Jun 08 2010

World Cup Wines: First Half

The World Cup starts on Friday, and in addition to showcasing countries with world-class soccer (or football… or fútbol) teams, many of the participants are two-way players—they also create world-class wines.

Of the 32 countries in the tournament, at least 15 produce wines known around the world, and a few others (Slovenia, for example) have been making wine for centuries, but are just starting to gain attention on a global scale.

Here at Just Grapes, we’ve highlighted some of our favorites to pair with the countries you’re rooting for (or against) over the next month, and because there are so many to feature, we’ll break them down into a handful (not handball) of postings. Today, we start with:

ArgentinaArgentina – A Malbec as breathtaking as a Lionel Messi “golazo”:

2007 Mendel Malbec, Lujan de Cuyo, Mendoza Argentina [$21.59]

Mendel’s 2007 Malbec was sourced from a 45-acre parcel of 80-year-old vines in Lujan de Cuyo and aged for 12 months in French oak. Purple-colored, it displays an alluring bouquet of cedar, spice box, violets, and black cherry. Medium-bodied and elegant on the palate, it has plenty of savory fruit, cinnamon and allspice notes, excellent depth and concentration, and a fruit-filled finish. 90 Pts – Robert Parker

ItalyItaly – A Chianti worthy of the defending World Cup champs:

2005 Casalvento Chianti Classico, Tuscany, Italy [$19.99]

Fabulous, classy aromas of crushed berries, strawberry and cherry. Full-bodied, with wonderfully polished tannins and subtle yet generous fruit character. This is all in balance. What a Chianti Classico should be. Best from 2010 through 2015. Only 200 cases imported.

FranceFrance – No ifs, ands, or head-butts about this Bordeaux blend:

2006 Chateau de Braude Haut Medoc, Bordeaux France [$23.19]

A blend of 70% Cabernet Sauvignon and 30% Merlot, it is dark ruby garnet in color and displays complex aromas of blackcurrants, violets, leather and tobacco. On the palate, it boasts highly concentrated black fruit flavors, supple mouth feel, firm tannic structure and a long finish. Château de Braude is part of the superb estate of Château Mongravey but has a different name because it is located in the Haut Médoc AOC.

PortugalPortugal – Finishes a meal like Cristiano Ronaldo finishes goalies:

Fonseca Bin No.27, Port, NV, Portugal, 750ml [$17.99]

Fonseca Bin No. 27 was created over a century ago for family consumption, and only released commercially in 1972. It is produced primarily from wines from Fonseca’s own quintas in the Cima Corgo and thus shows an exceptional quality and consistency from year to year.

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