Varsity Liquors' Wines of the Month
Simon Gilbert Hunter Valley Verdelho 2000
As we venture again into obscurity, here is a grape that rarely makes its way into a bottle with the name Verdelho on it. Portuguese in origin, it is a component grape in white port and a principal part of most of the still white wines of northern Portugal. The planting of this wine in the Hunter Valley region of Australia brings forth a wine of greater power and distinction than any Portuguese white wine I've had. It is similar in body and acidity to a Sauvignon Blanc, with a more aromatic nose and a rounder finish. It's a wonderful accompaniment to seafood or chicken and partners with spicier fish recipes like Blackened Tuna especially well.
Chateau Pesquié Les Terrasses Cote du Ventoux 1999
The Côte du Ventoux is in the southern Rhone Valley in France, an area that is home to the famed Chateauneuf-de-Pape. Côte du Ventoux is predominantly Syrah and just bursting with flavor. A recent recipient of a 90-point score from the Wine Advocates' Robert Parker, its rich, full character and ripe fruit make it an absolute pleasure for a variety of situations. It possesses enough body to stand up to roasts and other robust entrees, and its abundant fruit makes it a fine choice when only wine is on the menu. I would pair it with a Pan-Seared Duck Breast and Herb Roasted Red Potatoes.
Rioja Vega Rioja Crianza 1996, Spain
This little Rioja Crianza is a cut above the average Spanish red. Hailing from Spain's legendary red wine region, it compares favorably to such household names in Spanish wine as Marquis de Riscal and Conde de Valdemar. Like most Rioja's, it is a blend of different varieties of grapes, in this case Tempranillo, Grenache, and Mazuelo(Carignane). What sets this wine apart is its richness and added depth, a result of the extra bottle age on the 1996. Pair it with strong cheeses and spicy sausages, or roasted red meat of any kind.