Jeriko Estate Sangiovese 2003 ($16-$20) - I'm surprised at how often I enjoy Italians raised in California. This Mendocino red, while powerful, offers some righteous complexity. Red & black berry scents spiced with dried herbs and a hint of clove. The tannins are a bit grippy, which makes it a great choice with something roasted. Organic. Verdict: Recommended
Quinta dos Roques Garrafeira 2000 ($35) - An old world throwback. Flavors of just-ripe red cherry mixed with hints of cedar and earth. Jaggedy, slightly wild tannins that haven't yet softened with age. Have you ever tried red wine from the Dao region of Portugal? It may just inspire you to talk like a pirate. Yar.
Qupe Marsanne 2004 ($20) - What do you get when you pull Viognier out of a white Cali-Rhone blend? Less honeysuckle and more fresh melon tang. This Santa Ynez Valley white wine is the perfect California expression of two of the Rhone's unheralded whiteys (75% Marsanne & 25% Rousanne). Slurp it with a little spicy Asian stir fry. Verdict: Highly Recommended
Bonny Doon Erbaluce 2004 ($17) - This resurrected northern Italian varietal produces charming wine. It's been known to save relationships. Doon's Erbaluce exhibits a nifty combination of lemon zest, white pear and herbal scents. On the tongue, the wine is deceptively rich and hearty - it'll stand up to spicy Indian curry. Verdict: Highly Recommended
Thus far the grape varietal roster for wine lent reads:
- Touriga Nacional, Alfrocheiro, Tinta Roriz and Jaen (Portugese grapes)
- Marsanne & Rousanne
Do you have any exciting, lent-approved discoveries to add?