SommCon event June 23-25 draws wine pros, enthusiasts

June 10, 2019

I just enjoyed the opportunity to sample some of the new release from Herdade Esporao, a highly regarded Portuguese producer. Longtimers may remember my advisory to purchase their Quinta dos Murcas Reserva 2010 in 2014 and rating it 92 points. Initially came in at $39. You’ll be delighted to know it is in the heart of its window. The tannins are incorporated, and the wine can be had now for  $40, after running up to $57 on excellent reviews. Esporao is a quality producer. Their wine is affordable and usually has  good QPR. The Quinta dos Murcas Minas 2016 is a good entry look at Esporao red blends under $20. It’s composed of Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca, Tinta Francisca, Tinta Roriz, and Tinto Cão. The winemaker extracted the best features of each. As you are aware, I love chef-created vino, especially when the winemaker is so talented. An intense red about 13.5 percent alcohol, dark fruit nose, a bit tannic but drinkable. Should be excellent by 2021. Just available in our market under $20, 89 McD.

Their white blend is a very fine bargain, Herdade do Esporao Esporao Reserva Branco Alentejo, Portugal 2017. Blended of Antao Vaz, Arinto, Roupeiro and Semillon, with 13.5 percent ABV, these are consistent 88-89-point lovelies. Recent price in NJ $13 and NYC $15. Unsure in Delaware, as it is a recent release. These are great food wines, and they cellar. Look for green-tinged straw color, peaches, grapefruit and lemon, slightly toasted barrel spices. On the nicely balanced, creamy palate, fruit repeats through a pleasing long, clean finish. Those who enjoy them should ask their local wine pal at their favorite store to bring in a case for a best price. Great hazy, lazy sipper, and your pals will think you are putting on the dog. Be careful here; this is not their Monte Velho white around $8. These are decent and a fair value at 86 McD, shows lemon, peach, vanilla nose. Dry, medium body, vanilla and peaches repeat on the palate. If you happen to visit one of our local olive oil stores you may find Esporao Organic Olival dos Arrifes. It is excellent.

How about a couple of Cru Bourgeois Bordeaux that won’t break your bank? Chateau Larose Trintaudon Haut Medoc has rated above 87 McD since 2009. We don’t cellar these, because there is little to no price appreciation and there are still 2009 and 2012 available around $20. Your best bet would be a case of three each, 2009, ‘14, ‘15, and ‘16. I’m guessing you could buy it under $325/case and your wine store pal would be fairly rewarded for the work. All are in their window now and will keep through 2021-24. The ruby crimson-colored 2015 has a complex nose with black currants, vanilla, earth and mild barrel oak. On the fresh, round palate, appropriate tannin for a drink-me-now wine that will keep thru 2022. Another that may be slightly more difficult to locate is Château Poitevin Médoc. This is one of five wineries elevated to Cru Bourgeois in the most recent review, in which several actually lost their designation. Any vintage 2014-16 will do. I have written of Cru Bourgeois before. Judicious shoppers will usually find great bargains here.

Following is a wonderful opportunity for serious winos with time on their hands to learn from the informed in the sweltering, humid, swamp of Washington, D.C., June 23-25. Those interested can read info here: For those wishing to make it a real vacation, another SommCon event will be held Nov. 13-15 in San Diego. Attend the event and meander down to visit the border; lucky folks may see another section of “The Wall” being completed. Seriously, these events are well worth looking into, with a chock-full agenda. One caveat: If you’re not serious, it may be overwhelming. Regarding dress codes for most tastings: Those not very well coordinated and fastidious should avoid solid, pale colors. Plaids, paisleys and exotic prints with reds, purples and darker backgrounds are best. Please don’t wear the napkins as a bib. Slower Lowerareans are frequently perceived with a jaundiced eye by many of the swamp dwellers. Especially those few who “bin tua ahrster eat.”

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