Hello folks, and welcome to my blog!
I am a completely anonymous weirdo who lives and loves in the Garden State. I work in New York City at a job that is totally unrelated to the wine industry. I have other creative pursuits, but I do like writing and wine. And I decided that the Internet was decidedly lacking in cheap wine reviews.
I am not a seasoned oenophile by any means. I am cheap. I love cheap stuff. I'm a fan of really robust, inexpensive red wine. Usually I go through one of the big 1.5L bottles of really cheap shitty California red wine each week. I'm a few years out of college, so I don't really like drinking to get drunk. No, boys and girls, I like drinking to explore.
So let's take a quick look at one of the very first red wines I ever encountered:
Carlo Rossi Paisano
I bought a cute, stout little 1.5L jug at my local liquor store here in Jersey. It was under $6, and the little plump shape of the jug appealed to me on some really bizarre level. Don't ask me why; I'm a freak for weird aesthetics, okay?
See, in college, I'd only ever encountered the big 4L jugs. I actually hadn't though about Señor Rossi for about four years now. I mean, hell, I'm cheap, but I'm not thaaaat cheap, y'know? But, for novelty's sake, I decided to pick up the little bottle.
Mr. Rossi hasn't changed a bit in the last few years. The Paisano is still deeply berry-stained. It's sweet, yes, but there's kind of a medium depth to it. I detect a vanilla gelato kind of rich roundness, and a hint of faraway oak, but nothing overwhelming to the novice.
Basically, kids, you will get a hint of sweet berries with melted vanilla ice cream and a tiny bit of underlying bitterness. Like, okay, have you ever smelled a new hardwood floor, or have you ever been close to someone operating a belt sander on wood? You're gonna taste just a tiny hint of these more complex underlying flavors with the Paisano, but nothing that'll knock you on your back. It's sweet. It's grapey and berrylike. It makes no pretentions. It comes in a jug.
I hate to say it, but the Paisano is so gentle and forgiving that I'd call it a good "beginner red." We all gotta start somewhere, y'know? It isn't gonna give you the jammy pepper of a good Zinfandel, or a spicy cedar astringent feel of a bad-ass Cab Sauvignon, but it's red, and it's sweet, and it goes down easy with a bowl of generic spaghetti with jarred Ragu sauce on top. I know that in this economy, that's what most of you are eating anyway.
If you're not gauche like me, you probably won't buy Paisano. You'll probably dismiss this entire thing as completely silly. But y'know what? Wine is a terrifying and complex subject. It has a very steep learning curve. Many beginners don't want to spend a lot of money on it. They don't want to be unpleasantly surprised by a lot of tannins or bitterness or acidity. We all have to start somewhere. Why not start with the soft, sweet, cheap stuff?
That's why I'm here, guys. I drink the cheap stuff so you don't have to.
Raise a glass of whatever wine you like, and enjoy. I think next I'll post about Livingston Cellars.