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The Cellar: Great Values From Spain + Portugal

Friday, February 22, 2013


Two great wine values come from Spain and Portugal this week.

Longtime readers of this column know of my love affair with Spanish and Portuguese wines. The variety of grapes grown continues to surprise and the values to be had, while slowly diminishing, are as still considerable. Over the past few weeks I have tasted quite a lot in preparation for this past tasting at the Providence Wine Academy, which featured the wines of these two amazing wine producing nations.

2011 Herdade do Esporao "Monte Velho", Alentejano, Portugal

Among the ones I sampled was this fantastic $10 gem from Herdade do Esporão – one of Portugal's leading privately held wine and olive oil companies. Their entry-level Monte Velho series is one of the best selling in all of Portugal and after having tasted a few of them I can see why.

This wine, of which they made more than 1 million bottles, is made from 35% Antão Vaz, 35% Roupeiro and 30% Perrum - three indigenous, high-yielding grape varietals each of which give a unique characteristic to the blend. The wine is extremely aromatic, loaded with citrus, ripe peaches and pears. On the palate the wine is dry and medium-bodied, with its flavors replicating those detected on the nose. A little simple but well-made and not bad for ten bucks!

2010 Bodegas Olivares Altos de la Hoya, Monastrell, Jumilla, Spain

At under $12 a bottle, the 2010 Monastrell (Mouvedre) from Bodegas Olivares represents a fantastic value. Alongside Alicante (featured a few weeks ago) Jumilla is one of the few places where Monastrell is the feature

grape variety. Bodegas Olivares owns 160 acres in the northernmost part of the region. This sub-region, called La Hoya de Santa Ana, is Jumilla’s coolest--making for leaner wines with more acidic qualities.

This wine was awarded 91 points from famed wine critic Stephen Tanzer and praised for its candied dark fruit flavors, intensity and power. While not a 91-point wine in my book, this wine, which was aged for 6 months in French oak, does have certain pleasing attributes. Among them its signature acidic finish which balances the sweet, ripe dark fruits. I’d like some more depth, but still not bad for $12.


Steffen Rasch CSW is ready to answer any wine-related questions, comments or concerns you may have. Feel free to email him at [email protected]. And as always, don’t forget to follow GoLocalProv’s Wine Cellar on Facebook and sign up for one of Steffen’s tastings through the Providence Wine Academy.


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