Mario Ercolino Saserello 2010

Sicilia, Italy

Mario Ercolino Saserello

Price: $13.99
Grapes: Cabernet Sauvingnon (25%), Merlot (25%), Sangiovese (25%), Syrah (25%)
Alcohol: 13.5%

From the Bottle:  “After many years making wines in Southern Italy, I wanted to craft a “Super Sicilian.”  My selection comprises grapes from four unique terroirs, all equal proportions but different varietals, grown on two small estates.  The Cabernet and Merlot come from one of hte most premium vineyard sites in western Sicily where the deep mineral-rich soils impart complexity, whilst the Syrah and Sangiovese are grown in nearby coastal vineyards, where the grapes attain ‘new world’ ripeness.  After careful blending I was very happy with the result: Saserello is brimming with damson and black cherry characters, with hints of black pepper, savoury, toasty vanilla notes and elegant tannins, followed by a long, ripe finish.  It partners well with richly-flavoured dishes such as steak with a black peppercorn sauce, slow-cooked venison with juniper and full-flavoured cheeses.  – Mario Ercolino”

A says:
Rating: ****
Color   Cherry red
Smell   Spicy
Taste   I taste bitter, chocolate flavors with a tart finish.  It has a spiciness to it that is very pleasant.  Saserello is both tasty and reasonably priced.  I’m giving it a four – I’d really like another glass, but I’m not going to trample my friends to get the last drop.

D says: 
Rating: *****
Smell   Sweet, caramelized sugar
Taste   Saserello is super dry. It’s a little chocolaty and a little earthy.  The finish reminds me of Swiss cheese (or at least the aftertaste of Swiss cheese).  That may not sound very appealing, but it is!  It has been a while since I’ve given a five, but this wine earned it.

Guest taster X says: 
Rating: ****
Smell   The creme filling in Cadbury eggs
Taste   It’s a casual wine. It has wood and earthy flavors.  Smooth.  I’d say four stars.

Verdict:  First off, we had our first guest rater for this wine!  X doubted her mad tasting skillz, but anybody who can liken the scent of wine to Cadbury eggs definitely fits in with this crowd.

We’d like to say that X came over and enjoyed this bottle over the recommended “slow-cooked venison with juniper,” but actually we just ordered pizza and popped open a bottle at random.  Yeah, we actually have venison with juniper ALL the time, so if we had been paying close attention to the label we would have paired this one properly… because you know that venison and juniper are super common things at the dinner table.  Okay, enough mocking Mario Ercolino for his ridiculously specific (not to mention uncommon) food suggestion.   This wine was good with pizza too.

We all thoroughly enjoyed it, and D enjoyed it so much that he was still talking about it the next day.  Excellent wine at good price, what more can you ask for?

Have you tried it? Rate it!

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (1 votes, average: 4.00 out of 5)
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Domaine Brenac Merlot 2012 4.5 Stars

Pays d’Oc, France

Price: $16
Grapes: Merlot
Alcohol: 13%

From the Bottle:  “Established by our grandfather louis in 1932, our domain lies in the commune of Nizzan Lez Enserune, near Beziers in the Herault.  It is dominated by the Oppidum d’Enserune with its 2000 years of history, and our vineyards are skirted by the Canal du Midi and the Domitia way. Our Merlot is crafted from select parcels of grapes which have produced a wine with a deep ruby colour, aromas of blackberries and blackcurrants and a rich, silky, full-bodied black cherry and plum palate with a touch of toasty vanilla. The finish is long and smooth, with hints of liquorice, making this delicious wine the perfect partner for pasta with a spicy tomato sauce, grilled sausages and cheese platters.

A says:
Rating: ****
Color   Deep crimson
Smell   Vanilla and ripe berries
Taste   Very bitter – like extra dark chocolate.  The smell and the flavor reminded me of my grandparents’ basement, and I almost called in musty, until I realized the smell in the basement was probably coming from the cave, not the old books.  Before you think that musty basement is bad, however, let me assure you that I really liked this bottle.  It’s not fruity, but it fills your mouth in a delicious wash of strong flavor and has a smooth finish.  Mmm.

D says: 
Rating: *****
Smell  Surprisingly sweet
Taste   Can a wine be sharp?  I think this wine is.  It has a rich oak flavor; it’s smoky with just a hint of sweet to round it out.  I would buy a case – I thought it was delicious.

Verdict:  For the record, we tasted this wine and wrote our notes down without looking at the region.  The fact that we are again giving high marks to a wine from the Pays d’Oc is a testament to the products of the region – we’re not being paid off by winemakers from Southern France, and since we didn’t know where the wine was from when we drank it, we can’t blame psychology either.  This stuff is just good. Really, really good.  At $16, A could only justify 4 stars.  D, however, is going for broke an requesting that we purchase it in bulk.

Have you tried it? Rate it!

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (2 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)
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