Join your fellow Lehigh Valley Chapter Members for a
on Friday, April 9 from 5:00-6:00 PM
You do not need to have a Zoom account to participate, but you will be asked to download the free Zoom software.
NOTE: To avoid "Zoom Bombing" by outsiders the meeting link will be emailed to you when you register for the event. On Friday when you click the meeting link you will enter a "waiting room". There may be a momentary delay before you join the meeting.
Leslie and Peter Staffeld
Co-Chairs of the Lehigh Valley Chapter of the American Wine Society
The Wine Curmudgeon’s 2021 $10 Hall of Fame
Each year Jeff Siegel researches and names the top inexpensive wines available. As well he can- as a wine judge and member of the Houston area Chapter of AWS, Jeff has written a book, countless articles and presented at the annual AWS Conference along with other prestigious events. He has the expertise.
On LinkedIn Jeff describes himself as The Wine Curmudgeon -- the proprietor of the blog of the same name, writer for several wine trade and consumer magazines, and the co-founder of DrinkLocalWine.com, where our goal is to educate the world about wine made in the other 47 states.
To members of the American Wine Society, Jeff is a humorous speaker and knowledgeable presenter. He loves wine, bourbon and writing. He says that he writes “Common sense articles about wine, written to help you understand what’s available and what it tastes like, as well as tips and advice about buying and drinking wine. My goal? Offer the information, and let you make the decision. The blog is about the process of wine, not me telling you what to drink.” You can sign up for his newsletter at www.winecurmudgeon.com
The 2021 Cheap Wine of the Year, the MAN chenin blanc.
The French Chateau Campuget rose, a wine I had mostly taken for granted — but no longer: This vintage is step up from the usual fine effort, with more structure and an almost savory finish.
The Italian Masciarelli rose, made with the montelpuciano grape: It’s “a revelation. … difficult to believe that it doesn’t cost $18 and have a too cute label.”
The Italian Tenuta Carpazo sangiovese. The 2019 — and vintage matters here, too — is “fresh, earthy, and tart all at the same time. How is that possible?”
The 2016 La Valentina Montelpuciano. an Italian red, where whole is greater the sum of its parts.
A vinho verde, the Aveleda Fonte, which is a first for the Hall. But why not? “Perhaps the best vinho verde I’ve ever tasted.”
The Spanish Balnea verdejo: “An almost stunning wine. … somehow layered and almost nuanced – but costing nothing more than a bottle of very ordinary supermarket plonk.”
The French Le Paradou viogner. This white shows viognier at its best — wonderfully fruity, but not sweet or stupid.
An old friend, the Mont Gravet carignan. This French red is one of my all-time favorite cheap wines, and even when it’s not in the Hall, it’s worth buying. The 2018 vintage is “everything a great $10 wine should be – professionally made, varietally correct, and interesting.”
The Hall of Fame 2021 Holdovers
The Gascon Musketeers. These are white blends from southwestern France, led by Domaine Tariquet. In this, almost any $10 white Gascon blend is worth buying, and quality seems to have returned after several years of indifference.
A Portuguese red and white from Herdade do Esporão Alandra, which offered evidence the Portuguese can make a huge contribution to cheap wine. The white is “crisp and spicy, with lots of pleasantly ripe stone fruit.”
The 1-liter Azul y Garanza tempranillo from Navarre in Spain: “Lots of cherry fruit balanced by refreshing Spanish acidity, making it one of the great values in the world.”
The French Little James Basket Press. This white returns to the Hall; its absence was caused by indifferent winemaking and availability. But the current vintage is “exactly the kind of $10 wine that used to be easy to find and isn’t anymore.”
Banfi’s Centine red and white wines and its CollePino wines. The Centine red “tastes like sangiovese from the Tuscan region of Italy, and not a winemaking-driven product from a marketing company focus group trying to figure out how to make a sort of sweet and very smooth Italian wine.”
The French white blend Chateau La Graviere Blanc, the 2019 Cheap Wine of the Year.
The Monte Antico Toscana, an Italian red blend, combines value and quality in a way too many cheap wines don’t bother with any more. It tastes Italian, but it’s not old-fashioned or full of winemaking gimmicks.
Tempranillo from Spain’s Rioja region remains a great value, despite the tariff. The LAN Crianza is one of the best of those values – earthy, peppery, and a hint of orange peel. Also, the El Coto Rioja crianza.
The McManis California wines, all of which are worth drinking and some of which, like the merlot and viognier, are stunning.
The Scaia glass closure white blend and rose, Italian wines that remind me of the greatness of $10 wine.
Straccali Chianti, an Italian red that is so well-made that it “embarrasses all those $15 grocery store red Italians with their cute names and shiny labels.”
Famillie Perrin Cotes du Rhone Villages, a French red blend with grenache, syrah, and mouvedre that just keeps getting better with age.
Argento malbec, an Argentine red wine that made me reconsider how much I dislike malbec. Sadly, this is what’s left of what used to be wonderful values from South America.
The Lamura Sicilian wines, as well as the Feudo Zirtari and the Stemmari grillo. Each recalls a time when Sicily produced some of the world’s great cheap wine.
Moulin de Gassac Guilhem, a French white made with odd grapes from a producer much better know for expensive wine. The rose is worthwhile, too.
The La Fiera pinot grigio: “Quite possibly the perfect pinot grigio — a little lemon fruit and a restrained, quinine-like finish, three flavors, and not overdone in any way.” This is from importer Winesellers, Ltd., and most of their wines offer quality and value.
The Spanish Ludovicus white and Zestos red, white, and rose, the Flaco tempranillo and the Gordo red blend, as well as the Cortijo rose, brought into the U.S. by Patrick Mata’s Ole Imports. If you see Ole on a label, buy the wine.
The Hall’s rose wing: The French La Vielle Ferme rose, one of the biggest surprises of my wine writing career, as well as the Bieler Sabine, the 2018 Cheap Wine of the Year; and the Charles & Charles from Washington state. Plus, Farnese, from Italy; the Provencal Pierre Rougon, complete with garrigue; the odd and intriguing Italian Li Veli, made with the negroamaro grape; and the Spanish Riscal.
Assorted Spanish cavas, or sparkling wines (though they may cost as much as $15 in some parts of the country): Dibon, which Robert Parker liked as much as I did; Casteller, “tight bubbles and tart, sweet lemon fruit;” and Perelada, brut and rose, “impossibly well done for the price;” and the Naveran.
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