(Photo from Lola's Curmudgeonly Musings)
I know almost nothing about wine. I know you're supposed to have red wines with red meats and white wines with white meats (to put it very simply). I know that I prefer reds to whites, generally. But I can rarely remember what kind of wine I had that I liked. And when I'm in the grocery store looking for wine to buy to cook with or maybe to take to someone's house, I am at a complete loss. I know you're thinking that the first part of my problem is that I'm shopping for wine in a grocery store. But that gives you an idea of the extent of my wine knowledge.
So, being so woefully uninformed about wine, I asked our server to suggest a red wine to me. She said that the owner always recommended the first one on the list, a certain variety that started with a P. She said he bought it specially for the restaurant because he liked it so much. So I said Sure, I'll try that one.
Lo and behold, it was the best wine I'd ever tasted.
(Photo from Our Manly's article on the benefits of red wine)
In my experience of red wines, even the ones that have a nice, full flavor and that don't sap every ounce of moisture from your mouth but rather make you feel like you're sampling some especially sumptuous flavor -- even these tend to have a kind of bitterness, or a tang, or an acidity about them. Not so with this wine.
There was a delightful mix of flavors. I can't recall exactly what they are, and I am certainly no sommelier, but I'll say there were a few different types of fruitiness at first and then I tasted a kind of richer, fuller flavor -- maybe something along the lines of walnuts? -- and then there was the loveliest finish. No acidity, no bite, no sharp pinch at the end. Just full, round deliciousness. Every sip I took I enjoyed. I have never been able to say that about any wine I've tasted.
Because I never remember these things, I wrote down the name. Not only would I like to taste it again, I'd also like to give a bottle or two to people and say, "Try this and tell me what you think." And a bottle of wine usually makes a nice gift, don't you think?
These wine carrier bags are also insulated, so if you want to give someone wine and you want it to stay chilled, you can put the bottle in one of these bags and hand it over without feeling like a total wino.
(Carriers are $8.00 each from Wine Country Gifts)
- The wine is called Perdera and it's made in Sardinia (Sardegna to Italians).
- Sardinia is actually an island off the west coast of Italy, and apparently the grapes they grow there are different than the grapes grown in other parts of Italy.
Sardinia is the island in green next to Italy. Sicily, by the way, is the knob down at the bottom of Italy's boot. The island just north of Sardinia is Corsica.
(Map from Travel-Sardinia.com)
There are all sorts of pictures of Sardinia that look like this. Rocky shorelines around belly-like bays of super-blue water, and skies equally vivid blue. If this is what it's like there, maybe I should just go to Sardinia and drink the wine right there.
(Photo from Hooked on Cycling, Italy)
- Perdera wine is made from another type of Sardinian grape, the Monica.
- Apparently, some wine experts call this type of grape "unspectacular," so if you are a super-wine-afficianado, you may be poo-poohing this entire entry.
I don't know what kind of grapes these are, but there are enough in each box to make a case of wine.
(Photo from some unknown group's visit to The Wine Room in Cherry Hill, NJ where they participated in making wine)
- The one type of Perdera that pops up online the most often is one made by a Sardinian vintner, Argiolas. This particular Perdera is comprised of 90% Monica grapes, 5% Carignano, and 5% Bovale Sardo grapes, which almost went extinct but for the efforts of this winery. Perhaps the combination of different grapes is one reason why the wine has a nice mix of flavors.
This is Giuseppe Argiolas, one of the two brothers who own and operate the Argiolas winery in Sardinia.
(Photo from DiWine Taste, an Italian site)
- A few wine reviewers said that this gets better if you allow it to decant (open it and leave it alone) for a while, about half an hour before pouring.
- They recommended drinking it with roast meats or pasta with meat sauce or pork. A lot of people used the word "rustic."
- Different reviewers discussed different years in which this wine was made. Wines from 2003 and 2005 seemed to get the highest praise. They also said this wine is best within two to three years of the date on the bottle.
