Hear ye hear ye, this may be your last chance to pick up some European wines before they get tariff-ied.

There are some very good wines coming over from “the old country” but only a few are in the affordable category.

For the wine lover it becomes if or whether or whether not plunk his/her money down on an unknown, untried and sometimes unpronounceable wine.

I have recently come across some very fine wines that are worth their price and then some.

Baron Philippe De Rothschild 2011 Mouton Cadet Rouge ($15). This wine is made by the preeminent wine producer in all of France, Chateau Mouton Rothschild. The regal elegance of this wine is highlighted by its very deep ruby color and floral, fruity aroma which is derived from its time-honored makeup of 65% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon and 15% Cabernet Franc, a formula for success, that has not changed in many, many years. The Merlot imparts the aromas of cherries and raspberries to the wine. The Cabernet Sauvignon adds body and depth as well as the aroma of blackberries while the Cabernet Franc contributes softness and a velvet smoothness. The flavor is characterized by a melding of blackberry, cherry, raspberry and blueberry flavors that carry over to the finish where they reside on the palate for a very long time. This is a wine that lives up to its regal name and does credit to its makers.

Da Vinci 2018 Chianti ($12.99). Although not swathed in a straw basket or in the bulb-shaped bottle of the past, Da Vinci 2018 Chianti is as true to the old fashioned Tuscan recipe as you can get. The brilliant deep garnet color heralds fresh and pleasant aroma of violets and dried plums with a hint of wild berries in the background. The flavor is full and powerful, accenting blackberries, plums and an earthy flavor that has become synonymous with Chianti. As far as what this wine will accompany; everything, after all, it is Chianti.

Beronia 2016 Rioja Crianza ($14.99). This wine, like most of the Rioja red wines, is made from the indigenous Tempranillo grape with small amounts Garnacha and Mazeulo grapes blended in. The amazing thing about wines made with the Tempranillo grape is that they are capable of incredibly long lives. The Beronia Rioja Crianza is a fine example of a Rioja wine but with an interesting turn on aging. The wine was aged in barrels made of American oak staves and a French oak top for 12 months, producing a wine that displays a nose that is heavy with oak and just a hint of pepper and vanilla. The flavor stresses fresh cherries and hints of ripe blueberries with oak and vanilla in the background. This very fruity wine ends in a finish that is reminiscent of a quality Beaujolais.

Renato Ratti Barbera d'Asti 2016 ($24). Unfortunately, there have been some Italian wines that have not been easy to find, especially those from the area in the northwestern part of the country called Piemonte (Pea eh montay) or as we call it, Piedmont. Having been in Piedmont, I believe that we may know the reason; the locals are drinking it all themselves,. Another good reason is that it is a Barbera, the variety that the district is famous for. The Renato Ratti winemakers draw their grapes for this wine from the area in and around the center of the Barbera grape growing district, the Piedmont city of Asti. The wine has an inky garnet color and presents the aromas of blueberries, wild flowers and oak. The flavor offers the sensation of ripe red summer fruits balanced by a firm oak backbone. The finish is one of the outstanding features of this wine displaying the very noticeable flavors of blueberries and blackberries. When well aged, as this one is, the wine takes on an incredible mellowness. As you might well imagine, this wine is the perfect for spicy meat dishes and those accompanied by a red sauce.

Bennet Bodenstein is a wine enthusiast and book author whose column appears in publications throughout the country.

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.