A regular visitor to the blog sent me an email: “I tried one of the wines you recommended, an Italian red, and I didn’t like it. It wasn’t smooth.” I answered him and told him he was exactly right, and should now consider himself a wine reviewer. The wine wasn’t smooth in the way that California wines are; Italian wines aren’t supposed to be.
I mention this for two reasons. First, as I may have noted once or twice, the only real rule of wine is to drink what you like. My job is to offer a bit of insight and to help you find what you like. Just because I like something doesn’t mean you will. That’s why, in my reviews, I try to explain what I enjoy about the wine, and don’t use scores or winespeak. They just confuse the issue. My goal is to give you enough information so you can decide for yourself. All I ask is that you have an open mind if you try it, and be willing to try different things.
The second reason is the Lamura ($10, purchased, available at Central Market). It’s a red wine from Sicily, made with the nero d’avola grape. As such, it doesn’t have much in the way of ripe California-style fruit or tannins, and it’s much more acidic than most New World wines. It’s dark and plummy, a wine for grilled sausages, roasted eggplant with tomato sauce, and deep dish pizza. And, for summer barbecues, it’s a lot less intimidating that most Australian shirazes. For the price, and given that it is made with organic grapes, the Lamura is a fine value.
But if dark and plummy don’t interest you, or if you prefer less acidic wines, you may not like it. But that’s OK, too. Wine is not an either-or equation. Which is one reason why it’s so much fun.