Cleto Chiarli “Vecchia Modena Premium” Lambrusco di Sorbara Secco ($13.99)

Cleto Chiarli nv "Vecchia Modena Premium" Lambrusco di Sorbara

Pull off the plastic clip that holds down its fun, mushroom-shaped cap, and this wine opens with a pop and pours with a short-lived fizz. Clear, light reddish orange, fading to watery pale at the edge, almost a rosé. Very attractive red-berry scents, a pleasant mix of raspberries and strawberries. Red fruit on the palate follows the nose, with more carbonation in the mouthfeel than you see in the glass. Fresh, crisp acidity and a distinct note of pleasant but perceptible bitterness in the finish. Interesting sipping wine, light and gulpable at 11% alcohol, clean and palate-cleansing in the long, fresh finish.

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Bonterra 2012 Mendocino County Zinfandel ($13.99)

Bonterra 2012 Mendocino County Zinfandel

This clear, dark reddish-purple wine is made with organic grapes. Its Mendocino County fruit is blended with just a touch (5%) of Zin grapes from Amador County. Typical Zin aromas of blackberries and black plums lead into a fresh, simple but pleasing black-fruit flavor shaped by appropriate acidity and a soft touch of tannins. At 14.2% acidity it’s hefty enough but relatively light by modern Zin standards, and benefits from that approach by sparing us the harsh heat that higher alcohol brings to some of its brethren.

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