Tag Archives: Portugal

rose wines

Five Rosé Wines to Enjoy this Summer

The summer of rosé is in full swing! It’s an international love affair, with rosé wine being made around the world from a variety of different grapes.

Try one of these AG picks tonight:

Cune RosadoCune Rosado Rioja 2013
Rioja Alta, Spain

From CVNE (pronounced Coo-nay), a family owned and operated winery founded in 1879 in Haro, Rioja, this dry rosé is 100% Tempranillo. Produced using the saignée or bleeding method, the juice was removed from the grape skins and seeds after around 24 to 48 hours, resulting in a magenta-pink color. Floral aromas introduce flavors of strawberry, tart cherry and red currant.
$14, 14% alcohol by volume

Esporao Defesa RoséEsporão Vinha da Defesa Rosé 2013
Alentejo, Portugal

Established in 1973, Herdade do Esporão is a family-owned estate and winery that takes its name from the tower on the property that is thought to have been built between 1457 and 1490. This rosé is a blend of Aragonez and Syrah. The grapes underwent pneumatic pressing after a short period of skin contact. Bright pink in color with berry aromas, the wine has flavors of raspberry, cherry and Victoria plum, with a hint of mint on the refreshing finish.
$15, 13.5% alcohol by volume

Bridge Lane RoséBridge Lane Rosé 2013
North Fork of Long Island, New York

This wine comes from Lieb Cellars, founded in 1992 on Long Island’s North Fork. Lieb was the first winery on Long Island to plant Pinot Blanc, which has become their signature wine and makes up part of the blend in the Bridge Lane rosé. The 2013 wine is 63% Cabernet Franc, 21% Merlot, 8% Pinot Blanc, 5% Riesling and 3% Gewurztraminer. Light and easy to drink with a pretty pale pink color, the wine has flavors of wild strawberry, raspberry and rose petal.
$18, 11.9% alcohol by volume

Cape Bleue RoséJean-Luc Colombo Cape Bleue Rosé 2013
Provence, France

The grapes for this wine from the noted French winemaker come from hilly vineyards near Salon de Provence, an area influenced by the nearby Mediterranean Sea.  It is a blend of 67% Syrah and 33% Mourvedre, and was made using the saignée method. Salmon-pink in color,  the aromatic wine will transport you to the South of France. Flavors of ripe strawberry, red cherry and rose are layered with subtle fennel and white pepper notes.
$14, 12.5% alcohol by volume

Houchart RoséDomaine Houchart Rosé 2013
Provence, France

Bought in 1890 by Aurélien Houchart, the 90 hectare estate near Aix-en-Provence and the foot of Mont Sainte Victoire has been consistently farmed since Roman times. Today it is owned by the Quiot Family and run by Geneviève Quiot, Aurélien’s great granddaughter. This Côtes de Provence rosé is a blend of Grenache, Cinsault, Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon. This crowd-pleaser is pale peachy-pink in color, with delicate flavors of strawberry, loganberry and watermelon that culminate in a crisp finish.
$11, 12% alcohol by volume

 

Wallet-Friendly Red Wines for Fall

Looking for a new great value wine to try this fall? Try one of these three reds:

Esporao Monte Velho RedHerdade do Esporão Monte Velho Red 2012

Portugal

Set a place at the dinner table for this medium bodied, food-friendly wine from the Alentejo region of Portugal. The wine is a blend of indigenous grapes Aragonês (40%) and Trincadeira (35%) along with Touriga Nacional (20%) and Syrah (5%). Vibrant berry aromas introduce flavors of cherry, raspberry, and cassis. The fruit is layered with white pepper, clove and subtle toasted oak. If you’re not familiar with the wines of Portugal, Esporão offers an excellent introduction.

$10, 14% alcohol by volume

Rib Shack RedRib Shack Red 2012

South Africa

With its smoky and earthy flavors, this wine from the Western Cape in South Africa is the perfect pairing for barbecues and tailgates. The wine from Douglas Green is 60% Pinotage and 40% Shiraz. Intense tobacco, leather and wood smoke aromas and flavors are supported nicely by black cherry, boysenberry and plum. Silky tannins give the wine a smooth mouthfeel, and the finish is satisfying with lingering dark berry and mocha.

