Mike Madaio

Location: Paoli, PA

Mike is a food & drink writer based in the western suburbs of Philadelphia. His work has appeared in publications such as Epikur, Main Line Today and Main Line Magazine. As a a Snooth mentor, Mike shares his love and passion for Italian wine discoveries.

Wine by any Other Name

Grapes are often known by many names, which can be quite confusing for consumers. Here are a few alternatively named creations I've come across recently that are worth a try.

Rank Wine Rating Price
1 Silvano Garcia Vina Honda Monastrell (2008)
Comments: Monastrell is another name for Mourvedre... as such, this is fiercely tannic, but otherwise well balanced and quite interesting. Would pair well with food. Nice value.
Previously available for $29.99
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2 Familia Zuccardi Bonarda Serie A (2009)
Comments: Argentinean Bonarda is actually not Bonarda, but Charbono (aka Corbeau), a grape that originated in Southeastern France. This particular one is bright and food-friendly.
Previously available for $13.99
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3 Travaglini Gattinera (2004)
Comments: Gattinera is another name for Nebbiolo; this one is a good alternative to the more expensive Barolos of the same region.
Average price: $29.99 from 9 stores
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4 Rocca Delle Macie Morrelino di Scansano Campomaccione (2008)
Comments: In Southwest Tuscany, Sangiovese is known as Morellino. This one is 90% Sangio, and is smooth, bright and food-friendly. http://bit.ly/VgO0Ys
Average price: $14.99 from 24 stores
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5 Argiolas Costera IGT (2009)
Comments: Argiolas, of Sardinia, makes excellent wines with Cannonau, the local name for Grenache (of which this wine is based), and Carignano, the local name for Carignan.
Average price: $17.99 from 2 stores
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6 Primaterra Primitivo Puglia IGT (2010)
Comments: Ok, fine, you got me. Primitivo is the same as Zinfandel. This one, however, is lighter and more balanced than the high-alcohol American cousins. Plus it's downright cheap.
Previously available for $25.99
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7 Valdinera Favorita (2009)
Comments: Favorita is another name for Vermintino, a smooth and delicious Italian variety that pairs well with seafood or pesto.
Previously available for $16.54
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8 Goats Do Roam Goat Roti South Africa (2007)
Comments: I don't usually go for wines with funny names, but this one, which is a play on Cote Rotie, is quite good for the price ($16), especially when compared with the $50+ prices of the actual Cote Rotie. Nice balance of funky Syrah aromas and juiciness.
Previously available for $14.99
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