The “I” in the name of this wine stands for Italy. Winemaker Dave Phinney, whose claim to fame is the mega-popular Prisoner wine brand, among other things, has lent his expertise to the Locations wines. What started out as four distinctive red wines from France, California, Italy and Spain has grown to eight, as well as four white wines. He once again appears to have the magic touch, and has been called by Wine Advocate’s Robert Parker his “value winemaker of the year candidate. If there are better wines for under $20 a bottle in the world today, please share that information with the Wine Advocate.”
The premise of the Locations brand is to make the absolute best wine in each particular location featured; whatever grape, vintage, or aging works best to reflect the unique character and terroir of each area. I was impressed with the Locations wine from Washington State (Locations WA) but I have to say, I like the Italian version even better.
Locations I is now in its fourth vintage. Phinney has chosen three uniquely Italian varietals to make this blend, Negroamaro and Nero D’Avola from the Southern region of Puglia, and Barbera from Piemonte in the North. Like most of Phinney’s blends, this is both rich and smooth, with a healthy alcohol level (14.5%), but it still tastes very Italian. This wine has bright red fruit to start, raspberry and cherry from the Negroamaro, balanced with a crispness from the Barbera, and then a longer finish of plum and even a little fig on the palate from the Nero D’Avola. This wine tastes a lot more expensive than $15, but that is what I paid for this bottle on sale. You can find it everywhere for less than $20 – just look for the plain white label with a capital I.
On my five-cork scale based on taste and value, I give Locations I red blend four corks! This is an excellent wine, whether you have it with dinner, or sipping it on the back porch. I really recommend it.
If you’d like to try interesting wines like this, please join me at our next private wine party at Ferrari’s Little Italy! I host a wine dinner there every month, and we feature several interesting wines, each paired with a delicious course. There are always cool prizes to win, too, so listen Wednesday at 4:15 to win your spot on the guest list, or click here for a chance to win!