Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Can I Change My Answer?

In my blog post for Wine Blogging Wednesday I reviewed the 2005 Cusumano Nero d'Avola. I must have gotten a bad bottle, because all I could taste from that bottle was raisins. Over the weekend, I picked up a new bottle from a different store and tried it again.

The second bottle was much better. The overwhelming raisin flavor was gone! The wine did approach a raisin flavor the longer it sat in my glass and warmed, but it never got as strong as the first bottle and it never had a burnt flavor, either. The second bottle was a 2006 as opposed to a 2005. The original bottle had a plastic cork which was not tainted. The new bottle had a cool glass cork which I had read about last year, but never seen before. This new stopper works great and I'm tempted to save the bottle and cork to use it again.

I drank the Cusumano Nero d'Avola with home made spaghetti and meatballs. My wife makes a sauce from scratch using cloves, bay leaves and garlic. We usually drink a Merlot to compliment the tomatoe sauce. The Nero d'Avola was more bitter than a Merlot, but I liked the pairing. I'm glad I tried a second bottle to give both the grape and Cusumano a fair chance. If I ever encounter that "cooked raisin" flavor in a wine again, I'll know it's not the intended flavor and return the bottle. Another lesson learned!

I bought the bottle at a brand new store that opened recently in the Sacramento area: Total Wine. This store is even bigger than the BevMo stores I mostly frequent for my wine purchases. I really liked the layout of the store and the even larger selection of wines. The Italy and French sections are much bigger than the BevMo sections. I was able to find wines at the Total Wine store that I had read about but not been able to find before.

The staff seems more informed about wine, too. I saw many more workers on the floor and even though there were varying levels of expertise, they all seemed knowledgable about wine. I was able to talk for ten minutes about Scilian wines with the staff member who helped me pick up my second bottle of Cusuamano. I look forward to many visits to this new store. I hope they continue to keep their prices as low as their grand opening week.

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