Current Favorites: Wine
the steal: Lago Red Blend
When choosing a wine, everyone wants bang for their buck. Traditionally, people have looked to Italy and Spain for value, but in every circle, I meet people who are getting excited about wines from Portugal. I am admittedly also on the bandwagon. One of the finest examples is the Lago red blend, a Portuguese wine made with native varietals from the Douro valley. With a generous bouquet, nice structure and smooth finish, this extremely well-made wine drinks shockingly far outside its price point. It easily stands up to some expensive Californian or French wines and would no doubt be well received at a dinner party. A perfect wine for both cheap burgers and expensive steak, Lago is the everyday drinker you have been seeking.
the surprise: Bressia Lagrima Canela
South American winemakers are rapidly gaining ground on the world’s wine market. With quality now the main focus, they are experimenting in ways that are unique to their climate and their place in the world. Bressia Lagrima Canela is a white wine made from chardonnay and sémillon, two varietals that are not usually blended. The unique blend, along with aging in 100% new French and American oak barrels, makes for a wine that will touch your soul. It dances on the nose and palate with a cornucopia of intense tree fruit, as well as cinnamon and vanilla. If you’re looking to experience something new, pick up a bottle of this delicious juice.
the killer: Le Pich
So you’re ready to drop some money on California cabernet. You’ve had Silver Oak, Nickel and Nickel, Caymus, etc., and you want something new. Look no further than Le Pich, a cabernet that drinks great out of the bottle and can hold its own with the usual suspects from Napa Valley. I’ve even heard of this wine being called ‘The Caymus Killer’ because it offers the intense red fruit of a Napa Valley floor wine but doesn’t hold a hefty price tag. I wouldn’t be surprised if this wine became very popular in the next few years. It’s a good buy now and certainly an investment for the future.
the gem: Clarice
Clarice is a pinot noir from the Santa Lucia Highlands made by Adam Lee, the winemaker famous for his legendary Siduri wines. Clarice is a new project named after his grandmother, who taught him how to cook as a child, an experience to which he attributes his winemaking process. Drinking Clarice is like watching a prizefighter in his prime or listening to an opera singer on her best day. I could talk about the fruit, structure and complexity of this wine for hours, and it’s evident that it comes from an intensely thoughtful winemaker. It is testament that America can make a truly world-class pinot noir.
Anthony Geary is sommelier at the Four Seasons Hotel St. Louis.