Cost: Average price $6.99
Where buy now: Costco
Grapes: 95% Sangiovese & 5% Merlot
My Savvy “Skank” vino d’Italiano is found at Costco right now. For how long? One never knows. It’s a Sangiovese straight out of Chianti country and it’s stupid, ridiculous good. The price point? A whopping $6.99, which makes it all the more delicious. (Remember, you don’t need to be a Costco member in Minnesota to buy booze. Righteous.)
This wine is easy drinking. You’re not going to be swirling a long time, contemplating the latest NPR think piece whilst reminiscing of your adventures abroad. What you will do is pour it in your glass, give it a couple swirls and enjoy it. This is a fruit-forward style Sangiovese- I get this unique, dusty strawberry fragrance. (I say that because I recently cut into a dusty, strawberry that was about past it’s prime. That aroma is this wine’s essence. In a good way.) It’s aged in stainless steel so no strong oak, vanilla undertones nor any earthy funk. It’s a straightforward wine ripe with spiced cherry and strawberry flavors with a bit of tang. One to try if all you’ve been buying lately are big Cali red blends. This will stretch your palate but not in a way that’ll make you cringe of cat tongue. The fruit forward flavors will be reminiscent of the big domestic red blends but without all that crappy residual sugar and overripe finish. Again, it’s $7, so live on the edge. The edge of frugality(?)
Since you’ll already be there, let’s pair this Sangiovese with some Costco vittles. I made an amazing grilled cheese, comforting on a frigid Winter’s night. Take some Boudin San Fran Sourdough, butter each side. Add one slice each of Swiss, Cheddar, Monterey Jack and Colby [oh my!] from the Finlandia variety cheese pack. The only non-Costco item I used was Stonewall Kitchen’s Bourbon Molasses Mustard http://www.stonewallkitchen.com/shop/speciality-foods/mustards/120810.html/Stonewall Kitchen Bourbon Molasses Mustard which I liberally schmeared on top of the cheese. Grill golden brown, then chomp into that ooey-gooey masterpiece that marries sweet and savory. Wash it down with this Sangiovese. Repeat.
Not a mustard fan? Well, you’re weird and we will never be friends. That aside, I’d recommend throwing some rosemary, oregano and garlic powder on the cheese slices and grill. There, I’ve just set you up with a paired dinner all for under $10. You’re welcome.