“The Alicante wine region is located just west of two other Monastrell strongholds: Yecla and Jumilla. The climate in these regions appears to suit Monastrell (also known as Mourvédre), providing the long growing season it needs to fully ripen. Here, gnarled grapevines squat close to the rocky soil to reflect the sun’s heat, providing further ripening encouragement to help create flavorful wines like this one.”
2013 Quinta do Casal Monteiro Arinto-Fernao Pires, Tejo, Portugal
This “disctintive” blend of two Portuguese white wine grape varieties is a “window into the style of an often overlooked wine-producing country”, according to Michael Dresser, writing in The Baltimore Sun.
He said: “It’s quite dry and herbal, with a deep color not usually found in a young wine. But on the palate it’s very fresh, with flavors of pears and tropical fruit. Its intensity and grip make it a standout in this price range. (Note: Quinta is abbreviated Qta. on the label.)”
Tortarossa Rosso Toscana 2011, Tuscany, Italy
Dennis Sodomka, writing in the Augusta Chronicle, recommended this “Super Tuscan” blend made by Alessandro Bocci, “one of Maremma’s most talented winemakers”.
He said: “Tortarossa means red cake, and this wine is as pleasing as any red velvet cake I’ve ever had. It is a beautiful, deep red in the glass, with dark fruit aromas. The flavors are rich and deep, with black raspberry and red currant predominant. It is fruit-forward without being overripe. It finishes with a nice balance of acid, making it a great food wine.”
Kendall-Jackson, 2012 Vintner’s Reserve, Mendocino County Zinfandel
Peg Melnik of The Press Democrat chose Kendall-Jackson’s Vintner’s Reserve Zinfandel as her top pick of the week because its “price point makes it a steal for the quality, and it’s also in great supply.”
She said: “Over the past 10 years. a popular style has been the powerhouse Zin, pushing alcohol levels in the 16-plus percent range. But Kendall-Jackson’s Zinfandel is modest at 14.5%. The winemakers said they’ve moved away from the over-oaked, over-extracted Zinfandel to create a balanced Zin; they’re striving to create one with elegance and power.”
She added: “A tasty Zin that’s a steal for the quality. Aromas and flavors of raspberry, blackberry and toast. An intriguing hint of cedar in the mix. Impressive.”
2013 Meiomi Chardonnay
Finally this “well-balanced, well-priced” Chardonnay was recommended by Colette Bancroft in the Tampa Bay Times.
She said: “This Chardonnay is sourced from Meiomi’s vineyards in three locations along the California coast: Santa Barbara, Sonoma and Monterey. The result, available at about $20 at wine-savvy markets, is lively, smooth and subtly complex.
“On the nose, crisp golden apple, a touch of mineral and a whiff of honeysuckle combine. That apple is first on the tongue as well, followed by rich pineapple and sweet spices with an understated line of oak. Creamy and lush in the mouth, this wine still finishes clean and crisp. Meiomi Chardonnay will pair with a wide range of foods, from a plate of spicy shrimp and grits to pork chops baked with apples or a bowl of vegetable green curry.”