Wines of May: 11 different wines from 5 countries – $25 and under
CLEVELAND, Ohio — For the month of May, we sipped 11 wines ranging from $10 to $25. Our monthly reviews focus on wines $25 and under, and all should be available on local store shelves. We list the flavors we detect and offer our favorites at the end.
This month’s lineup from California Cabs to a French Rose and others.
Trivento Reserve Malbec
Bodega TriventoArgentina, 2020, $11
Cherry wood, tomato stalk and light minty and vegetal notes work well in this wine which pairs well with butter chicken and vegetables. Spicy finish. Also works as a good stand-alone wine. Good example of the varietal, and huge value. If you missed World Malbec Day on April 17, celebrate late with this wine.
Robert Mondavi Vineyard, Napa Valley, Calif.; 2018, $23
Mineral nose with some floral aroma, followed by tangerine and lemon-lime flavors, then dryness on the finish. It was Mondavi who used ‘Fume Blanc’ decades ago for the Sauvignon Blanc grape, as a way to overcome any negative stigma at the time on the latter. Both are the same varietal but can be aged differently (oak vs stainless steel). A Forbes story has a good line about Fume Blanc: “…as New Zealand Sauvignon Blancs have exploded in popularity, some drinkers might miss wines they love because they are unfamiliar with Fumé Blanc.” Moral of the story: if you like balanced sauvignon blanc but not the garish grapefruit versions, try the fume blanc. Mondavi and Dry Creek Vineyard make these exceptional wines.
Hahn Estate, Santa Lucia Highlands, CA; 2017, $25
Apple lightly baked and just a little macerated, a bit nutty with a hint of butterscotch and crème brûlée flavors. This particular vintage is a tough find; we hung on to that for a while. For our taste, it aged perfectly and we drank it on time.
Tenuta MontautoItaly, Sauvignon Blanc, 2020, $12
Some dried grass notes in the aroma precede the lemon-lime with a slight creaminess on the palate. Slightly acid taste, light body. The wine comes from the southwest of Florence.
Minute, Provence, France; 2020, $23
Ahh, it’s starting to be rose season. Even if it should be all year round. Although it does not go with everything, it is suitable for food when it comes to lighter dishes. This one is a consistent Rose year after year, with this vintage offering a clean aroma of rose/floral notes with raspberry on the palate and a slight creaminess. A touch of acid gives it a bit of dryness on the finish.
fresco baldiItaly, white wine, 2019, $19.99
Floral, with sweet notes of peach, apricot, pear and lemon-lime crossing the palate in this clean tasting wine. A bit reminiscent of a Pinot Gris with just a little more acidity and depth. Versatile wine with food or as a stand-alone. It is a blend mainly of Chardonnay and Pinot Blanc.
Michael Mondavi Family, Napa Valley, Calif.; Cabernet Sauvignon, 2019, $25
Very thick and syrupy – much more like a Petite Sirah than a Cab. Light smoke, some menthol, black cherry and some cassis. Not tannic at all. Not bad at all – could stand up to many hearty dishes like the beef stew – but certainly not what we expected after seeing the varietal, region and price.
Alma of Cattleya
Cattleya Alma Wines, Sonoma County, Calif.; Sauvignon Blanc, 2020, $22
I have always been divided on this grape variety which gives radically different tastes depending on its origin. This variety has long been a favorite of mine when I see ‘New Zealand’ or ‘Australia’ on the label. But California? Much more balanced with bright fruit. This has floral notes with flavors of Meyer Lemon with grapefruit more on the nose than the palate. Smooth, not hard.
Herdade de Sao MiguelPortugal, Pink, 2020, $15
Pink/floral notes, with watermelon on the nose as well as on the palate, and tart cherry flavors pair well with a clean, fresh taste. Ideal as a standalone, although it pairs well with vegetable, sausage and pasta soup. (A tasting buddy said it was perfect for the patio this summer.) This wine is a blend of Touriga Nacional, Aragonez and Syrah. Very good value for money.
Noble vines 337
noble vinesCalifornia, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2018, $9.99
We thought this easy-drinking Cab was more like a Merlot-Zin blend. Smooth, with just a hint of sweetness, a light smoke, red raspberry, an easy sip worth the price. Reasonably priced common menu drink. It’s in a red, white and blue label to get you in the spirit of the upcoming Flag Day on Tuesday June 14th and Monday July 4th.
Gnarly Head Wines, Lodi, Calif.; Cabernet Sauvignon, 2020, $12.99
Fruit forward, a little jammy. Tastes more like a zin with barely noticeable tannins on the finish. Notes of menthol and black cherry. Good bbq-burgers wine at a good price. It would be tempting to save for two years even if the grills call now…
Filmed wine: The 2012 documentary “Somm” takes viewers through the process of being an aspiring sommelier. It is available for rental or purchase in line.
Do you like wine? Options vary for purchasing wine. Online retailers provide the ability to choose what you want, manage cases, and find discounts.
Here is a selection to consider:
brightcellars.com: The monthly club puts you in touch with wines after having answered a “quiz on the palate”.
caveswineclub.com: Allows you to choose the number of bottles required.
vinexotique.club.com: Offers subscription wine boxes from wineries located in less accessible markets.
splashwines.com: Choose an organized case or create your own.
winc.com: Four wines adapted to your tastes are sent monthly. Has a review component.
wine.com: A large online seller often offers discounts to new customers.
wineawesomeness.com: Organized shipments of three and six bottles.
wineenthusiast.com: Complete site of accessories – shelves, glasses, door openers, storage, gifts.
wineonsale.com: Allows you to select by grape variety or region.
zachys.com: Includes a variety of ways to search/buy, as well as auction information.
Favorites: A few good ones this month. We will wink at Trivento Reserve Malbec and Sao Miguel.
Wine reviews 2022
Wines of the Month for April: 11 to consider sipping from Indiana (yes) to Italy
Wines for March: 10 wines for $10 to $25
Wines for February: A dozen different wines from 4 countries
January wines: 9 different wines from $9 to $22
I am on cleveland.comfrom the Life and Culture team and covers topics related to food, beer, wine and sport. If you want to see my stories, here is a directory on cleveland.com. On Air: WTAM-1100’s Bill Wills and I talk food and drink usually at 8:20 a.m. Thursday mornings. Twitter: @mbona30.
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