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Read this and weep


Mark Sommelier
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Even in the holly wine land of Italy you may find flavoured wines like Fragolino. The more wine professionals the less we have to worry about silly beverages like that.

Andre Suidan

I was taught to finish what I order.

Life taught me to order what I enjoy.

The art of living taught me to take my time and enjoy.

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When I read about creations like this, after I've instinctively turned my nose up, I wonder if I'm not too set in my ways, too snobbish even. After all if you can blend things to give a pleasant beverage (and most wines are some kind of blend to start with, although up to now only of grapes) then why shouldn't the results of putting assorted flavours into wine be acceptable, especially if you can get your head away from the fact that it's "wine". It's like iced tea can be a pleasant drink in its own right so long as you don't try to compare it to properly made hot tea. Sangria, especially in Spain, can be refreshing as long as you don't expect to taste the wine in it (often better if you can't!). The main problem I have with most of these "created" drinks is that they taste totally artificial - "natural flavors" notwithstanding. Maybe these new ones will actually be drinkable but you will excuse me if I'm not at the front of the queue to taste them.

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When I read about creations like this, after I've instinctively turned my nose up, I wonder if I'm not too set in my ways, too snobbish even. After all if you can blend things to give a pleasant beverage (and most wines are some kind of blend to start with, although up to now only of grapes) then why shouldn't the results of putting assorted flavours into wine be acceptable, especially if you can get your head away from the fact that it's "wine". It's like iced tea can be a pleasant drink in its own right so long as you don't try to compare it to properly made hot tea. Sangria, especially in Spain, can be refreshing as long as you don't expect to taste the wine in it (often better if you can't!). The main problem I have with most of these "created" drinks is that they taste totally artificial - "natural flavors" notwithstanding. Maybe these new ones will actually be drinkable but you will excuse me if I'm not at the front of the queue to taste them.

While in theory wine can be used as a base to make tasty drinks, in practice this only seems to be realized when you make them yourself.

The Arbor Mist "pink zinfandel" I was served tasted like sugar syrup with enough concord grape juice to give it a blushy color. I recall looking at the label and seeing it had only about 6% alcohol, so it was not really wine, but already some sort of a "wine beverage". Imagine what the products that don't even pretend to be wine taste like.

I don't consider myself a wine snob, and I've enjoyed some pretty downscale stuff. But this was awful.

Let us know if you like it.

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Even in the holly wine land of Italy you may find flavoured wines like Fragolino. The more wine professionals the less we have to worry about silly beverages like that.

I thought this was made from "uve fragole" which are dessert grapes that (naturally) taste of strawberry.

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Even in the holly wine land of Italy you may find flavoured wines like Fragolino. The more wine professionals the less we have to worry about silly beverages like that.

I thought this was made from "uve fragole" which are dessert grapes that (naturally) taste of strawberry.

Fragolino is indeed a native American grape that was planted in Italy during the phylloxera period and stuck in a few places. In Italy it produces the same sickly, cloying sweet wine native grapes produce in the USA. It is illegal to export or re-plant in all, but a few narrowly defined areas. The high points of this variety in Italy is a nasty, and very cheap frizzante (sparkling) wine or a grappa which can be quite good, but potentially dangerous spirit very high in methanol in the hands of less careful distillers.

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Does this mean that you are still keeping your ban on putting pinot grigio on your wine list? The demand should soar now! :rolleyes:

I may have to re-think my whole sales strategy.

You might at that. After all, as the article claims, Arbor Mist is "the number one-selling wine with fruit brand in the United States." You may not realize huge margins, but the revenue, the revenue. :laugh:

We cannot employ the mind to advantage when we are filled with excessive food and drink - Cicero

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When I read about creations like this, after I've instinctively turned my nose up, I wonder if I'm not too set in my ways, too snobbish even.

