Ask Chuck

Location: Whitby, Ontario, Canada

Born in Malta but in Canada since age 5. Has written three books and presently does several columns about wine and food for various magazines.

Thursday, February 25, 2021

A Cold, Hard and Isolated Winter Demands Some Excellent and Inexpensive Wine Treats!


As if the "on again; off again; on again lockdown" isn't enough the weather is cold---damn cold! Masks are the "in thing" of the day and God Forbid if you forget to put yours on!!! Television for the most part is boring and in repeats and most of the newscasts focus on one thing----COVID! For awhile there was a brief focus on the Impeachment of President Trump but that was a bit anticlimactic since while it was talked to death about----everyone knew what the result would be!!!! Now we are back to numbers and switching channels or streaming movies---most which I do not like! So what is there but to turn to an old stand by: Wine and Spirits.

Some New and Something Old and Something New Again!


OGGI Organic Pinot Grigio   Region: Veneto, Italy       $13.95    92/100 points

Colour: Clear, straw colour

Nose: Notes of apple, peach, pear and touch of citrus

Palate: Silky mouthfeel, light to medium body with sharp pleasant acidity on finish

Pairing: Great as an aperitif, chicken salad, fish and super with steamed mussels. This wine has been tried twice and score has improved.




Corto di Passo    Grape type: Nero D’Avola   Region: Sicily   $14.95   92/100 points

Colour: Red, clear

Nose: Ripe black cherry, black berry, black currant and plum. Hints of cooking spices

Palate: Medium Body with soft tannin and anise. Finish is long and pleasant.

Pairing: Spare ribs, steak roast beef and beef stew

Comments: Grapes are allowed to dry on the vine. Before harvest half the grapes are picked and allowed to dry in the sun. They are then macerated for 12 days and fermented for 15 days in stainless steel tanks.  14% alcohol.

 Casal Farento Cimare Rosso Piceno Grape: Montepulciano, Sangiovese, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon.  Region: Marches, Italy.    $16.95              93/100 points

Colour: Dark Red, clear

Nose: Vanilla, dark fruit (black berry, black cherry, black raspberry), floral rose

Palate: Young, initially austere but softens to a full bodied and well-balanced wine with lively tannin. Will become more elegant with another year or so in bottle. Good Value.

Pairing: Mushroom Risotto, Pork Roast, Beef Stew

Comments: Aged for 8 months in small oak barre3ls and 5 months in bottle. 13.5 % alcohol.


Gran Passione Prosecco   Region: Veneto   Grape: Glera  $15.95   91/100 Points

Colour: Bright Pale yellow, effervescence with tiny bubbles, clear

Nose:  Granny Smith, pear, honeydew melon with a hint of citrus

Palate: Fresh, light bodies with bracing acidity that leaves a fresh, clean finish.

Pairing: Sushi, seafood salad, shell fish, pork souvlaki (minus the Tzatziki)

Comments: Great value and good quality per price ratio.  

 Divici Prosecco    Grape: Glera    Region: Veneto   $17.95            91/100 points

Colour: Pale yellow, fine effervescence, clear

Nose:  Citrus with accents of pear, green apple, peach with some floral rose.

Palate: Light bodied, refreshing acidity with citrus lime on the aftertaste

Pairings: Aperitif, Smoked Salmon, Tuna steaks, Pork Roast.  

Comments: A very reasonable wine when once considers quality/price ration. The wine is 100 percent Glera grape. This wine is also 100 percent organic.