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Saturday, April 20, 2024
Home Opinion With Time with Aaron the Wine Guy

With Time with Aaron the Wine Guy

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Hello Prince Albert! When most people think of Portugese wines, the first thing that comes to mind is often Port. This makes complete sense as many people (wine enthusiasts or not) have tasted this flavorful dessert-style wine around holidays or special events.

What many people may not realize is that while Portugal is rightfully famous for its fortified wines, it is actually a producer of some of the most delicious red wines on the planet. The best part? They are often very affordable and the quality they deliver is incredibly high. In other words, the value ratio for red wines from Portugal is phenomenal. In many cases, you get more than you pay for.

Portugal used to be known for their cheaper reds and in fact, in Prince Albert, there were very few choices such as Mateus (a fruity rose) and a few entry-level options. Take a look through the Portugal section now and you’ll notice it has swelled to include mid-priced wines and several age-worthy reds as well.

Two areas you will see on bottles from Portugal are the Douro and Alentejano (among many others). The wines I sampled this week were specifically from the Alentejano region. This region covers a third of the entire wine producing area of Portugal and is responsible for making wines which rival some of the best wines from Bordeaux, Rioja and even Chianti.

Looking at online wine prices, there are some bottles coming out from the Alentejano that can reach $700 to $1000 per bottle! For those of us you can’t afford to drop several mortgage payments on a single bottle of wine, there is a fantastic brand called Medeiros which produces some delicious entry-level wines. And do not despair, since their higher end offering, the Medeiros Reserva tops out around $70 so it is still within reach of us mere mortals.

The Medeiros brand is carefully overseen by two generations of families who focus on producing wines as naturally as possible. The Medeiros brand is not certified green or biodynamic but they focus on using natural techniques such as trellising their grapes along a line held above the ground which helps aerate the grapes keeping them cool and safe from mildew or mold. The winery uses less SO2 (Sulphur Dioxide) and allows the wines to showcase their fruit-driven wines without as many chemical additions.

The vineyard also relies on natural predators and plant species to fight pests and bugs. It is said that the grapes live alongside sheep, dogs, frogs, birds, fish etc. This focus on natural farming and use of natural pesticides means higher quality wine and less allergies and reactions for those enjoying the wines.

The Alentejano is home to some beautiful wine estates and the Medeiros brand is no different. Accommodations are available at the winery as well as a fantastic wine shop and wine tasting tours. It is also rumored that the family has a decent stash of high-quality cigars somewhere in the Chateau. I may have to investigate this rumor personally. Here are my wine picks of the week!

Medeiros Regional Red 2015: (Alentejano, Portugal). Dry red, deep ruby color with fading at edges. The nose is vibrant and intense with preserved wild strawberry/cherry, bushberries, hints of balsamic reduction, cheese, vanilla and cocoa. Medium-plus intense flavors of cooked dark fruits (blackberry), blueberry, cherries and sweet spice on the palate. Medium-plus acidity and medium-plus body. High tannins. The finish is long and satisfying with aniseed, black licorice, pepper, toast and vanilla/caramel. Pair with roasts or grilled meats. Very good! $27, 14% ABV

Ares de Medeiros Red 2017: (Alentejano, Portugal). Dry red, medium ruby color. The bouquet features cherry and red fruit followed by mellow warming spices. On the palate, medium body, medium acidity and medium intense flavors of raspberry, cherry, black pepper and oak spices. Finish is long with pressed grape skins, black currant and hints of earth. A simple, fruity wine at a great price. Good! $23, 14% ABV

Ares de Medeiros Private Selection 2015: (Alentejano, Portugal). Dry red, deep ruby color with slight fading. High intensity scents of blueberry, black currants, fruit leather, plums, cranberries and earthy mushroom all waft from the glass. To the taste, earth, cocoa, sweet coffee, dark/blue fruits and a slightly floral edge. Tight, high tannins with a hint of jam-like texture at the edges and a long finish of sweet earth, cocoa, mushroom, dark fruit and oak spice. Satisfying flavors with medium-plus body and medium-plus acidity. Pair with cigars, prime rib steak, tomahawk steaks or rugged aged cheddars. Very good! $40, 14.5% ABV

Cheers and thanks for reading!