Romancing the Grape

Literature and history offers us tales of great romances. Some of these romances span wars, separation, and even death. The more magnetic the romance the more we are drawn to it, wanting to know all there is about such a passionate love. Most of us; however, don’t live a life of wild romance. We enjoy quite loves in everyday life filled with trials and joys. And then there are some romances that are so ordinary it is as if they don’t exist at all….

Allow me to introduce you to Young Rubio. Rubio is like Sangiovese, he can be fruity, sometimes a bit fleshy, and other times all fun. Rubio is a bit of a mama’s boy. He loves his mama’s cooking, her pasta and pizza are his favorites. He even enjoys the occasional hamburger, but hides this from his mom. Sadly, Rubio never knew his father, in fact, he does not even know who he is. But Rubio does not let this get him down, he is, after all, a happy bastard. He hangs out around the village of Rufina in Tuscany, but occasionally he jumps on his trusty Vespa and explores nearby vineyards.

Rubio has a bit of a crush on Blanca, a young lady from Sicily. Blanca, like a Pinot Grigio, is pale, svelte, glamourous, and largely neutral to Rubio. Blanca may be somewhat cool to Rubio’s attention, but she is not indifferent. Like, Rubio. Blanca also never knew her father, but she is much more thinly skinned than Rubio, so this fact makes her uncomfortable. Another commonality with Rubio is that Blanca enjoys her Sicilian mother’s cooking, fish, shellfish, eggplant caponata, Sicilian rice balls, and Trapani-style couscous are her favorites.


I am sure you have figured out by now that Rubio, Il Bastardo, and Blanca, La Bastarda, are wines. Paolo Masi, the third-generation winemaker at Renzo Masi winery in the Rufina district of southern Florence in Tuscany, created these entry level wines, along with Masi’s fine wines, under the motto “Big enough to be broad-minded. Small enough to care about the details.” Masi puts the same attention to detail into their high end fine wines as they do their entry level wines. Though the tale of Rubio and Blanca may be one of unrequited romance, wine lovers the world over benefit from these easy drinking, inexpensive wines.

img_17842015 Il Bastardo Sangiovese Toscana IGT Tuscany Italy ($9): clear medium ruby in the glass; clean medium- aromas of cherries, strawberries, sweet spice, and cloves; dry, medium acidity and tannins in a medium- body wine with a medium finish; an easy drinking wine that over delivers for the price, great for a weeknight meal (easy to see why Rubio likes pasta, pizza, and burgers). If you are expecting a non-reflective, easy to drink and enjoy wine then you will not be disappointed.


img_17852015 La Bastarda Pinot Grigio Sicilia IGT Sicily Italy ($9): clear pale lemon with green hues; clean light aromas of green apple, green pear, citrus peel, and soft white flowers; dry, light acid and body, short finish; this wine is a fair representation of an inexpensive Italian Pinot Grigio; if you like this classic Italian style wine you will enjoy La Bastara, I prefer a less neutral wine with more complexity; this is a ‘safe’ wine but it is well-balanced and well made; Blanca’s favorite Sicilian foods are ideal with this crisp white wine.

Both of these wines are widely distributed and well worth the $9 to determine your preference, I have had far worse wines at this price and higher. Next time you are at Trader Joes’ pass the Two Buck Chuck and invest in the romance of Rubio and Blanca, they are way more fun!

My Song Selection:

Get your own bottles of 2015 Il Bastardo Sangiovese and 2015 La Bastarda Pinot Grigio and let me know what song you pair with them. Cheers!

2 responses to “Romancing the Grape”

  1. Hey we have a TJs here in Bend! I’ll pick up a bottle of that white next time I’m there. Have you tried the Mezzacorona Pinot Grigio from there? Jeff Kralik recommended it, and I really like that one too! (But I’m pretty easy to please as long as it’s white, not sweet or buttery, and dry and lightly acidic.) Maybe it has the complexity you’d enjoy in a Grigio. Cheers!

    • Great! Pick up a bottle and let me know what you think. Overall I am not a big Pinot Grigio fan. I can certainly distinguish between those that are well made and those that are not, both Mezzacorona and La Bastard are well made, but overall it lacks enough flavor for me to find it interesting. However, I recognize it is good food wine and enjoyed by the masses for its acidity and easy drinking style. I like the same style of whites you like except I prefer high acid and the more flavor the better… like sauvignon blanc or dry riesling.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: