Stock up for Summer – Maculan Pino and Toi Veneto 2010

The Maculan Pino and Toi Veneto 2010 ($5.99 PLCB code: 32270) is a fantastically good value for a summer white quaffing wine!  Hailing from the Veneto Region of North East Italy, this wine is less known than many of the Veneto’s most popular wine types (Prosecco, Amarone and Valopolicella to name a few) but the Veneto region bottles more DOC wine than any other region in Italy, so it is not surprising to find a good value in such a high volume producing region.

Produced from 60% Tocai, 25% Pinot Bianco and 15% Pinot Grigio, the Maculan Pino and Toi is very light yellow color and lightness is the wine’s main theme.   Light whites are perfect for picnics, aperitifs, and lounging outside on warm days.   This wine delivers apple and lemon aromas with flavors that include light floral and citrus that are nicely balanced followed by a clean, snappy finish.  As a wine to start an evening meal, or just sip with light appetizers, a better value is difficult to imagine, in fact it was at the start of a meal in which a food-focused-friend of mine introduced me to this wine.   I consider this good luck, because at this price point ($5.99 in PA with a claimed original retail price of $15),  I cannot think of a good reason not to purchase several bottles to have at the ready, just in case a nice, warm summer evening turns into an impromptu picnic opportunity.

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C Greffe Brut Rose NV Sparkler from Loire Valley, France

Recently, I found myself in need of a rose bubbly to serve at a French-themed dinner.   Champagne is always my first choice for bubbly, but cost considerations led me to the PLCB Chairman’s Selection section of our local State Store, where I noticed a beautiful rose colored non-vintage Loire Valley French Sparkler the C Greffe Brut Rose NV ($13.99 PLCB code 32408).   This sparkler is from Touraine, a broad sub-region of the central Loire Valley approximately 120 miles southwest of Paris.   The wine-makers of C. Greffe use three grapes in the blend: Cabernet Franc 50% (famous red grape of the Loire Region and blending grape in Bordeaux), Gamay 45% (the featured grape of Beaujolais), and Pineau d’Aunis 5% (a blending grape with long history in Loire Valley).   At the first sip, this bubbly unveils a lean, clean and fresh wine that is dry, but stops short of being austere.  The mouth-feel has a frothy mousse that brings all the flavors into focus, especially when ice cold, although I often enjoy allowing sparkling wine to warm slightly in the glass so that all the fruit flavors can burst forward and become obvious (this also shows flaws in lesser wines and sometimes I wish I hadn’t been so adventurous).  Overall, the nicely integrated fresh fruit flavors of cherry and strawberry combine with a hint of earthiness and lead into a crisp finish that suggests a well-made sparkler.  I am a fan of this bubbly for the affordable $13.99 price and the pleasing flavors, and I expect it will do well at my upcoming dinner – this is definitely a good value bubbly and worth a try.

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