After my wine tasting in Chicago, I had to search out and find a Chilean wine that stood as a good example of the delicious wines that can be found in that region. The 2009 Veranda Cabernet-Carménère is an excellent example of just such a wine.
The Veranda Cabernet is an estate bottled wine from the Colchagua Valley of Chile where Cabernet Sauvignon, Carmenere and Syrah wines are predominant. It is a medium-bodied red wine blend with dark fruit and earthy aromas and just the right hint of smoky notes. Its flavors are well structured and primarily of blackberry and plum, courtesy of the Carmenere grapes, but the finish is all Cabernet, with the taste of black cherry coming to the forefront. A wonderfully rich wine that will pair well with heavier meals. I recommend everyone stock up on this one while it is still available.
Food Pairing: As with the fuller Cabernet Sauvignons, this blend of Cabernet and Carmenere, pairs best with the rich and powerful flavors of grilled meats as the dark fruit and spiciness compliments the smoky taste of the grill.
Want to serve a nice red wine with your next steak dinner? Well, you can’t go wrong with this 2010 Dreaming Tree Cabernet Sauvignon, especially if you like a more medium-bodied wine and one that is not too dry.
And there is an interesting story behind this wine. It has a very famous singer/songwriter to thank for its origin – Dave Matthews, as well as a famous winemaker, Steve Reeder. Dave & Steve were eager to create a wine that was both flavorful and “full of soul” as well as one that had the least amount of environmental impact. They achieved their goal by sourcing grapes only from sustainably-farmed vineyards on California’s North Coast, producing labels that are made of recycled paper, using a bottle that is 25% less dense than standard bottles and stopping with corks from sustainably grown trees.
Now, without a good tasting wine these noble ideals wouldn’t be that important but, thankfully, the wine is very enjoyable. Upon opening, aromas of dark fruit and plum meet the nose followed by a taste that is full of intense cherry and blackberry flavors and just a touch of vanilla and licorice. It has a nice smooth, velvety texture and a finish that has a hint of sweet spices and vanilla. Great wine for the money!
Food Pairing: Serve with beef such as steaks and standing rib roasts, grilled leg of lamb and pork loin as well as coal-fired pepperoni pizzas, Eggplant Parmesan and hard cheeses.
When I first saw this wine on Total Wines’ Top 15 Summer Wines under $15 and listed at #5, I wondered what type of red wine it actually was. It turns out that it is a combination of 5 different grapes, 60% Red Grenache, 35% Carignan, 2% Merlot, 2% Syrah and 1% Ull de Llebre, some of which I had never heard of, but thought with such a high recommendation I would give it a try.
This wine is from Spain and made from grapes grown at the foot of the Montsant in the Siurana Valley. Most of the vines at the vineyard actually date back more than 80 years. This blend has a high percentage of the Grenache grape, which is the grape primarily used in Riojas and light Rosé wines, but with the addition of the Carignan and Syrah is much more full-bodied than its counterparts.
Upon opening, aromas of black cherry, plum, Asian spices, smoke and licorice drifted to my nose while the first sip brought flavors of plum, dark cherry, a hint of mocha and some complex minerality to my palate. It is definitely a full-bodied Spanish red but with a little too much of a sour taste for my liking. I did find that after letting it breath for an hour it was a little less sour but I would probably not purchase this wine again as I feel there are better full-bodied red wines available for a more reasonable price.
Food Pairing: Serve with red meat, heavier fish, pizza, pasta, tapas selections and hard cheeses.