What wines can you not survive quarantine without?
Some people stick with a single favorite. Here's a peek at my much needed variety.
Not to promote any poor habits or excessive drinking, but I find it very relieving during this time to live vicariously through my glass of wine, as opposed to blindly drinking it. For example, I can't travel to the island of Sardinia right now, but I can open a bottle of its regional wine, sit down with some seafood pasta, and stimulate my imagination with a foreign experience.
Last week I shared a list of favorite sparkling wines, and why I needed each one. Today, I bring to you a few of my "Oddball" reds and how they cater to my need for diversity.
My "funky" red selection.
Paul Achs 2015 "Lust & Leben", and Heinrich 2017 Burgenland Blend
Those who follow me may notice I have a bit of a fetish for Austrian wines. I don't necessarily drink these to transport my mind to Vienna, but instead, to admire that Austrian fastidiousness and need for perfect execution.
Many producers make their reds using regional grapes like St. Laurent, Zweigelt, and Blaufränkisch, which were designed and bred to thrive in their climate. They all serve a unique purpose in these blends to harmoniously create a floral, earthy, medium bodied red that epitomizes balance. Even in the under $25 range they express great aromatics, mouthwatering acidity, and a mile long finish. Your palate yearns for another sip.
The region of Burgenland is one of the warmer wine growing destinations in Austria, which makes it perfect for fully ripening these violet-red grapes, even though they predominantly grow whites. You can even find some delicious dry rosés from the area!
Domaine Badoz Côtes du Jura 2015 Trousseau
Jura is a less than well-known French wine region that borders the Swiss Alps. The region makes very perfumey, zesty whites, and juicy, crisp reds and rosés. The grape used in this wine is a multi-climactic red called Trousseau Noir.
Contradictory to the climate of Jura, most Trousseau is planted in Portugal, where it is called Bastardo, and used to make surprisingly different styles of wine. The grape is very old and very versatile, capable of making everything from light reds to heavy fortified wines like Port.
This specific bottle I've chosen is best drunk with a slight chill and some time to breathe. It's a great wine to have in stock when you've exhausted your palate of tannic, hefty, oaky reds. It's delicate enough to be drunk with seafood and soft cheeses, but excitable enough to please the rich red drinkers as well. They aren't all that common, but when found, offer great value for money.
Duorum 2011 Douro Red Blend
This big fat blend is much like a Port, minus the sweetness and brandy. It uses the same grapes most commonly found in Port, but goes through a more traditional dry red winemaking process.
This particular wine is a blend of Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca, and Tinta Roriz. The primary grape is used as the backbone for flavor and structure in this wine. The second offers some balance, color, and aromatics. And the third, also known as Tempranillo, gives a bit more spice and nuance.
These grapes thrive in the hot, arid, Douro Valley, but certainly benefit from the moderating effects of the river. This is my "steak and potato wine" in the bunch. It is best after a good hour and a half of decanting, otherwise you might find the tannins and dryness to be a bit dramatic.
Once it has opened up, it professes all the characteristics you look for in a heavy red – from pipe tobacco oakiness, to chocolate dipped blackberry notes, and returning with a spicy, caramelized finish. The Duorum blend competes with even the most extravagant Napa and Bordeaux reds without the extravagant price.
Thank you for the privilege of your time,
- The Angry Somm