Looking for a wine to stand up to burgers and other summer-grill favorites? Try the Carmim Aragones Reguengos 2012 – you may want to buy several to last the remainder of the Grilling Season!
First some background: American wine enthusiasts often overlook the wines of Portugal, not for any ill will toward the country (I loved Portugal in all aspects during my visit) but more for the fact that Portuguese grapes are little known outside of Portugal, many Portuguese wines are blends of multiple grapes and this is a difficult hurdle to overcome in a world wine market focused on universal grape names – how many times have we heard a customer tell a server “I’ll have a Cabernet” or “I like Chardonnay”? Conversely, rarely is heard the phrase “please bring me a multiple grape blend of Portuguese grapes that I cannot pronounce”…
So while there may be understandable reasons why Portuguese wines do not own high level American mind-share, there are many reasons wine enthusiasts should give them a try. For example, Portugal’s wine industry suffered (like the rest of its economy) through difficult political rule in the 20 century, leaving many of its vineyards neglected and wineries idle, but the past 20 years have seen vast financial investment with influx of international talent which resulted in rapid redevelopment of Portugal’s wine industry – this allows the wine-buying public to enjoy good quality wines at bargain prices.
Case in point: Carmim Aragones Reguengos 2012 is a quality red at a good price ($10 bucks!). Hailing from one of Portugal’s lesser known regions (Alentejo Region covers the south central portion of the country), and specifically a co-op in the town of Reguengos de Monsaraz, a town due east of Lisbon and nearly to the Spanish border which also is home to very successful ESPORAO Wines and Olive Oils. A blend of 40% Trincadeira (sometimes referred to as ‘Portuguese Malbec’, but in reality not related to Malbec), 40% Aragonez (also called Tinto Roriz in other Portuguese regions, and Tempranillo in Spain), 20% Castelão (sometimes called Periquita in Portugal), these are not the most commonly known grapes, but the blend results in a pleasing red wine. The color is dark garnet red, not purple, but nearly as dark. Although medium bodied, the wine packs an intense, juicy delivery of red and black fruit flavors with a bit of a rustic character. The freshness and clean flavor intensity together with medium body gives away its old world origin – and makes it ideal to stand up to cheeses and possibly grilled veggies or meats. Additionally, this wine is listed as #20 on a popular wine magazine’s top 100 best buys. You might like it too – and at this price it is worth a try! (PLCB Code: 43567 Carmim Aragones Reguengos 2012 $9.99 750ML, 14% ABV, Available in Specialty Stores).