I’ve had two wines in the past week that were both delicious and budget-conscious. I love trying wine varietals that I haven’t had before, and liking them. I realize that’s not an indication that all wines made from the grape will be the same, thankfully, but it’s a good start. The Domaine du Cros Marcillac is a red wine made from the Fer Servadou grape, also known as Mansois (and a bunch of other names if you Google it). I tasted the 2009 vintage and was immediately hit by a hugely fragrant nose, it smelled like a bunch of peppery berries. Then there was the taste, loads of fruit and spiciness and I could almost taste pepperoni. The Marcillac region is in Southwest France and Domaine de Cros is one of the largest estates there. The wine is also known as “Lo Sang del Pais” which a search turns up to mean “the blood of the country.” It’s medium bodied, with some acidity and very light tannins so while letting it breath would probably bring out more flavors, I don’t think it would store for the future well. I didn’t have it with food, but think it would go very well with pork or perhaps duck. I enjoyed my taste very much and immediately bought a bottle. Local wine store The Savory Grape (1000 Division Rd., East Greenwich, RI 02818) tells me they have some in stock for $14.00.
The other wine I had while out to dinner was a Wieninger Wiener Gemischter Satz, a white wine from Vienna, Austria. Interestingly, Gemischter Satz is a style of wine where several different grapes are grown in the same field and then fermented together. I haven’t been able to find a firm source of which grapes are in this wine, but it had the crispness of a Sauvignon Blanc, some beautiful Riesling flavors and then, as it lingered, a feeling of Chardonnay body. There may have even been some Gewurztraminer in there as well. Regardless of the grapes, it was a delicious wine and went well with food. An online price search shows an average cost for the 2009 vintage at around $14.00 a bottle. The Savory Grape doesn’t carry the Wieninger, but does have a Rotes Haus Gemischter Satz in stock. I have seen the 2008 available by the glass at Tini (200 Washington St., Providence, RI 02903) and La Laiterie (184-188 Wayland Ave., Providence, RI 02906).