03 August 2011

CalNaturale Wines

I've said it before, but when it comes to alternative enclosures I have two favorites: screwcaps and Tetra Pak cartons. Screwcaps are obviously convenient and easy, while Tetra Pak cartons are environmentally friendly and more convenient than bag-in-box wines. Also, you can grab a few Tetra Pak cartons and throw them in the pantry next to the chicken and beef stock. They don't take up a lot of room, and you can even toss a few into a cooler along with the beer and sodas for a BBQ.

The wines of CalNaturale come in both half litre and full litre Tetra Pak cartons and are certified organic. I like the 500mL format: it's perfect for two people to share with dinner, but even keeping one to yourself over the course of an evening isn't crazy. It's two thirds of a standard 750mL bottle, which means that it contains 3⅓ regular glasses.

2009 CalNaturale Chardonnay
$7/500mL Tetra Pak carton, 13% abv.
The nose is full of papaya and peach, with a light body. There's no oak, and it's fruity but not sweet with a decent mouth presence. A really surprising bargain that would make a great house white. Great with any chicken dish.

2008 CalNaturale Cabernet Sauvignon
Paso Robles
$7/500mL Tetra Pak carton, 13.8% abv.
This one is mellow and uncomplicated with a profile of blackberry jam. There are low tannins and a good overall balance. Inexpensive Cabernet Sauvignon is usually pretty rough, but this is a decent table wine. Highly recommended for cooking, since there's nothing harsh that will negatively impact the flavor of your recipe.

Note: These wines were received as samples.

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