Sidónio de Sousa 2009 Baga – Bairrada, Portugal

100% Baga. A traditionally fermented Portuguese table wine, fermented in clay ancas with traditional maceration (i.e. trodden). Crushed cherries and violets on the nose. Chocolaty, velvety body with red fruit and a hint of vanilla flavors. Tough, Portuguese tannins give it a lot of structure. Faint slate and coffee notes on the finish. I picked this up at Brooklyn Wine Exchange for around $35-40. Solid, but I won’t buy it again at that price point. The M2, which we drank along with it, kicked its ass thoroughly. In fact, this wine and its Robert Parker 92 point rating is the poster child for why I started this blog: meaningless ratings by people who have sold their name to producers.

  • Rating: Impressive
  • Name: 2009 Baga
  • Winery: Sidónio de Sousa 
  • Region: Bairrada
  • Country: Portugal
  • Varietals: 100% Baga
  • Price: $35-40
  • Where to Buy: Brooklyn Wine Exchange, 138 Court St, Brooklyn, NY 11201

M2 de Matallana 2011 – Ribera del Duero, Spain

img_3643The nose smells exactly like blackberries. Blackberries. Like blackberry pie. It evens out a bit with some slate and vanilla notes as it opens. A luscious, voluptuous and generous wine. Strong, percolating vanilla, black fruit, and salty stone notes and a great mouthfeel. The tannins pull together in just the right way, at just the right time. It is amazing with pata negra jamón and valdeon cheese. I picked this one up in San Sebastián and am so glad I did. Just a lovely wine. For around 20-25 euros – I will find this one again.

  • Rating: Stunning
  • Name: M2 de Matallana 2011
  • Winery: Vinos Telmo Robriguez
  • Region: Ribera del Duero
  • Country: Spain
  • Varietals: Tempranillo
  • Price: 20-25 EUR
  • Where to Buy: N/A

Menut 2013 – Priorat, Spain

img_3648Chocolate, cherry, and raspberry on the nose. Cocoa and tart berry pie flavors and tight, tannic mouthfeel. This is a big beast of a wine. Gorgeous and effervescent (figuratively, not literally). Musty leather and tobacco come together with muscular tannins to make a full body that’s better when slightly warmer than I normally drink a red – right at 70-72 Fahrenheit. Goes great with just about anything, but particularly robust and rich Spanish hams or paella. I picked this one up at Astor in SoHo NYC for around $20-24, and will do so again.

  • Rating: Impressive
  • Name: Menut 2013
  • Winery: Clos Martinet
  • Region: Priorat
  • Country: Spain
  • Varietals: Grenache and Merlot
  • Price: $20-$24
  • Where to Buy: Astor Wines & Spirits*, 399 Lafayette St., New York, NY 10003

*The 2013 isn’t available online, but the 2014 can be purchased via this link.

Castillo de Anna Gran Reserva 2005 – Valencia, Spain

This has all the hallmarks of a classic Spanish wine: flowers and red fruit on the nose, dark, chocolaty, leathery, and mossy notes with tight tannins on the finish. For whatever reason – perhaps in the traditional style – the bottle tells nothing about the varietals. I picked this one up at Schneider’s of Capitol Hill in DC for $15.

  • Rating: Everyday Reds
  • Name: Gran Reserva 2005
  • Winery: Castillo de Anna
  • Region: Valencia
  • Country: Spain
  • Varietals: N/A
  • Price: $15
  • Where to Buy: Schneider’s of Capitol Hill, 300 Massachusetts Ave NE, Washington, DC 20002