Blind Tasting: Wine #17

FranklyWines is a lovely little shop down in Tribeca, NYC. You should definitely check out their site and head down there if you live in NYC. They do several tastings a week (check out TheLocalSip for tasting schedules), and are always so nice and knowledgable. Plus, I had a celebrity sighting there! You know, Paul Bettany, the friend from A Beautiful Mind? He was also the super-creepy albino from The DaVinci Code?

WELL, 1) He is VERY TALL and, 2) he bought a bottle of wine while I was there. SO, if a famous person buys wine from FranklyWines, you should, too.

ANYWAY: They have a great MYSTERY BOTTLE bin, where you just pick up a bottle of wine - all bagged up - and you have NO CLUE WHAT IT IS! Oooo! I LOVE surprises!

Any wine in the bin is $20, and most of them originally retailed for a little more. It is PERFECT for those who are adventurous... Since the Husband has been jealous of all the blind-tasting I've been doing, this was such a lovely treat for us both to blind taste.

We picked up a random bottle of Red wine (the tag at least tells you that much), and it only lasted about 2 days before we gave it a-go.



  • Color - ruby with some purple. Transparent, but intense color.
  • Medium body, and look at those tears on the glass!
  • No rim variation (probably younger...)
  • (note: tears/legs - the wine-streaks on the glass - don't have anything to do with quality. It is simply how fast the wine evaporates due to the amount of alcohol or sugar in the wine. More legs = more body, which means EITHER more booze or more sugar... You need to smell/taste to figure out which it will be!)


On the nose/palate:

  • Plums, maybe some red fruit, blueberries? Maybe a little baked?
  • Something about this made me think of pie.
  • Definitely some spice... maybe a bit of pepper, but also some baking spices. Like clove? I need to sniff through my spice rack again...
  • I don't think there is oak, even though I cited spice above... If there is any, it is old barrels and very brief


  • Acidity: Med (maybe med+)
  • Tannin: Med (maybe med+)
  • Alcohol: Med
  • Body: Med (hmmmm....)



I thought Old World, Young (2011ish)

But the BITTER flavor... it hit me over the head.

ITALY. It was yelling at me....

ITALIA! FORZA!!! Vai vai!

I  probably shouldn't have lept to Italy without considering other grapes - For example, St. Laurent  would have been a smart pick.


I was running through several of the crazy Italian grapes that I've heard of besides the classic Sangiovese, Nebbiolo, Barbera. I thought it couldn't possibly be any of these classic Italian varieties because the acidity was pretty high, but not SUPER high, nor was it "red" fruited enough, and the color was off... (Same reason why I ruled out Montepulciano & Corvina). Also, with the exception of Barbera & Corvina, most of these wines tend to have something rustic, or earthy/dusty that I just wasn't getting in this wine.

SO, all of the following fun grapes ran through my head:

  • Aglianico: No, no. No. Not tannic enough - not inky/purple enough, would be more heavy bodied.
  • Dolcetto: Maybe? I've never had this (at least, I wasn't paying attention if I had...), but I think it has a bitter note and in general might fit that profile... In the running...
  • Fresia: The "mother" grape of Nebbiolo. The wine I had in front of me was too purple and not tannic enough from my understanding of the flavor profile.
  • Frappato: From Sicily, Should have more cherry/cola flavor... but maybe?
  • Negromaro: The name of this grape means black-bitter one... So maybe?

I didn't really make an official guess, but I was leaning toward Dolcetto.

[I was getting hungry, so I gave up and ate dinner.]

I've only had two of the above listed Italian varieties, which makes things hard! I'm trying to apply "abstract" knowledge of what a wine *should* taste like... My palate needs to catch up!

Which means, I need to taste more!

Man. Learning [about wine] is fun.

ps - The Husband guessed Southern Rhone (Blend of Grenache, Syrah, Mourvèdre)...

Who do you think got closer to the correct answer?

ANSWERS to be posted on


for the following WINES:

14 | 15 | 16 | 17

(Apologies for the delay. I know I promised Monday, but I hope you can all contain your excitement and wait a couple more days. :) I still consider this blog in Beta-mode. I'll need to come up with a schedule, as I have a back-log of about 14 wines. I might start doing "quickie" posts, just to keep more current. Thanks for your patience!)