$10, 13% alcohol by volume

Dead Bolt Winemaker's BlendDead Bolt Winemaker’s Red Blend 2011

California

Juicy and jammy, this wine can warm you up as the temperature drops. It is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Zinfandel, Petit Sirah and Shiraz from California by Australian winemaker Philip Laffer. Black plum, baked cherries and sweet tannins make for a bold first impression. This is followed by a silky finish that has a touch of nutmeg. From the flashy label to the full flavor, this wine is anything but shy.

$14, 13% alcohol by volume

 

More Red Wines | White Wines | More Under $20

AG Pick: Bacalhôa Moscatel de Setúbal

And now for something sweet: the Bacalhôa Moscatel de Setúbal 2009, a fortified wine from Portugal. Aromatic and rich with citrus and nutty flavors, it is a decadent post-dinner drink.

Bacalhoa Moscatel de SetubalAs indicated by its name, the wine was made entirely from the Moscatel de Setúbal grape. Fermentation was stopped early by the addition of aguardente (a neutral spirit made from grapes, similar to brandy), which preserved the sugar while raising the alcohol content. The wine spent time aging in small used oak casks.

Golden amber in color, the Bacalhôa Moscatel de Setúbal has aromas of orange blossom, dried fruits and toasted almond. The taste is sweet without being cloying, with flavors of dried apricot, fig and plum layered with toffee, hazelnut, caramel and black tea. The texture is silky smooth, with good acidity keeping each sip fresh and bright. The finish is long and lingering, with warm notes of lemon and candied orange peel.

The Bacalhôa Moscatel de Setúbal should be served slightly chilled (50 to 55 °F or 10 to 12 °C), making it perfect for the warmer summer months. And with a price tag of less than $20 a bottle, you won’t feel guilty indulging in a glass on a weeknight.

Enjoy the Bacalhôa Moscatel de Setúbal with crème caramel, dark chocolate or ripe strawberries, or on its own as a digestif. Add a lemon peel and it’s a delicious apéritif.

$15, 17.5% alcohol by volume

White Wines | Red Wines | More Under $20

AG Pick: Hera Vinho Verde Branco 2011

Atlantans, meet your new summer white wine. Introducing Hera Vinho Verde Branco, a refreshing wine from Portugal that is now available in Georgia.

Vinho Verde is a type of wine produced in northwest Portugal. The name translates to “green wine,” which refers to the wine’s youth, not color. Vinho Verde wines can be white (branco in Portuguese), red or rosé, and are meant to be enjoyed young (typically within a year of bottling).

From the pool to the picnic, Hera Vinho Verde Branco is your go-to white wine. With fresh acidity, a slight effervescence and a lower alcohol content, this wine is perfect for an afternoon outdoors.

Hera Branco is made mainly from Loureiro grapes (85%), the principal variety in the region. Making up the remaining 15% are equal parts Trajadura and Arinto grapes.

Hera Branco is extremely pale straw yellow in color with a touch of green. Tart citrus and melon aromas introduce a crisp and refreshing palate. Flavors of lime, white grapefruit, green pear, honeydew and white flowers culminate in a clean finish. A slight effervescence and racy acidity give the wine a pleasant and light mouthfeel. Some residual sugar balances out the acidity, rounding out the wine and making it easy to sip.

Hera Vinho Verde Branco is great as an aperitif, and can pair well with a variety of summer dishes – salads, shellfish, grilled chicken and fish. The wine has a screw top so no need to remember the corkscrew.

Yet another reason why you’ll want to make this your summer sipping wine – Hera Vinho Verde Branco is extremely budget friendly, costing between $8 and $9 a bottle.

Hera Vinho Verde Branco should be served between 48°F and 50°F.

10% alcohol by volume

More White Wines | Red Wines | More Under $20

Something Sweet: Dessert & Fortified Wines

Some like it sweet — I certainly do.  So I couldn’t wait to explore the world of sweet and fortified wines during the “Sweet Dreams” seminar at the South Beach Wine & Food Festival.

Hosted by Master Sommeliers Laura DePasquale, John Blazon, Eric Hemer and Doug Frost (also a Master of Wine), the seminar featured eight sweet and fortified wines.

