My three-year old daughter, Sophia, loves wine. Ah, but I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s begin at the beginning, as Aristotle would say: welcome to my column. If you’re reading these words, you’re interested in wines and likely a wine lover like Sophia and me or my friend Carlos who co-authors this column. I promise you a unique experience. Unlike some wine columns you may have read, long on pretentiousness and short on friendliness (does that strike a chord with you?) this one is unique because it is a down-to-earth family enterprise – my wife takes the photos, my friend Carlos selects the wines, I write the column and Sophia keeps all of us honest. Our main objective is to recommend excellent wines to you within the $10 to $25 range – and tell you where you can get them at a discount – and also to provide you, oh weary traveler or fearless tourist, a meaningful and enjoyable emotional experience.
You with me so far? Hang on to your socks! Here we go.
For today, Carlos and I, under Sophia’s watchful supervision, have selected four wines to sample and, to make it fair, have settled on two whites and two reds.
Our first white is a Kunde Estate Sauvignon Blanc, Magnolia Lane 2004, from the Sonoma Valley inCalifornia. The Kunde family has been producing some of the most outstanding wines in the Dry Creek region for nearly 80 years and this particular wine is no exception. Medium-dry with fruity overtones of peach, mango and citrus, it is a great complement to seafood and soups or hors d’ouevres as we expect the arrival of the main course. Warning: production of this wine is nearly always insufficient to keep up with demand, so run to the store before it’s gone. Wine Spectator Rating: 90 points. Retail Price: $13.99.
The second white wine is also from California, a Cuvaison Chardonnay Napa Carneros 2003. This Carneros Estate Vineyard at the entrance to foggy San Francisco Bay is set among gently rolling hills and cooled by strong breezes, which provide the ideal soil and climate to produce this opulent wine. This luscious Chardonnay, which brings to mind the exquisite French Puligny Montrachet, has a velvety texture and is rich with white peach, spice and tropical fruit. This wine is a great complement with hearty seafood dishes. Wine Spectator Rating: 90-95 points. Retail Price: $24.99.
For a change of scenery, the first red wine we have selected for you comes from Mendoza, Argentina, a country well-known for its outstanding Malbecs. This 2003 medium-bodied Malbec from Big Daddy Vineyards in Maipu has an intense red color with a light violet fringe. With a mature fruit taste suggesting cherries, plums and raisins, this soft, medium-bodied wine is both well structured and lively in the mouth and excellent when paired with asaditos – Argentinean barbecues – and roasted dishes. Wine Spectator Rating: 85-89 points. Retail Price: $9.99.
For the second red wine, we will return to another region of California, the Carmel Valley in Monterrey. This 2001 barrel-aged Chateau Julien Cabernet Sauvignon is medium-bodied yet robust and complex with mild tannins that provide structure and depth. A multitude of fruity aromas, among them black cherry, ripe raspberry and cassis blend with oak and spice flavors to provide its distinctive flavor and lingering Classic Cabernet finish. This well-textured wine, ready to enjoy now, goes well with lamb, pork chops and venison. Wine Enthusiast Rating: 85-90. Retail Price: $13.99.
All the wines described in this column are available at Miami Tobacco Traders at 2920 Ponce de Leon inCoral Gables. Phone (305) 445 0100. Ask for Carlos and mention this column and you will get a 10% discount on anything you buy.
And that’s it for today. For my next column, I’ll have a few surprises for you. And, oh yes, in case you are wondering. Sophia doesn’t really drink wine. While Carlos and I are sampling the bottles, I prepare her a combination of fruit punch and Perrier, which she sips with us and calls her “wine.”
She loves it, too.
Enjoy your travels with Aeropostal…and your wine everywhere.