Saturday, April 5, 2008

Carlo Rossi Paisano

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 SeƱor 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.

6 comments:

Johnny Jag said...

indlogy41Five years later, I tried my first CR Paisano---served by an old Italian--we enjoyed it after I got his stereo working again and we spun his old Sinatra and Tony Bennett LPs. It was like an appetizer, then I went home to have a FAT CAT Pinot Grigio with wine and cheese as dinner...I was in the mood. I enjoyed the cheap wine review blog...too bad it stopped with a single entry....c'est la vie, Totally Gauche Wine Girl...

Princess Katie said...

I have tried many different wines, red and white, and my preference has always been for softer, easier to drink wines. When you first start drinking wine, especially red, it's much easier to enjoy if you aren't spending $20 on a bottle. The nice thing about CR wines is that they're affordable, so you don't get mad if you don't like something.

About the Paisano - I've tried it before, and actually prefer it to a lot of reds that are drier and score 94 or 95 points on the Wine Spectator charts. I'd happily buy it again if I could find it in the 1.5 litre jug, but all I've seen it in the local stores is the 4 litre, which is too large for me.

Drinking wine isn't about experiencing all the different things other people enjoy - it's about finding wine that you like the taste of and relaxing with a glass of wine that enhances your meal.

xpicassox said...

Great little piece .. I love it. I've been in the Food / Wine business for more than 25 years .. Over the years I've had the great, expensive prestige wines you can think of; Chateau Latour, Petrus, Sassaicaia, Gaja, Cheval Blanc, and-on-and-on ... All this being said, I am not above drinking Carlo Rossi Paisano .. Wanna know why? I'm Italian-American living in NY for more than 30 years and grew up in North Jersey .. Most Sundays the whole family would gather at my Aunt Helen's or Uncle Tony's hosuse for Sunday Sauce (Gravy) or other favorite Italian meal . My Uncle Tony and Uncle Frank loved Gallo Hearty Burgundy and Carlo Rossi Oaisano and always had one or the other on hand .. These Sunday Meals were the best, most memorable and cherished dinners of some great ones I've had around the W0rld from Paris, to Rome to Hong Kong and everwhere in-betwee .. So, when having dinner, I don't normally drink Carlo Rossi, but with my Aunts and Uncles, if they're serving "Paisano" if it's good enough for them, it's good enough for me, "I love them" and will drink what the do ..
Bsata !!! Daniel

Read this article about what Wine to Drink with SUNDAY SAUCE ( Carlo Rossi, Chianti, and )

http://new-york-italian.blogspot.com/2014/01/what-wine-for-sunday-sauce-gravy.html

xpicassox said...

Great little piece .. I love it. I've been in the Food / Wine business for more than 25 years .. Over the years I've had the great, expensive prestige wines you can think of; Chateau Latour, Petrus, Sassaicaia, Gaja, Cheval Blanc, and-on-and-on ... All this being said, I am not above drinking Carlo Rossi Paisano .. Wanna know why? I'm Italian-American living in NY for more than 30 years and grew up in North Jersey .. Most Sundays the whole family would gather at my Aunt Helen's or Uncle Tony's hosuse for Sunday Sauce (Gravy) or other favorite Italian meal . My Uncle Tony and Uncle Frank loved Gallo Hearty Burgundy and Carlo Rossi Oaisano and always had one or the other on hand .. These Sunday Meals were the best, most memorable and cherished dinners of some great ones I've had around the W0rld from Paris, to Rome to Hong Kong and everwhere in-betwee .. So, when having dinner, I don't normally drink Carlo Rossi, but with my Aunts and Uncles, if they're serving "Paisano" if it's good enough for them, it's good enough for me, "I love them" and will drink what the do ..
Bsata !!! Daniel

Read this article about what Wine to Drink with SUNDAY SAUCE ( Carlo Rossi, Chianti, and )

http://new-york-italian.blogspot.com/2014/01/what-wine-for-sunday-sauce-gravy.html

Livin'tobake said...

Oh, what wonderfully comforting posts. Youse guys are good! My Italian uncle in law gave me this Italian salad dressing recipe made with Paisano, so after putting it together I was in the mood for info on Paisano. Man did I get lucky. Thanks, Mimi Panini

Emma Peel said...

paisano! got to love it. it's been my red of choice for the past 40 or so years. if i ever had CR burgundy i cannot recall, and i don't know if i can find CR chianti, which i'd probably prefer to burgundy.

i get it in the big old jugs and fill up smaller bottles to keep it fresh. soon as you open ANY wine it's going to go bad, unless it's in a plastic bag like box wines, so air doesn't hit it.

i fill up glass quart juice and perrier empties, and a jug lasts me about two months. what little goes past its prime goes into soups. carlo rossie lives~!