Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Drinking Outside the Box

There’s a great article in today’s New York Times Food Section on the Mencía-based reds of Spain’s Bierzo region. The timing couldn’t be better: In my last post, I wrote about a spice dinner I recently attended in Philadelphia, and one of the wine highlights was from Bierzo--Castro Ventosa’s El Castro de Valtuille Mencía 2005.

Two things strike me as noteworthy here. First, that Spain has, yet again, distinguished itself with a grape and a region that, until just a few short years ago, few but the most ardent wine geeks had ever really heard of. And second, that given the economic climate of the times, it’s being driven home yet again that you don’t need to spend a lot of money to have a truly memorable wine experience.

For great value and tremendous flavor from Spain, I cannot recommend Albariño from the Rias Baixas region highly enough. From Portugal, look for dry reds from Alentejo, in the south of the country. Dry Furmint from Hungary, if you can find it, is both charming and intellectually rewarding. Austrian reds like Zweigelt, Blaufränkisch, and St. Laurent are among the most exciting in the world right now.

The point is this: By thinking and drinking outside your accustomed box, you’re likely to not only find great value, but truly remarkable wine, too.


Unknown on March 22, 2009 at 8:44 PM said...

Man that looks gorgeous

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