If you’re looking for wines this weekend, here are some specials to put in the basket.
Delas Viognier Pays D’OC 2017, $9.99 – A nice Rhone Valley white that comes across more refined than the price suggests. Filled with apricot, peach, and honeysuckle flavors, this 100 percent Viognier sees only steel tank fermentation and yet there’s a mid-weight texture to it that is soft and captivating. It’s refreshing with fish, chicken, salads or as an aperitif. The above price was found at the Winbe ConneXtion in North Andover.
Dona Paula “Smoked” Red Blend 2018, Mendoza (SRP $19) – Generally, I don’t like “smoke-addled” wines that resemble a gimmick more than a wine process, but this respected Argentinian producer’s delicate handling of the Cabernet Sauvignon-Malbec-Bonarda blend turns “Smoked” into a real barbecue treat. The wine is aged for three months in oak barrels which were toasted over an open fire made from native carob trees known as Algarrobo. A mild smoke aroma and vanilla flavor develops and meshes harmoniously with the big, dark fruit. It’s also smooth on the finish.
Casa Santos Lima Red Blend Portugal 2017, Lisbon, $7.99 – A ruby red wine made from Portuguese red grapes and several international varieties, there’s nothing subtle about it: intense dark cherry flavors backed by wild spices, grippy tannins and a medium dry finish. Wine Enthusiast magazine gave it 90 points. The quality of this wine simply bowled me over, and I’m glad the Wine Goddess – my wife Mary Lee – brought it home from a Costco shopping spree. An incredible buy for easy drinking, fall grilling and simple meals.
Castello di Albola Chianti Classico Riserva 2014, Radda, $29.99 – From the top tier DOCG quality zone, this balanced, dry Chianti Classico is pure sangiovese with a trace of canaiolo (5 percent). The generous fruit bursts forth with fresh strawberry and cherry flavors while herbal and spice notes beguile the palate. The 2014 is aged 12 months in oak before spending a total of 15 months in stainless steel and bottle developing polished tannins and a velvety texture. It’s a good companion for rich dishes and aged cheeses. Albola’s impressive 2013 Riserva, still in circulation, has been reduced from $32.99 to $14.99 in New Hampshire through Dec. 1. The entry level Albola Chianti Classico shows good character of this special sangiovese zone and is on sale for $14.99.
Arnaldo-Caprai 2015 Montefalco Rosso Riserva, $25 – This superb red blend from Umbria combines Sangiovese (70%), Sagrantino (15%) and Merlot (15%) to produce an intense, full-bodied wine that compares favorably to Tuscany’s prestigious Brunello di Montalcino. The vintage is the last for these restrictive varietal percentages. New rules guiding the Montefalco DOC went into effect in 2016 and allows winemakers to use more or less Sangiovese and/or Sagratino as vineyard factors dictate, although Sangiovese remains the dominant blending partner. The riserva is aged for 20 months in French oak and a minimum six months in bottle. Analdo-Caprai’s reputation for quality is easily
achieved in this vibrant, velvety Montefalco Rosso.
B.R. Cohn Sauvignon Blanc 2018, Sonoma, $28 – If you join Cohn’s wine club, this fresh, zippy, mouthwatering white can be yours for $22. The other option is to buy it online where availability is iffy. Too bad, because the wine’s Carneros-harvested fruit is worth the price. Bruce Cohn, the winery’s founder, was previously the manager of the Doobie Brothers musical group for 45 years. He’s hit only high notes in the vineyard since 1984 when he began producing his own wines, including a special selection Cabernet Sauvignon.