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Lovers of sweet red wines unite!

     Fairly often, readers ask me to recommend sweet red wines. Not super-sweet dessert reds, but off-dry regular red table wines, for people who find dry red wines too bitter and tannic.

     I have a few such that I recommend. But reader Robert Drake messages that he has created an entire wine list for lovers of off-dry reds.  It’s a much longer list than I would have expected.

     He also has an amusing, self-effacing story to go with it.

     Check it out.


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Michael Bittel

my vote for most interesting off dry red:

I’m guessing 20+ years ago, when I purchased my first CD player, like so many others, I immediately ran out and starting purchasing many of my favorite albums from college days, this time around on CD. On one such occasion I found myself in a record store buying the rock masterpiece, Layla. I brought it up to the front counter and excitingly placed the CD down. The teenage girl working behind the counter looked at it and asked whom Derek and The Dominos were, she had never heard of the album. I went into this long rap about Eric Clapton. She asked who’s Eric Clapton? I was crushed….

So with apologies to those of you too young to know whom The Cream are (Eric Clapton once again), I must confess that when I first tried this wine, the tune “Strange Brew” kept popping into my mind.

“She’s a witch of trouble in electric blue, In her own mad mind she’s in love with you.
With you. Now what you gonna do? Strange brew- see what’s inside of you!”
Eric Clapton, The Cream

Bruno Verdi Bonarda 2006
$25.99 a bottle

I could go on about the Bruno Verdi Bonarda 2006, faintly frizzante and startling with its acid pop. (I believe the words "Holy !@*?" escaped my lips at first sip.) Oh. My. Goodness. This is one strange brew! But, man, is it fun! And Boy, when slightly chilled, does it go well with pizza. This is just about the best $26 you're likely to spend this week. Here is a sparkling red wine from Oltrepo Pavese (the tan-colored spot between Emilia-Romagna, Liguria and Piemonte on the map) in southwest Lombardia. I believe this wine is one of those special little gems that come along and, once tasted, kind of alters you for life. You see things just a tad differently. Colors seem brighter and people who used to annoy you, well, they still annoy you, it's just that you don't seem to care as much. A purple-red-frothed snazzy thang, all spice-kissed blackberry and raspberry fruit with little fireworks of lavender, Red Hots cinnamon candy and cocoa just making things all spine-shiveringly deee-lish. Semi-sweet dried-fruit aromas of spice cake and a decadent, long, rich finish. This is made from Croatina (aka Bonarda.)
(Don’t cellar it- drink it now!)

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