our staff picks for april!

Callabriga Alentejo 2008
Recently I was feeling somewhat adventurous so I decided to try a Portuguese wine from a region I had not yet explored. I came across a beautiful red from the Alentino region located in southern Portugal. The temperature is a little warmer during the summer, which helps to fully ripen the grapes. The region takes up 1/3 of Portugal’s land mass but it is still a small wine producing area. Alentino is known for its wheat production and is often referred to as the “bread basket” of Portugal.

Callabriga Alentejo is a hand-harvested blend of Aragonês (aka Tempranillo), Alfrocheiro and Alicante Bouschet. The grapes are aged 9 months in separate barrels and then carefully blended to perfection with a bottle aging of 6 months. I was blown away by the flavors and spice of this wine. It starts with a ripe plum and fresh raspberry flavor, robust tannins, slight acidity, vanilla, nutmeg, pepper and a huge tobacco flavor on the finish.  It is the perfect wine to keep you warm at night and give you the feeling of smoking a cigar while enjoying a glass of wine, but without the smoke-filled air. – Bethann

Peterson Old School Zinfandel 2009
I have been on a bit of a Zin kick lately and this particular wine from Fred Peterson in Sonoma’s Dry Creek Valley has been hitting every mark. Peterson is a no nonsense sort of guy who makes some outstanding wines. His Old School Zinfandel is exactly what I like in a wine. It is uncomplicated yet full bodied with lush dense fruit with soft ripe tannins and just a hint of spice. This is ‘easy drinking, no thinking’ wine. The only thinking that is required is to read the hilarious label on the bottle! – Denis

Hirsch Grüner Veltliner #1 2010
With summer arriving as quickly as it did, I have been more in the mood for an easy drinking white wine instead of my usual reds. This Austrian Grüner hits the mark with a crisp, light body, but enough depth and character to keep it interesting. With its bright fruit balanced by just enough acidity, you will easily pay more for a Burgundy of the same quality. Austria may not be the first place you think of when it comes to summer wines, but to me, there is no better wine for a lazy warm afternoon. – Nick

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 Vine & Table #301