Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Rewarding Reds + A Great Bubbly

High end bubbles

Beautiful dry wines for beautiful dry summer weather -- one of Portugal's best reds and three of Canada's finest, a white, a bubbly and a red.

Esporao Reserva Red 2017 is rich, distinctive, elegant and fabulous value at $26.95 made from handpicked Cabernet Sauvignon grapes carefully aged for a year in American and French oak barrels for smoky-toasty dark chocolate, vanilla, black fruit and new leather nuances.

From Alentejo, the breadbasket of south-central Portugal, with its rolling hills of wheat, olive trees and the famous cork oaks. One mature tree provides sufficient bark for 4,000 wine corks. 

The Esporao also includes native grapes like Bouschet, Aragonez and Trincadeira that contribute deep blue-black color and smooth notes of blueberry, mocha and crushed black pepper.  It's artfully made and artistically illustrated with an original label by Portuguese painter Antonio Poppe.

Since its launch in 1985 this wine has been adorned by a different artist each year. Serve it confidently with BBQ ribs, roast lamb, smoked meats or spicy chicken.

The Canadian trio are from our friends at Chateau des Charmes in Niagara: the 2016  Blancs de Blanc Sparkling made in the manner of Champagne; the Beaujolais-like Gamay Noir Droit 2018; and the Chardonnay 2017 from the Paul Bosc Estate Vineyard. All available from the winery online now and the first two also at Vintages stores as of June 12. Prices are, respectively, $34.95, $19.95 and $24.95.

The sparkler, just like the still white, is 100% Chardonnay grapes and the Gamay is Canada's first native Vinifera (European) grape variety, born in the St David's Bench vineyard and it's a red wine of easy, fruity unoaked pleasure with nuances of raspberry and cherry, hints of black tea and banana, wet earth and violets.

Fruity unoaked pleasure
The sparkler is handcrafted with its second fermentation to create the bubbles in the bottle, just like Dom Perignon. The bead or stream of bubbles in the glass is as fine as a top Champagne, sign of a high-class wine. On the palate, it's pure elegance with delicate apple, pear, limestone profile and a crisp, satisfying clarity of tree fruit flavors. 

On a sad note, we mourn the loss of Alejandro Fernandez, Spain's pioneer of great red Tempranillo, especially his signature Pesquera from the Ribera del Duero region of his homeland. RIP




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