancs ($49.99 – 93 points Burghound) for nice toasty flavors, Lallier Grande Reserve ($45.99 – 92 points Wine Spectator) for elegance and complexity, and Pierre Moncuit Blanc de Blancs cuvee Delos ($53.99 – 92 points Wine & Spirits) for crispness and minerality. Rather than reaching for the familiar names this year, I encourage you to try one of these Grand Cru Champagnes. It will be money well-spent.
G.B. Russo & Son