Stella: Sipping Wine on the Cheap

The two wines in this cellar note challenged my assumptions about grape variety and whether or not a $10 wine can be of interest. I admit I was prepared to be underwhelmed by both of these wines, but in the end I was pleasantly surprised. We received these wines as tasting samples.

The two wines in this tasting are part of the group of four wines in the Stella portfolio — Pinot Grigio and Moscato from Sicily, Montepulciano from Abruzzo near the Adriatic Sea and Prosecco made using 100% Glera from the Veneto — all of which offer a mini survey of Italian grape varieties and wine regions.

We tasted the Stella Pinot Grigio and Prosecco last summer and found them pleasant, light and refreshing. To my taste the two wines in this tasting are the most interesting of the Stella wines.

2017 Stella Moscato, Terre Siciliane IGT
2017 Stella Moscato, Terre Siciliane IGT

2017 Stella Moscato, Terre Siciliane IGTpale golden in the glass with mild effervescence and generous aromas of white flowers, ripe pears and melon. The flavor profile is similar and is as generous as the aromas. The mild fizziness and sweetness give the wine a roundness in the mouth and the sweetness lingers on the finish. A bit more acidity might make for a cleaner finish. 10% abv. SRP $10

If you have a sweet wine lover in your family or among your friends this wine will please them. The floral aromas are so attractive and the flavors are relatively complex. 

The usual food pairing suggestion for sweet wines is something spicy like curry, Thai or Mexican food. Having none of these in the house when I tasted this wine, I had to settle for spicy salsa and a tortilla chip or two. The sweetness of the wine definitely worked with the spice of the salsa, but for my palate I prefer sipping this floral beauty on its own.

2016 Stella Montepulciano D’Abruzzo
2016 Stella Montepulciano D’Abruzzo

2016 Stella Montepulciano, Montepulciano D’Abruzzolight ruby-garnet in the glass with generous aromas of plums, rusty soil, and tar. Plum flavors join with raspberries, figs, dusty earth and smoke. All are supported by juicy acidity. Tannins are drying and the body is medium. 12.5% abv. SRP $10

For $10 I don’t expect a contemplative wine, but this wine has plenty of flavor — and interesting flavors at that. It would be delicious with pizza, or a Polish, or a turkey hot dog with cheese and tomato. 

Stella packages their wine in bottle, can and bag in a box. They are all about affordability, portability and adventure. There is no pretense here, just delicious fun.


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