Here are some choices that are pleasing to the palate—and the pocketbook.
We received two bottles of the same wine, Black Label Claret by Coppola Winery, from two different people at dinner last month, and it’s been so long since I’ve encountered that name that I had to look up “claret.” The rather old-fashioned moniker refers to a Bordeaux-style wine blend, primarily Cabernet Sauvignon, that was first mentioned back in the 1700s.
It’s a good, hearty varietal and made me think of other, less familiar wines available here.
Our friends at Trader Joe's pointed me to Lambrusco Reggiano ($5.99) from the Le Grotte vineyards in Emilia-Romagna, a fruity, fizzy red for those who can’t quite make the leap to rosé. Ancient Romans gathered wild labrusca grapes to make a bubbly wine almost identical to what we can enjoy now. Another overlooked Italian red, Pasqua’s Valpolicella Superiore Ripasso ($9.99) is big and complex, a double fermented wine from the Veneto region that fell out of favor in the 1980s but is a worthy—and inexpensive—dinner companion.
Tim Varan at the venerable Tim’s Wine Market suggests getting acquainted with a wine from the small Alpine Savoie region of France, an Apremont Jacquere (a grape from the 13th century) from Pierre Boniface ($18). “It smells like you’re pouring fresh rainwater over cut green apples,” Varan says. Also very popular right now is a Greek white, Moschofilero from the Peloponnese, particularly from the Skouras vineyards ($18), with an easy-drinking, aromatic nature, great with seafood or on its own.
Next week: Unquoted quotes from some of our Orlando magazine Dining Awards Critic’s Choice winners.
- May 7 marks the Fifth Annual Running of the Chihuahuas—and you’re welcome for that hysterical mental image—courtesy of Winter Park’s Cocina 214 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. DJs, food, drinks and dozens of yapping racing pets will be there; proceeds benefit Winter Park Lost Pets and A Cause 4 Paws Rescue.
- Fast casual eatery The Polite Pig opened April 10. The only truly local offering so far at Disney Springs is courtesy of multiple James Beard Award nominees James and Julie Petrakis (The Ravenous Pig, Cask & Larder), and brother Brian Petrakis (Greens & Grille). Look for an expanded visit in our July issue.
- Speaking of porcine establishments, Mills 50 district food hero Thomas Ward has opened a second location of his popular Pig Floyd's Urban Barbakoa in the behemoth Lake Nona district.