Wine is a welcome respite to all the craziness going on in the world, at least it is for me. It cranks me down a few notches from an internal fevered pitch. The act of opening bottles lowers my blood pressure (or so it seems), slows my racing mind, and opens my ears to my kids excitedly sharing their day.
What wine should you drink while it’s well over 90 degrees, CNN is droning on in the background, and you’re surrounded by books and backpacks? Any wine that makes you happy, whether it’s the four dollar rose from Trader Joe’s or the forty dollar bottle of cab, just pour something you dig, something that generates that internal smile.
I’ve been loving red wine from Portugal. While I could get geeky about fermentation, acidity, and alcohol levels, the bottom line is the wine is so tasty. The Portuguese tend to blend a number of different red varieties grown on super old vines. They have harsh soil and bouts of severe weather, forcing the grapes to work really hard for their character, yet embodying elegance in the glass. If you are newer to wines from Portugal, you’ll want to look for regions like Dao, Douro, and Alentejo. The Douro is known for its port wines, but the region’s red blends rival that of big, bold Napa reds, for a much friendlier price. Dao has higher altitude, so the wines have a bit more acidity and are more tannic. They are lighter than the bold Douro reds and pair beautifully with your grilled meats for college football. Alentejo wines are produced in hot, dry weather, creating juicier red blends. My favorite Portugal red blends of late:
Douro Quinta Do Crasto, Vinhas Velhas Old Vines Reserva, Douro DOC, 2013
Dao Casa da Passarella O Oenologo, Vinhas Velhas, Dao, 2012
Alentejo Esporao Private Selection, 2012
Visit your local wine shop and ask for recommendations on Portuguese wines—or anything you’d like to try. Life is short. Our daily news is mind-boggling. So, pour the wine and keep your glass, and outlook, half full.