Couldn't agree more. I dimly remember a Nigella Lawson recipe (in a newspaper rather than one of books) for a summer drink based on - if I remember right - Asti Spumante and lemons, chilled. Never got round to trying it, but it's not too far removed from a C18th/C19th negus, another drink I like the thought of. And as well as the sangria Britcook mentions, there's kir, and of course the various champagne cocktails.

I agree that artificially fruit-flavoured wine from a factory is unlikely to be good, but there's certainly no reason to despise cheap, off-dry wine mixed with fruit juice or spices.

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Even in the holly wine land of Italy you may find flavoured wines like Fragolino. The more wine professionals the less we have to worry about silly beverages like that.

I thought this was made from "uve fragole" which are dessert grapes that (naturally) taste of strawberry.

Fragolino is indeed a native American grape that was planted in Italy during the phylloxera period and stuck in a few places. In Italy it produces the same sickly, cloying sweet wine native grapes produce in the USA. It is illegal to export or re-plant in all, but a few narrowly defined areas. The high points of this variety in Italy is a nasty, and very cheap frizzante (sparkling) wine or a grappa which can be quite good, but potentially dangerous spirit very high in methanol in the hands of less careful distillers.

Thanks for the enlightenment.

The sweet red Fragolino I had wa a concentrated wild strawberry syrup Frizante.

Now I could have sworn it had also some wine in it....

Andre Suidan

I was taught to finish what I order.

Life taught me to order what I enjoy.

The art of living taught me to take my time and enjoy.

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Even in the holly wine land of Italy you may find flavoured wines like Fragolino. The more wine professionals the less we have to worry about silly beverages like that.

I thought this was made from "uve fragole" which are dessert grapes that (naturally) taste of strawberry.

Fragolino is indeed a native American grape that was planted in Italy during the phylloxera period and stuck in a few places. In Italy it produces the same sickly, cloying sweet wine native grapes produce in the USA. It is illegal to export or re-plant in all, but a few narrowly defined areas. The high points of this variety in Italy is a nasty, and very cheap frizzante (sparkling) wine or a grappa which can be quite good, but potentially dangerous spirit very high in methanol in the hands of less careful distillers.

When I drank it, with a journalist for the Rai, he said it was illegal. It was rather horrible.

On the other hand, perhaps the single most delicious ice cream I have ever had is San Crispino's uve fragola gelato.

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Even in the holly wine land of Italy you may find flavoured wines like Fragolino. The more wine professionals the less we have to worry about silly beverages like that.

I thought this was made from "uve fragole" which are dessert grapes that (naturally) taste of strawberry.

The Fragolino di Nemi with which I am familiar, is a sweet liqueur made of wild strawberries from the area surrounding Lake Nemi. There are actual small wild strawberries in the bottle as well. Alcohol ranges from about 20%-35%, depending on where it's made. It's delicious and mixes well into cocktails. Good in sparkling wine as a "Strawberry Royale", or mixed into a weissbier for a "Strawberry Blonde".

Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

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The word 'fragolino' just means little strawberries -- so what used to be called in England alpine strawberries but are now called wild strawberries though of course most of them aren't wild at all but farmed. So any drink with these strawberries will probably have fragolino in the name. (You probably know this already in which case sorry for being patronising).

I love Lago di Nemi! (the one near Rome) that was thought to have an entrance to the underworld. It is quite an eery place. When we lived in Rome, we would drive to Arricia and buy enormous panini filled with porchetta -- whole roast pig stuffed with fennel and rosemary and sage and pepper, and some of the local wine which they would sell in reused plastic water bottles and drive down to the side of the lake and feast. Happy times.

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One thing to keep in mind...the "article" is actually a press release that was printed verbatim, including the stock information at the end. Trade publications love it when companies do their work for them...that's why the thing is so glowing.

We actually have a bottle of asti in the basement, a gift from cousins with whom we are quite close. It has been there two years. I don't know what to do with it, since drinking it is out of the question, and I worry about the impact it would have on the plumbing if I poured it down the drain....

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