4 for Forty
$10 a bottle for a collection of wines from around the world! Say no more. It's the least expensive way to travel the world in 2020. We are going down to South America first. Let's delve into cool organic Chilean Pinot Noir, then cross the Andes and head into the high altitude vineyards of Mendoza for a uniquely Argentine red blend. From there, we'll hop on a steamer across the Atlantic to the cool climate Dão region of Portugal for an unforgettable white blend. Finally let's bask in the Mediterranean sun with a glass of Languedoc rouge, all for forty dollars.
1. Cono Sur Organic Pinot Noir 2018 - Back in 1993, at the outset of Chilean terroir hunting, the folks at Cono Sur realized they had several special vineyards in the dry, yet foggy coastal mountains of Chile. They realized it looked a lot like California. Hot days, cool nights, fog from the cold Pacific ocean just 17 miles away and perfect soil. These are the ingredients a vineyard needs for Pinot Noir, a grape very particular about where it grows. Cono Sur pounced, and now 27 years later they are the pre-eminent grower and producer of Pinot Noir in Chile. Not only did they bring to life the idea that Chile can grow Pinot Noir, they succeeded! What they didn't know and what the wine world is just beginning to embrace is Chile makes Pinot Noir unlike anywhere else. It's as if California and Oregon had a Pinot Noir baby. You have the ripe, rich fruit of California, but the light earthiness of Oregon. It's all Pinot and uniquely Chilean.
2. Altos Las Hormigas Tinto Red Blend, 2017 - There is no other red blend in the world like this. I really mean it.The team at Altos has recreated one of the oldest wines of Italy, Chianti; which was originally a blend of red wine and a little bit of white to bring out the aromatics. However, this time, they did it with Argentine ingenuity and flare, bringing together a one of a kind blend of Malbec, Bonarda and Semillion, which comes together in all the right ways. Malbec, 48%, brings fruit. Bonarda, 45%, is an indigenous Italian variety, and brings tannic structure. Semillion, 7%, which was co-fermented with the Malbec, brings aromatic lift. All in all, this is a lot of wine for $10 and truly a blend unlike anything else in the world.
3. Broadbent Dão White 2019 - Ok, so kind of a boring name, but don't let it fool it about what's inside. The Dão is often called the Burgundy of Portugal because of the style of wines made here. No, you won't find Pinot Noir or Chardonnay, but you will find dozens of indigenous grapes in a climate similar to that of Burgundy or the Southern Willamette Valley. Wines here are known to be elegant and complex. Maybe it's just me but if you describe a white wine as elegant and complex, with bursts of acidity, refreshing citrus notes and flavors of white peach, herbs and green apple, then you tell me that wine is $10, I will buy cases of it. This is that wine, my mom even liked this and she exclusively drinks Riesling.
4. Terra Viva, Languedoc Rouge Cuvée 2018 - This may be the best red for $10 I have ever had. Kermit Lynch is an iconic name in the wine industry and when it comes to French wine, there are few who are as legendary. Kermit over the decades has come to personify quality, terroir driven wines of every price point in the US. The Kermit Lynch name on a bottle of wine is a trusted stamp of quality. With this bottle, the quality blows way past $10. This blend of 55% Syrah, 30% Grenache, 10% Carignan, and 5% Cinsault is classically Languedoc. These grapes thrive here! Sourced from a tiny 7 acre vineyard planted on Schist soil (one of my favorites, we will get to that in another episode), this blend gives us everything we want: juicy, ripe fruit, but not jammy, texture and acidity, but not so much that is requires food, and a gentle tannic finish that brings it all together. Drink this with roast beef, with mushroom wellington, or best of all, drink this with a glass.