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Cepa Pura Touriga Nacional 2011 / Astor Wines’ Top Ten

16 Jan

Cepa Pura Touriga Nacional, Quinto do Montalto, 2011, $10/bottle at Astor Wines & Spirits

With a nose of cassis and cherry and a nice purple color, this Portuguese red has plum as the dominant fruit when tasted. Secondary notes of leather and cedar accompany the nice balance of the Touriga Franca grapes; and it has an even, medium dry finish I found delightful. I had two bottles of this wine and enjoyed it over two weeks with steak, salmon, chicken, even pizza -and found this a nice vin du table I’d serve with just about anything.  I was surprised that when I googled this wine, I only found it at Astor Wine- I’d expect others to jump on this bargain immediately!  I’m considering both getting a case, or a mixed case of this and the white from Cepa Pura (see my link below).


Here is a link to the winery Quinto do Montalto for your enjoyment! If you click an English link that does not work, try it in French or Spanish!

Cepa Pura red


In the meantime, I happily suggest Astor’s Top Ten Under $10. Both of the wines from Quinto Do Montalto were from this set which is a great introduction to great bargains from around the world. (Here’s the link to the Fernao Pires I reviewed, and another for the McManis Family Syrah!) I’ve been very happy with the selections I’ve purchased from Astor Wine & Spirits and think this inexpensive case of wine is a great way to get to know new wines- you can even see what’s in the group in advance. If you decide to try one, let me know what you think! I bought a case in November (it changes every month!) and it is accompanied by a descriptive sheet which I enjoyed reading for pairing suggestions. I really enjoy this wine store and have found several wonderful, rare wines that are available here.

I think Astor’s Top Ten Under $10 is the perfect complement to Sherry Lehman’s Unsung Heroes of Bordeaux, which is another one of my favorite ways to taste new, small, or unknown Chateaux. These wines change twice yearly, and both of these sets make excellent gifts to your oenophile friends!


à votre santé!


Sonoma’s Forest Glen Chardonnay and Portugal’s Cepa Pura Fernao Pires

19 Dec

Forest Glen: 2009 Chardonnay, Sonoma, CA. $7.50 / Wine Room of Forest Hills.

Pale yellow-green in color. Lemon and green apple aromas with a touch of gentle wood from barrel fermentation. In the mouth, the pear, fig and apple flavors match with good acidity, showing balance. What felt tight in the mouth left a creamier, lasting finish that was pleasant and would go easily with appetizers, white meats or a cream sauce. Nice for the price. I was told it is entirely organic/biodynamic by the store proprietor, but have not found any data to support that on the web.


Cepa Glass

Cepa Pura: 2011 Fernao Pires, Quinta do Montalto, Lisboa, Portugal. $8 / Astor Wine, NYC

Light straw color. Citrus nose with a hint of sand and slate. Quince, pear and creamed honey are forward in this fresh, simple but unpretentious and well-made wine sporting a nice, dry finish. A solid vin du table that would easily pair with salads, shellfish,  calamari,  chicken, or by itself. The acidity marries the wine with the food on the palate, cuts through the protein and makes you slow down the process to enjoy the pairing more. I don’t see many Fernao Pires wines on the shelves in the USA but this is a tasty Portuguese white that could easily be a staple in households if it gained popularity in the USA, comparable to white wines costing twice as much.


à votre santé!

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