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The Cellar: Late Summer Values

Friday, August 29, 2014

 

Vilacetinho

While this week saw some fantastic weather there is no getting around the fact that cooler weather is on the horizon. If you are anything like me, however, you are still hanging on to every little bit of sunshine. The following are reviews of three fantastic and refreshing wines that I have been sampling lately. All the wines are from regions I believe represent some of today’s best values.

Vinho Verde, Portugal

One of the best values in white wine is from Portugal; more specifically from the region Vinho Verde located in the northwestern corner of the country. There, some the world’s most refreshing white wines are made from a dozen or so indigenous grape varieties including Alvarinho, Arinto and Loureiro. It used to be that the Vinho Verdes available here in the US were all light and simple – you know ‘everyday’ type wines. Today, you can remove the first two descriptors as quality has gone up significantly with prices remaining almost the same. A great example is this week’s feature: the newly released 2013 Grande Escolha from Casa de Vilacetinho; an estate once owned by the medieval Alpendurada Monastery. Vilacetinho’s wines have a long and proud history having been served to Royalty, Heads of States and celebrities for more than 60 years. Made from Avesso, Arinto, Azal and Loureiro the 2013 vintage is as rich in flavor and full in body as the 2012. The wine is brimming with exotic ripe fruits on the nose. On the palate the wine displays delicious apples, peaches and lemons with a refreshing splash of effervescence.

Côtes-du-Rhône, France

Belleruche

Other great values can be found in France’s Rhone Valley. More specifically the wines from ‘Côtes-du-Rhône’, which can be white, red, as well as rosé. The grapes for these wines, which are primarily blends made from Grenache Noir and Syrah (for reds and rosés) and Clairette and Grenache Gris (for whites), can be sourced from the more than 200.000 acres that make up this huge appellation. This week’s featured Côtes-du-Rhône is a rosé from Michel Chapoutier - one of the most highly respected winemakers in France. Since taking over the family business in 1990, Michel has transformed the Estate into one of the leading Rhône Valley producers. Their 2013 rosé is a blend made primarily from Grenache Noir with Cinsault and Syrah. The grapes were pressed directly into the tanks without any extended skin contact (maceration). The wine was then aged in the vats for a few months and bottled at the end of this past winter. On the nose I detect lovely red apples and bright red cherries. On the palate the wine is very easy-drinking, soft and round with ripe red raspberries and a splash of citrus.

Prosecco, Italy

Valdo

The last wine I want to highlight for late summer value is a Prosecco – always a good and economic source of great bubbly fun. Historically, the word ‘Prosecco’ referred to the name of a village as well as the principle grape variety that made the wine. Due to much confusion however, authorities have since separated the terms so that Prosecco when written on the label now refers to the DOC (Denominazione di origine controllata) – i.e. the geographical area where the grapes are grown, as well as the rules and regulations surrounding how the wine is made. The grape is now referred to as ‘Glera’ but is essentially the same grape that has been making this fantastic wine for hundreds of years. This week’s featured Prosecco is made by Valdo, which has been specializing in bubbles since 1926. Hints of candied apples and baking spices appear on the nose. On the palate the candy is removed. The wine is well-made, clean and crisp with ripe yellow apples, green pears and peaches alongside a splash of slightly sweetened citrus on the finish.

Cheers.

Steffen Rasch is a Certified Sommelier and Specialist of Wine. Feel free to email him at [email protected] with any wine-related question or learn about wine in person by signing up for one of his tastings through the Providence Wine Academy.

 

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