Get More Bang for Your Buck with This Red Blend

Get More Bang for Your Buck with This Red Blend

A throwback idea for today!

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A lifetime ago, many California estates, large and small, used to bottle what they called “Burgundy.” Today, almost nobody calls their wine that, except for the real thing that comes from the Burgundy region of France. (Even older cookbooks used to ask for “a cup of Burgundy wine.” They didn’t mean the real thing; they meant those ubiquitous blends from California.) Truth is, some of these anonymous wines were darn good, and it left a lot of room to vary the blend year to year. Today’s wine reminds me of that mindset. It’s Pedroncelli’s “friends.red, Sonoma County Red Wine.” A blend of three grapes, it’s aged for 11 months in small oak barrels, 30 percent of which are new. This wine belies its humble idea, and so does its reasonable price. But this is what Pedroncelli has been doing for decades – delivering more for less. Highly recommended.

2016 friends.red, Pedroncelli, Sonoma County Red Wine $13 srp*

Bright, ruby red color. This wine comes at you with a basketful of ripe fruit. A high-toned nose of freshly picked berries that’s pointed, clean and delightful. Flavors are a bit rough-hewn, with raspberry, cherry and red currant bursting in your mouth. Not only a crowd-pleaser, but a well-crafted wine that will serve a myriad of foods. Hard cheeses, chicken soup or ribs on the grill will be happy. Speaking loud and proud to the long finish, I could gulp this till the cows come home. (60% Merlot, 26% Zinfandel, 14% Syrah) Drink now-2020.

88/100 points

*Just released, so availability is locally spotty. Call around and order from your favorite wine merchant.

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Arturo Ciompi
Trained as a classical clarinetist and conductor, Arturo plied his trade for many years in New York, performing with the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, New York City Opera, the American Symphony and countless chamber music groups. While living in Durham, Arturo became the wine manager at two iconic gourmet stores: Fowler’s in Durham and Southern Season in Chapel Hill. He had a wine spot on NPR in the ’90s and has been a continuously published wine journalist since 1997. He has won national awards for his work and is currently writing for Durham Magazine and its weekly blog, “Wine Wednesdays”. In addition, he loves teaching the clarinet. Read more on his website.