Taking it down a few $ pegs: Ipsus, Pantelleria, Passito 2011 dessert wine

Trying wines under $10 from different parts of the world (translation: outside of the world of California) is a no brainer for me. A cheap tasting will easily take the place of movie night, happy hour in Minnesota in January (translation: I don’t have to go outside) and doing work at home.
Ipsus, Pantelleria, Passito 2011 dessert wine (15% abv) was one of these $9 picks from Trader Joe’s. Great color (that of a bronzed sunset) and exotic location (the island of Pantelleria is in the middle of the MediterraneanDSC_0018 between Sicily and Africa), its name was reminiscent of Icarus, the boy from Greek mythology, who flew too close to the sun.

This wine does not exhibit same hubris as the boy–it’s not that aspiring or far reaching, but because of the lack of ambition, it doesn’t fully crash and burn, either.

On the plus side, this affordable wine had great notes of raisiny apricots, honey, and nuts; but on the reverse, it possessed a thick, lingering taste that was a few steps away from a Mr. Clean cousin (it didn’t taste of cleaner, but tasted thick-necked and as if it could rough you up in a dark alley.)

Perhaps I was ultimately swayed by my sweet tooth (the same one that likes Twinkies) but there was a flavor and sweetness combination I enjoyed, as if this was the wine version of “trail mix”—there was a little something of the earth to take the sweetness down a couple of pegs.

If you like sweet wines and are adventurous, I say give this a whirl! It adds a nice finish to dinner, without breaking the bank, and it’s nice to have a small glass to transition to night.  I may not serve it at a dinner party with wine connoisseurs, however.  You will crash and burn.


B is for…Bonarda.

It’s been awhile since I moved from DC, but without a place to live and lots of new job stress, I woke up today noting my body didn’t want to be limber and move freely.  Lots of sitting since the drive from DC and one untrained-for 10 mile run later, I decided I was stiff as a straight up whiskey shot (what? this is a blog abbonardaout alcohol, not a forum for tired cliches).

I decided to go to yoga, and wanted to go to the first yoga place I started at 10 years ago: BKS Iyengar  in Minneapolis.  By far, my favorite structure of yoga.  However, tonight the instructor was controlling and not very tolerant–she kept calling on and picking on an elderly man who had a hard time with the poses. And she equated us to her forth graders.   Why we were there then, ostensibly, if not because we were imperfect?   The instructor was part Amy Poehler in “Parks and Recreation,” part Kathy Bates in “Misery,” and part bitchy-out-of-this-world “Portlandia” sketch.  Can you say B…onarda?

One could say she drove me to drink.

Or, one could say my great roommate had great pizza that required wine.

Whichever reason, I opened a nice, mildly-bold red wine from Mendoza, Agentina (Not just about the Malbecs, okay?)  The wine: Tercos, 2009 Bonarda.

On the nose, it was fruit forward cherries and black cherries, but not very ripe flavors on the latter.  There was smoke-on-leather notes as if lingering cigarette ash in the library, and all that translated to a lovely, balanced taste–again, fruit forward with smoky leather (not overwhelming), with a medium tannin, medium finish and medium acidity that paired nicely with a tomato-rich deep dish pizza.   Not perfect, but hell, neither are zen masters these days.   I feel like I can appreciate a little rough around the edges tonight more than most.  This is a GREAT wine for Monday melancholia.

I already had the workout, but for $7.99 (on sale, but still a great price from “Elevated”) I would open this bottle up just to enjoy a glass.  Or two.  And all the while, strike an imperfect pose and fidget worse than a forth grader.  Ole!