HUB’S HINTS – “SOS” – SAME OLD STUFF
Are you tired of the “SOS” (same old stuff) or “SOC” (same old considerations)? I have cleaned this up a bit! If you are one of those people who is becoming increasingly less interested or satisfied with the “SOS”, wines that you have been purchasing and consuming; please allow me to provide a few, affordable recommendations that would (I believe) stimulate and reinvigorate your interest.
While traveling on the road and dining in the great outdoors, campers are often frustrated and bewildered regarding what style of wine to take on over the road excursions. Most everyone has specific brand preferences when it comes to hard liquor and beer but, remain a bit uncomfortable regarding what type of wine / wines to take on a trip. As a result, many consumers settle for the “SOS” / “SOC” or, the standard commodity wines available in general distribution. There are literally thousands of wines available world-wide that would complement the camping / dining experience but, the following are my “NTSOS” (Not The Same Old Stuff) recommendations that you could enjoy at home or, on your next trip.
Generally (with the possible exception of Monica Bennett from Just 5 More Minutes, who creates extravagant and delicious gourmet dinners at camp sites across the Northwest (visit her site for inspiration and information), the type of food consumed while camping necessitates lighter, softer and less austere style of wines that would complement a wide range of foods. The following selections (two white and two red wines) would be a welcome addition to your provisions on your next outing.
WHITE WINES ~
GRYPHUS SAUVIGNON BLANC, CHILE
Gryphus is named after an ancient mythological creature with the body of a lion and the head and talons of an eagle. This extremely pleasant and satisfying Sauvignon Blanc comes from the Valle de Rapel in the Central Valley Region of Chile. The hand selected fruit is harvested exclusively from the hillside and mountain top vineyards, 2,000 feet above sea level. This micro-climate is heavily influenced by the Andes Mountains and cooling breezes from the Pacific Ocean. A long cool growing season at this elevation allows the fruit to gently ripen and achieving a flavorful complexity. Each of the Sauvignon Blanc lots is fermented separately by renowned winemaker Andreas Caballero. Hands nurtured and carefully crafted, the final blends are assembled to insure a delicious layered fruit complexity and consistency with each vintage. Gryphus brings Chilean white wines to a new level! This wine competes favorably with high quality wines of pedigree and reputation and provides an alternative to escalating prices for California and New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc.
DESCRIPTION: Made from 100% Sauvignon Blanc, bright and vigorous with a full ripe mouth feel and balanced fruit aromas, possessing a zippy, zingy acidity and pleasant minerality. The wine is clean and fragrant with flavors of pineapple, peach, pear and tropical fruit.
FOOD: Consume as an aperitif or with Asian inspired dishes, sushi, delicate sauces, grilled fish and chicken.
*APPROXIMATE RETAIL RANGE: $8.00 to $10.00 per bottle.
VINHAS ALTAS VINHO VERDE, PORTUGAL
Portugal is most well-known for Port. Also as of late, dry red wines that are made from the same grape varieties that are used for Port have become very popular. Vinho Verde is a light and fresh style of wine made in a region in the north of Portugal. Although this suggestion is white, wines from this area can be red or rose also. Vinhas Altas comes from a Quinta (single estate) in the Vinho Verde region of Portugal. Enoport, the producer of Vinhas Altas owns several single estates in the prime production areas of Portugal and the fruit for this Vinho Verde comes from the best quality vineyards. Vinhas Altas employs a unique and special advanced technology that utilizes a process called “dessulfitador”. This involves freezing the must right after harvest and unfreezing of the juice for each vintage. The process preserves the youthful and fresh characteristics, ensuring vibrant aromas and a crisp refreshing taste profile. Vinhas Altas is one of only two wineries in Portugal utilizing this very special technology. Vinho Verde can be served as an aperitif of will complement lighter dishes. Pinot Grigio fans will enjoy this special wine.
DESCRIPTION: Made from a combination of Arinto, Loureiro and Trajadura grape varieties. The wine is clear and brilliant with greenish tones. It is delicate and fruity with flavors reminiscent of pitted fruit possessing a tropical subtlety. Slightly herbaceous, fresh and clean with citrus and white pulp nuances.
FOOD:Mediterranean, Chinese and Japanese cuisine – light dishes and grilled fish.
*APPROXIMATE RETAIL RANGE: $8.00 to $10.00 per bottle.
RED WINES ~
CAMINO DEL INCA MALBEC, ARGENTINA
Malbec has gained a considerable following and is the current rage in America. Malbec seems to be the new Merlot and consumers enjoy the approachability and soft flavor profile of this variety. The majority of what has been available for general distribution has been from Mendoza, in the central portion of Argentina’s wine production area. However, Inca (named for the ancient civilization that once ruled this area) is located in Salta-Cafayate in the Calchaqui area in the extreme north – one thousand kilometers north of Mendoza. The grapes grow high in the Andes Mountains, 6,000 feet above sea level and the vines are nourished be pure snow-melt of the Andes winters. The altitude (these are some of the highest vineyards in the world) provides pure unadulterated sunlight, a cool climate and a long gentle growing season. These factors give the grapes a unique, distinctive and more concentrated flavor profile. The winery founded in 1870 and has been producing quality since its inception.
DESCRIPTION: 100% Malbec from hand harvest fruit, with a structure and acidity of Bordeaux. Rich and flavorful but easy-drinking, gracefully balanced, pleasant ripeness, robust red fruits, plums, raspberries, blackberries with a hints of licorice and earth and, a lingering sweet tannin finish.
FOOD: Grilled meats – hamburgers, sausages and brats.
*APPROXIMATE RETAIL RANGE: $7.00 TO $9.00 per bottle.
PAUL JABOULET COTE DU RHONE “PARALLELE 45”, FRANCE
The Jaboulet family is one of the most respected wine families in all of France. They have been producing wines with pride and passion and for almost two centuries in the Rhone Valley. The enduring quality and high esteem is a result of a constant and consistent pursuit of meticulous vineyard management and winemaking excellence. Paul Jaboulet Aine produces a full complement of exceptional wines from most ranges, domains and appellations in the Northern and in the Southern Rhone. One of my personal favorite wines from Paul Jaboulet is: Hermitage “La Chappelle”, Grand Cru.
This Cotes du Rhone takes its name from the 45th parallel that runs through the cellars of Maison Paul Jaboulet. The proprietary wine has been produced since 1950. Parallele 45 is a genuine, quality oriented reflection of the appellation. This wine will surprise and please!
DESCRIPTION: Produced from 60% Grenache and 40% Syrah using controlled temperature fermentation and matured stainless steel tanks. The wine posses a deep, attractive brilliance, it is well-structured, round, flavorful and elegant with an aromatic red fruit and a spicy finish.
FOOD: Grilled and roasted meats – flavorful cheeses
*APPROXIMATE RETAIL RANGE: $10.00 TO $12.00 per bottle.
Considering stock available in the U.S. market, there can be different vintages available different markets. Search for recent, fresh vintages (2010 & 2011 whites / 2009 & 2010 reds) of the above mentioned wines.
I am not purposely avoiding wines from America. There is a plethora of fine quality wines produced in this country and I will be covering a number of them in future posts. But for this contribution, I thought you might find few imported wines interesting and compelling. I am confident that you will enjoy these selections at home or on your next camping excursion.