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2013 Monte Velho Red Blend 

Alentejano, Portugal

Retail $10-$13

Monte Velho is quickly becoming one of Portugal's best selling wine exports to the U.S. This inexpensive wine is produced by Herdade do Esporao at its estate in Alentejo, one of the country's best-known wine regions — though many of the area's grapes are not familiar to the American market. The area stretches from the outskirts of Lisbon south to the Algarve region, which borders the Mediterranean. Most of the vines are more than 15 years old and they dig into soils dominated by granite and schist, which results in a slate quality to the wine. The wine is comprised of 40 percent aragones (tempranillo), 35 percent trincadeira (more famous as a red grape used in Port), 20 percent touriga nacional and 5 percent Syrah, and it's exposed to American oak. The wine offers abundant floral aromas. On the palate, taste lush red fruit, blackberry, toasty notes and finely textured tannins. Decant 30 minutes before serving. Drink it with charcuterie, pizza, grilled meats, barbecue, pasta dishes, firm cheeses and Mediterranean fare. Buy it at: Martin Wine Cellar, Whole Foods Market on N. Broad Street and Rouses on N. Carrollton Avenue and at 2900 Veterans Memorial Boulevard in Metairie. Drink it at: Mimi's in the Marigny.


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