Wine Glasses

What’s the most beneficial decanter or glass for wine beverages? The particular one you’re holding.

We’re really partly joking. Wine in a plastic cup on a holiday nearly always tastes amazing, and the tumblers at our much loved Italian place are just superb with that large carafe of rustic red wine. It’s also true, though, that a classy, comfortable and well-designed glass tends to make the experience of wine very much more enjoyable. And there’s great news here: There has practically never been a wider choice of good stemware available at economical prices.

For nearly a decade now, our everyday glass has been Spiegelau “Vino Grande” Burgundy, which is so comfortable to use that it seems like an old shoe. Almost everyone needs new shoes once in a while, though, so we determined it was time to perform a broad search to identify a new everyday glass. We shopped in person and online.

While there are a few different sorts of glasses for numerous different kinds of wine — flutes for sparklers, small glasses for dessert wine several boast that they can deliver specific wines best for specific taste buds and so on — everyone needs a good, solid, everyday glass to use for both reds and whites without considering it. You understand the kind of stemware you just reflexively pick up when you come home after a long day. That’s exactly what we were in search of in this tasting.

Penley Estate “Phoenix” Cabernet Sauvignon 2006

I noticed that Penley Estate’s “Phoenix” Cabernet Sauvignon 2006 has been getting some good press as a great value for money red with a little cellaring potential in its back pocket. Armed with this information I picked up a bottle to review at the thrifty price of $17. Very drinkable for a young cabernet, showing aromas.

Jelly Roll Syrah Santa Ynez Valley 2006

If you like a Syrah that might just bite you back well then I have the perfect wine…Oh yeah it’s Jelly Roll as in, “Jelly Roll Morton”. The wine maker Jim Knight loves Jazz or so I am guessing… The aromas jump out of the glass ready to send you into a state of a total animalistic orgasmic state from which it is so sad to return. Black ripe earth brings you in as you do the same to it. You become one in this berry festival that is now your mouth….Drink up young warriors for this will be the day you fight! Oh my I think I went overboard, oh well just try it and see what I mean. With a steak!

La Spinetta Moscato d’Asti Biancospina 2005

I really like this wine, too. It is very tasty and a great Moscato d’Asti. I tasted the fruity notes the previous reviewer stated. I bought it on sale for $15.99 at a wine warehouse in my city, but they guarantee to have prices under retail. Try it if you like Moscato’s, it’s a good one.

Passopisciaro Guardiola Sicily 2007

This was a Chardonnay unlike any other I have ever sampled. Incredible waves of pineapple, peaches and mandarin orange crashed against my palate with a richness that begged for attention. At first I feared the wine might be too much show and not enough substance, but nuances of white flowers, salty minerality and a crisp finish proved that this is a wine of immense quality and depth, and not just another Chardonnay show-pony. It helps that it is truly a unique wine grown on a volcano out of ancient lava. Pretty cool, indeed.


Tenuta di Trinoro Le Cupole Tuscany 2005

Starting with the 2005 Tenuta di Trinoro Le Cupole, which is a blend of Cabernet Franc and Merlot with splashes of Cesanese, Petite Verdot and Uva de Troia. Though technically the second wine of Trinoro, this is a first-rate Tuscan red. The Cabernet Franc provides a haunting perfume on the nose that swings from blackberry essence to violets and finishes with hints of mocha and dark earth. The palate is rich, round, plush and more concentrated than most anything else hailing from Tuscany, but it stays light on the tongue with a balance of natural acidity on the finish.

Tenuta di Trinoro Tuscany 2006

I was lucky enough to sample the 2005 Tenuta di Trinoro about a year ago and I found it to be amazing. The 2006 Tenuta di Trinoro may be even better! A blend of Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petite Verdot and Cabernet Sauvignon, this is as close as heaven and Bordeaux can get to southern Tuscany. A rich frame of power, tannin and grace was given flesh by a sea of dark fruits, earthen spices and a touch of mineral nuance. The aromas positively leapt from the glass, and the finish went on for what seemed like an eternity. Truly an extraordinary wine.


Passopisiaro Sicily 2005

The 2005 Passopisciaro was crafted from 60-100 year-old Nerello Mascalese vines that are grown at very high elevations. This indigenous grape variety is like an uncut gem just waiting for the masterful hand of Mr. Franchetti to hone it and reveal its true brilliance. The wine and the estate derive their name from local town, which in turn received its name for the local fish-monger’s road Similar in weight to a Pinot Noir, the wine opened with a rush of red cherry and orange blossom on the nose followed by deeper more ethereal notes of dry earth and a gamey, animal note. The palate was as smooth as silk and seemed to caress my cheeks with gentle tannins not unlike the sort found in a well-aged Bordeaux. Full and present, but not obtrusive, this is is an amazing and thought-provoking wine.

Passopisciaro Franchetti Sicily 2005

Last but not least was the 2005 Passopisciaro Franchetti. A blend of Petite Verdot and Cesanese, as far as I am concerned this is the benchmark for Sicilian wines. Too often wine lovers think of Sicily and immediately think Nero d’Avola, but here is proof that incredible things can be created from this jewel of an isle. Dark and brooding, yet lithe and elegant, this wine seemed to provide a new sensation at every turn. Aromas of blueberries and blackberry jam wafted from the glass with ease and determination. The palate was rich and complex, with notes of fresh black raspberries, an earthen grip, and a little barrel spice on the finish. There were plenty of tannins on the very long finish, but already they were well-integrated and chewy despite the very young age of this masterpiece.