(Photo from Sherry-Lehmann wine merchants, where you can get a case of Perdera for $179.40)
- Here are the various ways that other wine reviewers described this wine:
- Blackberry, blueberry, and raspberry aroma, earthy on the palate followed by more berry flavors, and mellowing into black currant and ripe blackberry flavors.
- Prune and strawberry aroma, followed by berries on the palate, with a finish of coffee and chocolate
- Ripened cherry, cinnamon, and black pepper, followed by chocolate and "firm tannins."
- Juicy bouquet of cherries and dark fruit out of the gate
- Jammy dark fruit and spicy black pepper
- Full and warm in flavor, plummy and peppery
The wine sells for around $11 to $13 per bottle, depending on who's importing it and how far it has to get shipped and so on. I've asked around at a couple of wine shops and a restaurant or two since I've been back and nobody had any clue what I was talking about. It's not a very commonly-stocked wine, apparently, so if I want to taste it again and share it with people, I might have to order some of it myself.
Which means buying a case. I have never bought a case of wine in my life before. But I'm really considering it. But if I'm going to buy a case of wine, I'm certainly not going to toss back all the bottles in, like, a week. So do I need to have some sort of special storage method or something? How does one keep a case of wine, and how long can you have it around?
What a case of wine looks like when it arrives
(Photo from edmund's blog's very first entry)
If you're going to keep bottles of wine for more than a few weeks, store them
- Out of direct sunlight
- Away from any source of vibration
- Away from a heat source
- Not near anything else that has a strong odor
- On their sides (this keeps the cork moist and airtight)
- Temperature should be about 55 degrees
- Humidity should be around 70% to 80%
Most wine racks are stupidly expensive. But this one, which is actually three racks on top of each other, is on sale for $10 per rack plus shipping. Each rack holds 6 bottles.
(Photo and $10 deal from eWineRacks.com)
Lots of bottles now are made to resist ultraviolet light, but if you'll be keeping wine for several months, that fancy glass won't be enough to keep out the UV rays. If your wine is exposed to direct light, it gets "light struck" and will taste like wet cardboard.
All those storing requirements sound an awful lot like my basement. One site says that a corner of a basement may do just fine, or a closet where you can shut the door, or a cupboard under the stairs, or other such nooks & crannies that might be in your house.
Well, so I could buy a case and store it just fine in my basement. But $10 per bottle plus shipping means I'd spend around $150 or more for a case. But maybe I could order just 6 bottles instead of 12. From the Wine Library, 6 bottles including shipping comes to $83. The full case is a better deal per bottle, but I'm not sure I need 12 bottles.
Well, I'll spare you all the details of my decision-making process. Let's just say that I'm going to buy some of this wine and leave it at that.
Update, about a week & a half later: I decided to buy 4 bottles. Because the company shipping them said they absolutely had to have somebody sign for them, I had them shipped to the office where I work. And, delightfully enough, FedEx put a label on the box that said in huge letters, ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES and DO NOT RELEASE TO AN INTOXICATED PERSON. So when I arrived at work, my boss said to me, "[Apple Lady], your booze is here." Lovely.
I opened one of the bottles last night. I let it sit for a while, maybe 15 minutes, while I did other things. Then I poured myself a glass to drink with dinner. Alas, it was not as beautifully smooth as I had remembered. I'd wondered if the mixture of being on vacation and the balmy breezes of Florida might have somehow influenced my experience of the wine, and that may be the case. But I did take my time about drinking it, and it did seem more mellow after about 20 more minutes, so I think maybe the reviewer who said you ought to let it sit for about half an hour first had some good advice.
I've got the opened bottle downstairs on the counter. I'm waiting for it to come to room temperature, and then I'll try another glass.
Red Wine Review: Argiolas Perdera, Wine Weekly, February 23, 2007
Benito's Wine Reviews, 2002 Argiolas Perdera, October 15, 2007
Winebow, Italy, Sardinia, Argiolas
The Wine Cask Blog, Argiolas Perdera Isola dei Nuraghi 2003 (PB), August 7, 2005
Supermarket Guru, Wine FAQs: Storing Wine
Cellarnotes.net, Storing Wine
My Wines Direct, Wine Guide: Storing Wine