We started in Italy with the 2006 I Capitelli, Garganega, Anselmi IGT ($35 for 375 ml) from Veneto.  Garganega is the grape used in this wine and it is harvested late in the season after “Noble Rot.”  The benevolent fungus Botrytis infects the grapes, partially drying them and giving them the appearance of raisins.  This process concentrates the sugar in the grapes, giving the wine its wonderfully sweet flavor (all five dessert wines went through Noble Rot).

Amber in color, the I Capitelli had aromas of apricot, cardamom and sandalwood, with flavors of butterscotch and clover honey.  Moderate to moderate plus acidity gave the wine lift so it never felt syrupy in the mouth (the acidity also made you salivate when you took a sniff).  As the seminar went on the wine developed flavors of milk chocolate and almond.

We then moved on to a pair of white wines from Chateau Ste. Michelle in Washington.  The 2006 Eroica Ice Wine ($65 for 375 ml) goes one step beyond a Late Harvest wine, made from grapes that froze on the vine.  My favorite of the two Washington State wines, the Eroica had really nice notes of apricot, grapefruit, white peach and golden apple that lingered on the tongue.

The 2006 Ethos Late Harvest White Riesling ($40 for 375 ml) came from the same area as the Eroica but was harvested one day earlier.  It was not as sweet but still had delicate flavors of lychee, citrus and white flowers.

Next came my favorite of the sweet wines, the 2000 Gewurztraminer Sélection de Grains Nobles ($210) from F.E. Trimbach in Alsace, France.  Putting my nose in the glass was like putting it in a bouquet of roses.  The wine was so fragrant, it was really incredible.  Once I was able to go beyond the intoxicating aroma of rose I discovered notes of mandarin orange and dried mango that continued to evolve on the palate.  The finish complemented the experience, lasting for a good minute.  This wine would be perfect with foie gras or crème brûlée.  Considering the uniqueness of the wine and its high price (only the most exceptional grapes are harvested by hand), you’d better believe I enjoyed every last drop.

Following the Gewurztraminer we returned to Italy for the 2007 Privilegio, Fiano Di Avellino ($50 for 500 ml) from Feudi di San Gregorio in Campania.  Made from the Fiano grape, the wine had delicate flavors of lemon, orange peel, candied orange and grapefruit, with a hint of oak.

We then moved to a trio of fortified wines.  These wines maintain their residual sugar by the addition of distilled alcohol (usually Brandy) during the fermentation process.  The alcohol kills the yeast cells, halting fermentation and maintaining the desired level of sweetness.  Fortified wines are higher in alcohol, usually between 17 and 20 percent.

The first fortified wine we tasted was the 2008 Muscat de Rivesaltes, Château de Jau ($25 for 500 ml) from Languedoc-Roussillon in southwest France.  My initial impression was that this pale straw-yellow wine appeared innocent and dainty at first, but finished big and warm, due to the higher alcohol content.  The taste is elegant, clean and fresh, with notes of white flowers, grapefruit and lychee.  It’s a wine I definitely plan to buy so I can enjoy it at home.

Next came the Quinta do Bom Retiro 20-Year Tawny ($70), a Port from Ramos Pinto.  As a big fan of Tawny Port, I really enjoyed sipping this.  It had warm and spicy flavors of cedar, almonds and orange peel.  If you smoke, this is the wine to enjoy with a cigar.  As a non smoker, I plan to enjoy it with a box of dark chocolates.

We ended with the Désirée Chocolate Dessert Wine ($20 for 375 ml) from Rosenblum Cellars in California.  I can’t say I was a big fan of this wine.  The blend of Zinfandel, Touriga Nacional and Syrah was made even sweeter by the addition of chocolate syrup.  I found the wine too thick and sweet, though some in the seminar enjoyed it.  Personally, I’d rather have my chocolate syrup in a dessert rather than in a wine.

These wines do come with a high price tag but keep in mind that you’re not likely to drink as much or as quickly as you would with a traditional white or red.  Because of the high sugar these wines will last longer too.  Just use a good stopper and stick the bottle in the fridge and you can enjoy the wine for a couple of weeks.

All of these wines are available for sale both locally and nationally so give in to your sweet tooth and try a glass!