Not long after we moved into our current house outside of Atlanta, we started sharing things with the next-door neighbors: cups of sugar, random garden tools and bottles of wine. The concept of Tuesday wine developed as a shortcut way to borrow some decent, but inexpensive wine for a mid-week dinner. You know, when you’ve just pulled a steak off the grill, realized that you’re slap out of wine and can’t stand the thought of getting back in the car for just a bottle of wine? Tuesday wine fits the bill perfectly – not necessarily something you’d let age in the wine cellar (as if we had one) but good enough for a random Tuesday. The following is a review of two reds I picked up recently for just such an occasion.
In the interest of full disclosure, I’m no sommelier. Although I’ve made some wine at home and love to try new labels, I usually don’t talk about wine in terms of “notes of this” and “hints of that”. But I know what I like and firmly believe in letting your palate and pocket book guide you.
For Tuesday wine, I usually spend anywhere from $12 to $15 per bottle. The two wines I tried recently, Casillero del Diablo’s 2007 Carmenere and Domaine Magellan’s 2003 Ponant Vins de Pays Des Cotes De Thongue were both a bargain at $10 each. I found them at Hop City Craft Beer and Wine in Atlanta (www.hopcitybeer.com), which is mostly a beer and homebrew store, but has a decent wine selection and very helpful staff.
The Casillero del Diablo (Cellar of the Devil) is a medium-bodied red from Chile made from the Carmenere grape. It’s from Concha Y Toro’s Reserve line and is 13.5% ABV (alcohol by volume). The wine smells of summer berries, is deep purple in color and has an initial acidic bite. If you like medium to strong reds, you’ll enjoy this with any meal involving beef or other red meat. We had it with SOS made from ground venison over buttermilk biscuits, which could be (and probably will be) an entire Hungry Southerner entry unto itself. This is an excellent Tuesday wine but given the great taste and price combo, could easily be a weekend wine for guests.
The Magellan Ponant is a French wine made from multiple grapes including Syrah, Cabernet and more. I found this one in the European value bin at Hop City and thought it looked worth a try. After all, I love all of the varietals that make up this wine. Unfortunately, I picked a dud. Just about everything with this wine was “off” – the color, the taste and the aroma. At 14% ABV, the wine had a slightly sour aftertaste that lingered…and not in a good way. This could have been my fault for picking a bottle from 2003 but either way, it went down the drain. Literally. I know, it pained me too, but maybe this one just doesn’t age well or had started to oxidize. I checked the cork for seepage but it was synthetic and didn’t show any stains on the sides of the cork. Does this test even work with synthetic corks? I’d love to hear from others who’ve tried this or other vintages from Domaine Magellan.
Reporting from the front porch swing,