Urban Grape, $16
Legend has it that a pope in the 1100s or thereabouts –back when popes weren’t especially religious or pious or celibate–sent a lackey on ahead to locate the best wine in Italy. Said lackey, upon finding the best, would mark the door of the establishment with “est” (it’s here?). One certain purveyor was so good, the lackey was moved to paroxysms of chalking the door.Ecco Est.
Est certainly inexpensive. Est very drinkable for 12.5% abv. Est had a pleasant-enough oily texture, tasting of grapefruit, lemon, wet wool and a tenacious weight on the tongue that slid into an acorn-like finish.
Est the best? Nest.
Verdict: My notes say “like a commuter on a train, drink it and don’t think twice.” No, I wasn’t drunk. That was my rather pretentious way of saying that, like a commuter who travels the same route every day and looks through the same things every day going elsewhere, that’s the experience of this wine.
Bin Ends, $9
Rkatsiteli is a white varietal that was popularly grown in the former Soviet Union, and is still big there in places like Romania, Georgia and Hungary. Westport Rivers here in Massachusetts grows it, and their 2006 is what I tried.
To me, this was a lazy wine: the equivalent of a bloated Politburo member. Wines are supposed to evolve and change as you first taste it, swirl it around your mouth, and swallow. Nope, this one left for the dacha.
I kept thinking “farmyard” and tasted what seemed like cooked grass or peas. I hate peas–was forced to eat too many that came from a can as a child. (Full disclosure. Trying to be an ethical blogger, blah blah.) But objectively speaking, the finish was over as soon as I swallowed (oh, get your mind out of the gutter), which, as a lot of wine-types will tell you, isn’t cool. It tasted better the colder it got, but I really wasn’t interested in continuing down that path.
Verdict: like listening to a Ke$ha song if you’re over 26. Interesting for the first 37 seconds and then that’s more than enough.
Brookline Liquor Mart, $22.99