What I’ve Been Drinking of Late, Part 7

A Brunello worth seeking out.
A Brunello worth seeking out.

Frescobaldi CastelGicondo Brunello di Montalcino DOCG 2015

Transport yourself to Tuscany with a sip of Frescobaldi CastelGicondo Brunello di Montalcino DOCG 2015, a big, bold, inky wine that lingers on the palate, giving you plenty of time to daydream any troubles away.

Made by a winery with more than 700 years in the business, this Italian beauty ($69) is made with Sangiovese grapes that have attained Italy’s highest classification.

With substantial tannins, this is a wine that will age gracefully. But if you’re like me, you’ll be impatient to uncork a bottle, as I admittedly was when I received a sample to try.

Blackberry, raspberry and evergreen are heady on the nose. On the palate, it’s rich with deep cherry, leather, earth, tobacco, and cinnamon.

Try it alongside roast leg of lamb, a steak smothered in fresh rosemary, bolognese pasta or beefy Italian meatballs.

Cheers: If you mindlessly reach for a Cabernet Sauvignon to pair typically with red meat, next time try Brunello instead. Find this wine at Wine.com and Total Wine & More.


Whether it’s because we’re all sheltering at home now or maybe social-distance picnicking in parks, canned wine sure seems to be having a moment.

One of the newest is WineSociety, founded by Angela Allison, who fell in love with the Napa Valley as she and her husband split their time between his tech work in San Francisco and their home in Cincinnati.

A trio of WineSociety's canned wines, which even comes with a plastic cap in case you can't finish the entire can.
A trio of WineSociety’s canned wines, which even comes with a plastic cap in case you can’t finish the entire can.

Made with California grapes, the wines come in 500ml cans, the equivalent of 2/3 of a bottle, making for two generous-sized glasses for two people.

I had a chance to try samples of three: Tempt, Fate, and Chance. Yes, the names may be a bit cutesy to swallow.

The wines come in on-trend minimalist designed cans in the colors of white (Fate), blush pink (Chance) and charcoal (Tempt). Fate is a white blend; Chance, a rose’; and Tempt, a red blend.

In fact, the cans don’t say what grape varietals make up each wine, which Allison did purposely to play up WineSociety’s unconventional nature. That may annoy some. But you can always take the time to go onto the WineSociety website to learn that Fate is primarily Chardonnay with Albarino; Chance is a blend of Zinfandel, Syrah and Barbera; and Tempt is primarily Syrah with Petit Syrah, Petit Verdot, Merlot, and Cabernet Sauvignon.

Aged in neutral oak and stainless steel, Fate has a faint lick of toasty vanilla, along with honeysuckle and pear, but is not in any way a butter bomb. Chance is full of strawberry and rose notes, and is quite crisp yet with a rounded fullness. And Tempt is an approachable red marked by cassis, blackberry, spice and violets, plus mellow tannins.

The cans are $7.99 at BevMo. Or $39.20 for three cans shipped per quarter in WineSociety’s subscription wine club.

Cheers: Don’t want to bother with a corkscrew? Crave something that goes down easy without having to think too much? WineSociety is just the ticket.

A Tale of Two Albarinos

When the weather warms — even during an unlikely warm spell here in the Bay Area in January — I reach for Albarino (or Alvarinho).

Actually, two of them to be exact. One for each hand. Each hailing from opposite sides sandwiching the Minho river, the longest rive in Spain’s Galicia region that shares a border with Portugal.

Spain on the left and Portugal on the right.
Spain on the left and Portugal on the right.

Would they taste the same? Or vastly different? When I was invited to try samples of two different Albarinos, I was curious to find out.

In one corner, there was Portugal’s Soalheiro Alvarinho Granit 2019 ($23). In the other, Spain’s Eidos de Padriñán Albariño 2018 ($25).

Extremely refreshing, both boast loads of minerality. The Spanish one tickles with melon and pear; the Portuguese one tastes greener with a noticeable grassy edge marked by green apple.

Which one wins? I’d say both.

Cheers: Love the raciness of Sauvignon Blanc? Then, you’ll much enjoy exploring the world of Albarinos (Alvarinhos), especially paired with grilled fish, steamed mussels, ceviche, poached prawns or even Caesar salad.

More: What I’ve Been Drinking of Late, Part 1

And: What I’ve Been Drinking of Late, Part 2

And: What I’ve Been Drinking of Late, Part 3

And: What I’ve Been Drinking of Late, Part 4

And: What I’ve Been Drinking of Late, Part 5

And: What I’ve Been Drinking of Late, Part 6

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