One of my earliest posts in this blog involved one of my go to, bread and butter, affordable reds: the 2007 Epicuro Salice Salentino, which is available at Trader Joe’s for $5.99. I later reviewed the 2009 vintage of that wine (decidedly less exciting than 2007). Upon one of my last Trader Joe’s visits, I realized that the 2011 vintage is now out, so in line with earlier posts, this is my review of that wine. I know this is an industrially produced, mass market wine, but I always had a soft spot for it, so bear with me…
The 2011 Epicuro Salice Salentino DOC is no longer qualified as a Riserva, unlike its predecessors. It is still made of 80% Negroamaro grapes and 20% Malvasia Nera, with 13% ABV.
In the glass, the wine displayed a decidedly lighter color than its predecessors, a watery ruby red that lacked the depth of color in the earlier vintages (I assume that this is due to less ageing in a barrel). The nose showed oriental spices (think mulled wine, a bit weird), wet tobacco leaf and earthy aromas underlying it. All in all a similar nose to earlier vintages, I think. On the palate, though, what struck me immediately was that this vintage has a decided sugary component which is too much for me. I am not looking for a semi-sweet red wine, so this was a downer. There were cherry, leather and tobacco aromas with barely noticeable tannins, so its feels mild and is rather easy to drink.
I think the earlier releases had more depth and character than this vintage. I was quite disappointed, frankly and am not sure I will reach for it again…
Very nice review as always, Oliver – even if this was not an exciting wine. Well, at least the investment was fairly limited!
It’s what I like about those investments….:)
I’m finding that many of the mass-produced wines that I formerly enjoyed, have changed their profile (probably based on market research in the U.S) and are making “semi-sweet” reds. Yuck.
Wine is expensive here in Rhode Island, and Trader Joe isn’t allowed to sell it. Every state has its own tax system for alcohol. I’m going to have to make a trip to New Hampshire soon, I think. (The state run liquor store there has the best prices in New England).
Quebec also has a fabulous state-run liquor store; great prices. But you have to drink most of the wine there, in Quebec to get your money’s worth because they only allow you to bring back a limited supply.
Thanks for your comment, Tracy, that might actually be the case, that adjusting to perceived mass tastes…
I am surprised Quebec does not let you take wine out of state, that seems wrong. If you are talking about the US being against you bringing back wine, then that is a different story. When we come from Germany, we always bring a bunch. US customs duties are minimal (somewhere under $1 per bottle), so you should be able to bring home a bunch….even if they charge you customs duty on the US side…
Yes, I’m talking about the U.S. customs taxing us on our return from Quebec. Honestly, I had no idea the tax was so minimal. They always made it sound like it was going to be a huge deal, so we never bothered trying to bring more than the allotted 2 bottles back home with us.
Read my post:
It’s become the most viewed post on my blog….:) We bring 12 bottles each usually and were never charged the duty, because customs officials have discretion on whether to collect duty under $20.
Sorry to hear about your disappointment but I do appreciate various vintage tastings of the same wine. Very interesting to note the changes from one year to the next and in this case maybe the unfortunate changes made by producer.
Thanks, Ernest….I always eagerly try new vintages of wines I like, always with trepidation, but dun nonetheless…:)
Oliver, if the wine tasted decidedly sweet but didn’t show any faults or much of the imbalance otherwise, may be it is just too young, and it needed breathing time? This actually might be a standard bottling, while the Riserva is not released yet? I’m always willing to give the wine a benefit of a doubt : )
Oh, my idealistic friend! I have another bottle around and will surely drink it in a while. Given that sugary flavors recede with age, I guess you are right, maybe a year or two will help…see it as the moment when you first notice a chip in someone you love…;)
An honest review is sometimes the best, I think! Although I’m certainly not a wine connoisseur, I’ve definitely had glasses of wine that have left me wanting!!
Oh, I have had a lot of those…but I usually don’t write about them…:)
I think it’s interesting that wrote “Red Wine” on the label for the US market. On the label for the European market they didn’t do that.
Sorry to hear that you didn’t like the wine but as you said yourself it’s a mass-produced wine so you shouldn’t expect too much..
I know, I know, Julian….I was just glad I had an easy drinking wine in the 3-4 Euro price range, which I like to have as uncomplicated back up on standard weeknights…:)
Yeah, the “red wine” must be an American labeling requirement….interesting, I had not even realized.