Varsity Liquors' Wines of the Month
Dom Martinho Alentejo 1996, Portugal
In Portugal, estates are known as "Quintas" and one of the most renowned is that of Quinta do Carom. With the Dom Martinho they have created a medium bodied wine of surprising complexity. Crafted from the grapes Alicante Bouchet, Tricadeira, Pereqita, and Aragonez, this wine has great concentration and an intense and lingering finish. This is a wine made for food and would benefit from a little breathing time before consumption. So, uncork about an hour before dinner and enjoy with anything from meatloaf to mutton. Personally, I'd drink this with a loaf of crusty bread, a dry sausage like soppresatta and a wedge of Brie, picnic style.
Kings Estate Pinot Gris 1999, Oregon
As the blossoms fall from the trees and the temperature rises, the search for that flexible summer/aperitif/light cuisine wine begins. What we have here is an early entry in that category, Pinot Gris and Pinot Grigio are, in reality, the same grape, but the style depends greatly on the region of its origin. The Pinot Gris from Kings Estate possesses a nice balance between fruit and acidity, with a little more softness on the palette than some of its crisper Italian kin. When we tried this wine in the company of some far more expensive Pinot Gris, it was hands down, the preferred wine.
Laura Hartwig Merlot Colchagua Valley 1999, Chile
There is a seeming tradition within the Winemaking industry that involves naming your wines after family members. The Laura on the label is the mother of the winemaker and this is a wine she would be proud of. With an explosive nose of rich and concentrated fruit accented by hints of anise and oak, this wine is a surprisingly opulent bottle for the price. With no expense spared and twelve months in new French oak; this is a wine made in a distinctly "New World" style. While soft and full of deep fruit on the front end, the wine stays in balance, and finishes with notes of cocoa and coffee. This wine is a great choice when looking for California flavor at a South American price.