Tag Archives: Douro

Aces & Eights

5 Nov

Ok, I’m not really going to talk about the dead man’s hand in poker, a game I enjoy but would never make into a career. I’m referring to, as you’ve already gleaned,  eight dollar wines that are an excellent value.

Here’s an example: perhaps you’ve noticed how much I like Vino Verde. These are great value wines from Portugal that are crisp, refreshing whites that still haven’t broken through the mainstream of wine pop culture. The good news is that wine lovers who are looking for great value have a wonderful resource that is plentiful,  downright cheap (my local wine store has two great vino verdes,  at $6 and $7!) and they store well for a year or more, so buying a case is a smart move if you have room.

Allow me introduce you to two more wines like that, from different parts of the globe.

 

From Austria, Forstreiter’s ”Grooner” Gruner Veltliner 2012, $8.49 from Garnet Wine, 12% ABV.

This gruner demonstrates a color of light straw with a hint of green and a nose of grapefruit and orange peel. There is a gently tart, citrus mouthfeel with nice acidity, making this an easy wine to drink by itself or with food. Like pinot grigio, riesling, and sauvignon blanc, the gruner veltliner is often sold as a summer white but can be perfect year-round with proper pairing or the drinker’s mood. I find this “Grooner” and the lovely kerner and gruner’s I’ve reviewed recently to be ideal fall wine when you have the late day sun on your face and feel a nip in the air. Crisp and fresh, there is less apple in this wine which suits me perfectly, given that it’s apple-picking time and that flavor abounds currently.

Did I mention the price? The Forstreiter came in on sale at $8.49, marked down from the retail price of 9.99 in Manhattan. Talk about bang for the buck! Gruner Veltliner has made my short list for an upcoming party as an easy to drink, people-pleaser as opposed to my classic French ‘attitude’ wines.

 

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Not to be outdone… from Austria down to South Africa!

 

 

Much further south we find “Little J” Red 2010 from Joostenberg Wines, South Africa;  $8 at Garnet Wine, 14% ABV.

This is a western cape blend featuring a deep violet color and nose of cassis with a hint of road tar. In the mouth, black cassis and boysenberry collides with cherry, on the front palate and dusty green vines, old wood and gravelly schist following after.  The medium-length finish matches the medium body but the wine has a nice edge of acidity to pair with food and tannins to have your mouth ask for more.

I tried this with savory cheeses, mexican, chinese food, and hearty meat dishes and found it stood up to all, perhaps not enhancing the flavors but matching them note for note. A side note, Joostenberg is certified organic in both the USA and Europe, the screwcap is emblazoned with “Certified Integrity and Sustainability Wine & Spirit Board,  www.swsa.co.za for those who want to delve into the specifics.  For me, an $8 bottle of wine that is a good vin du table and stands up to just about any food is a great value and a good resource.

 

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So there are three of my “Aces & Eights”. Please click on the comment button below, or hit me on twitter at @jvbuncorked and share your suggestions with me!

 

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.

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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.

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à votre santé!

Symington Estate Altano Douro 2007

30 Jun

How often do you find a $10 red blend with clout? If you read my wine posts, you know that the best bargains found today in red wine are Portuguese wines from Douro, when the Argentinian Malbecs and Chilean vineyards full of French Cab Suv grapes have been gaining  popularity and as a result, their prices are climbing. The Douro area, famous for port, has become a mecca for phenomenal reds and vino verdes at $10 or under – and when I can find them for $10 in pricey Manhattan wineries, local stores with less overhead may sell them for as little as $7-8/bottle. BARGAIN TIME!

Today’s selection is the Symington Family Estate Altano 2007, made of Tinto Roriz (aka Tempranillo grape) and Touriga Franca grapes. (Please note: The Touriga Franca, aka Touriga Francesa grape is a port wine grape commonly found in Portugal.) This is a lovely blended wine whose nose demonstrates ripe red fruit, tasting of red plum and cherry. A hint of vanilla, oak and earth after the tangy, medium finish, this is a fun wine- its medium body will complement many dishes well. If you haven’t looked into wines from Douro yet- this may be the time, and the wine, to try. It’s a classic example of a great value wine with flexibility.

If you’re still unsure about the concept of Portuguese wines, you can rest easily knowing that these wines have been popular for a long time locally- and only recently have been become popular for export, much like the New Zealand, Chilean and Argentnian wines we find commonplace these days. But  check out their website about their viniculture, sustainable growth structure, and organic wines.

http://www.altano.pt/

à votre santé!

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