After conducting a public tour at the Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio, in Oak Park, as a volunteer docent interpreter, I joined the staff in a member's after closing birthday celebration on the patio. Happy Birthday, Mark! A casual light hearted affair under the unseasonably warm spring late afternoon sun, we tasted a trio of well selected easy drinking, high QPR (quality to price ratio) sippers ideally suited for such an occasion.
It is worth mentioning and featuring these three selections for summer every day drinking, as they also qualify as respectable selections for dining or even special occasions.
Bodegas Borsao Garnacha Campo de Borja 2013
We don't normally drink Grenache varietal wines, or Garnacha as their Spanish selections are called, especially at this price point, since it is such a rarity to find this quality and enjoyable drinking in this class. Even the eponymous Robert Parker says, “If you have not yet discovered the great values of Bodegas Borsao, it´s about time you do”. Wine Spectator cites them as “One of the Top 100 wineries of the world”. Voila! Its was news to me! Grenache tends to have bold forward characteristics that I normally prefer as part of a blend such as in a Chateauneuf du Pape, rather than as the 'main course'.
This is the second label of Tres Picos, which is the producer's flagship old vine Grenache, but at a fraction of the price. While not complex, polished or sophisticated, this is great value for keeping at hand in the cellar for everyday drinking with pizza, barbecue ribs, perhaps riccota cheese and pasta. Its not for the feint of heart, its a bold wine which will go best with food for the more timid red wine drinker. This blend of 75% Garnacha and 25% Tempranillo is not for cellaring or aging, but instant gratification pop and pour drinking.
Dark blackish garnet colored, medium to full bodied, bold, concentrated deep flavors of black berries accented by smoke, creosote and tobacco, with earthy spice tones and a modest dry finish.
RM 88 points.
Domaine Lafage Novellum VDP (Vin de Pays) des Côtes Catalanes Chardonnay 2013
Straw colored, medium to full bodied, not necessarily complex but what Wine Advocate calls 'exotic', with predominant forward bright vibrant white peach fruit flavor with floral, creme, brioche and almond nut flavors with bright acidity, soft smooth finish.
RM 89 points.
Matetic "EQ" Coastal Casablanca Valley (Chile) Sauvignon Blanc 2013
This comes from the Casablanca Valley in Chile, an emerging wine region adjacent to the coast so that the cool moderate coastal breezes make for ideal conditions for moderate white wines. The grapes for this wine come from estate vineyards in the area of “Valle Hermoso,” (beautiful valley) located about 8 miles from the Pacific.
Straw colored, light to medium bodied, ripe green apple predominates with tones of lime and passion fruits and melon with creamy notes and bright crisp acidity on the clean finish.
RM 89 points.