Last week we were paid a visit by our salesperson Deb who introduced us to Teresa from DFV Wines (http://www.delicato.com). You might be familiar with their endless portfolio of brand name wines which include the popular Gnarly Head, Bella Ambiance, 337 and Bota Box to name just a few. While one might think that a "supermarket" wine might fall into the "generic" category of mass produced wines associated with yellow kangaroos and four liter jugs, I would defend that DFV does not get lumped into this stereotype.
While Gnarly Head may dot the wine shelf battlefield with massive end cap displays and special offers, there's a reason why. The wine is actually very good for under $10. We were super impressed by their Merlot which is undoubtedly a Cab Sauv lover's Merlot. Fuller bodied in style with good tannin structure, earth tones and long finish. This is not a weak and flabby Merlot for those looking for something to simply quaff. From there it was an onslaught of red blends that were so individually distinct than the one previous, truly giving the Apothic and Menage red blend categories a run for their dollar. Again, we're talking about the under $10 MSRP category and within that realm it's a lot of hit/miss and overpriced bulk juice. DFV has planted their flag saying that yes they can source, produce and get to market good quality vino without breaking your bank account.
The Stand Outs...
Irony "Black" Pinot Noir 2014 from Monterey
Every vineyard seems to be on the "dark" or "midnight" marketing kick lately. The Irony Black PN seems to be going right after Mark West. Truth be told, I was never a fan of the Mark West line although I sold tons of it throughout the years. It's a marketing machine. The Irony Black hit in me in all the right feels, probably because they add a touch of Syrah which perked my ears up. Dark, inky, black cherry, plum, licorice and subtle hints of vanilla. Concentrated flavors of rich, dark fruit and blackberry jam are wrapped in layers of toasted oak and barrel spice. Aged in French and American oak for up to 9 months. A few dollars more than Mark West, but well worth every inky, luscious dark drop.
Z. Alexander Brown Uncaged Cabernet Sauvignon.
I don't know who Zack Brown is or what style of music he plays, but he knows a tasty Cab Sauv and the right people to create it for him. Designed to pair well with southern food and I think he hits the bulls eye with this. I'm assuming that they're going after the Joel Gott Cab Sauv market with this. Pop that cork and a rush of vanilla bean infues oak hits your nose. Medium tannins with soft mocha covered cherries. Call it what you want, it's just a pleasant Cab Sauv to drink on it's own and I wish I had some southern cooking near me in CT to try out with it.
Doria La Petite Grace Pinot Noir
Meiomi Pinot Noir is a marketing machine powerhouse within the $20+ MSRP range and given it's Wagner family heritage you could understand why. This Doria exceeds it. Bottle presentation should be a category because this thing is beautiful, but inside is where the true beauty hides waiting to explode in your glass. Beautiful baking spices, dark cherries, dark and dense. It's what I like in a California Pinot Noir just following short of the Meiomi big brother Belle Glos, but it's also half the price. I wanted Teresa to leave the bottle, it was that good.
Do not underestimate the quality and value of the Belle Ambiance and Gnarly Head line. They are a lot of wine for under $10 MSRP. I would, without hesitation, order these wines at a restaurant. Truly a pleasure to go through the tasting with both Deb and Teresa. I would love to showcase these wines during the course of a dinner to allow others to see the versatility and quality given their price structure. Check out the live-stream video of the tasting on our Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/wine101hamden/
The wines are now in-store and available for shipping across the U.S. Some states prohibit the outside sale of vino to their residents, so please be sure to check our page for allowable states that we ship to.
Wine Round Up:
Irony Black Pinot Noir
Z. Alexander Brown Uncaged Cabernet Sauvignon
Doria Pinot Noir