Story and photos by Manos Angelakis
Wines we recently tasted.
There are thousands of different wine brands in the US market nowadays, from both domestic and foreign producers costing anything from a few dollars per bottle (anyone remembers Two Buck Chuck?) to thousands, when rare and exceptional vintages are brought to auction.
Below are a number of bottles we have recently tasted from different wine producing areas. They vary in price, but most are logically priced in the $10 to $30 range. The whites are especially good as summer libations, some are ready for immediate consumption and other should be cellared for a few years.
From Portugal’s Alentéjo region:
Adega de Portalegre 2018 Coventual Reserva Branco; a blend of white Iberian indigenous grapes such as Roupeiro, Siria, Arinto, Fernão Pires and others. The wine tastes fresh and fruity on the palate with considerable minerality; ripe tangerines and honey aromas makes this wine quite distinctive. Priced between $23 and $27 per bottle retail, it is well worth the price. Excellent with a summer seafood dinner. I actually paired it with a beer-boiled lobster, and we really enjoyed it.
Also from Alentéjo, the award winning 2020 Porta da Ravesca Special Edition from Adega de Redondo. It is another notable blend made from 40% Verdelho, 30% Arinto and 30% Antão Vaz, again all indigenous grapes. A lively and crisply fruity wine with intense citrus aromas that has bright acidity. The wine is fresh, balanced and ready to drink. The blend comes from the grapes of around 200 producers, allowing strict quality control and total traceability from the vineyard to the consumer. Very well priced around $10 to $15 per bottle, depending on retailer, it is a summer libation with balanced acidity that can be paired with lighter fare including such summer dishes as gazpacho and charcoal grilled fish.
Darom White 2021, by Yatir. It is made from 100% Sauvignon Blanc grapes grown in desert-condition vineyards in Southern Israel. The wine is fermented in stainless steel then aged in concrete vats. It is a kosher wine but would be enjoyed by anyone that likes well made, food friendly wines. It has a bright, golden color and is dry, fruity, fresh and juicy with white stone fruits on the palate and a nice note of lemon zest on the finish. It is expected to continue to mature well in the bottle over the next decade. Could be served as an aperitif or with fish and Mediterranean salads, grilled chicken, and surprisingly pairs very well with Thai yellow and green curry dishes.
From the Colchagua valley, Terranoble 2018 Gran Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon. It is a classic Chilean Cabernet, powerful and beautifully structured. Smooth, fine-grained tannins are very evident in this wine, with smooth notes of blackcurrants, plums and cherries and some leather and chocolate on the nose and palate. As it is currently tasting, it needs a few more years in cellar to develop further and loose some of its youthful exuberance. It is one of the better Winebow imports and comes in a numbered bottle. It sells between $16 and $25 retail, depending on retailer.
Finally, from Alexander Valley, Sonoma County, California:
2019 Aperture. A too powerful but on the harsh side Cabernet Sauvignon from Aperture Cellars in California that needs much more cellaring to become enjoyable. Definitely big and bold with dark fruit notes of blackberry, black currant, cassis, figs, licorice, and lots of smoke with some minerality. On the palate, savory but astringent with dusty tannins. It worked well when paired with charcoal grilled leg of Australian lamb that had a rather strong mutton taste. Locally priced at around $75 retail, I think it is way too pricy a bottle for what it offers.
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