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Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Isn't it time to think about $10 and under summer wines? by Philip S. Kampe





Spring has sprung, as they say. Flowers are growing. The cherry trees are in full bloom.
For many, the outdoor season has begun.

This is the time of year that I look for the summer wines I will serve to our endless crop of summer guests. The wines I look for are like the ‘wines by the glass’ at restaurants and wine bars.

We live year round in two locations, the mountainous and cultural Berkshires of western Massachusetts and on the 26th floor of an apartment overlooking the Hudson River, directly opposite the 79th street boat basin in Manhattan.

In Massachusetts, we entertain in our backyard or in the back porch.
In New Jersey, our 20 foot balcony serves the purpose.

As you know, I am originally from New Orleans and love to cook. My wife’s family is from the Isle of Capri, where they love to eat and drink.
Food and wine is often our focus.

In my search for the perfect summer wine that retails at $10 or under,.I generally look for wines from countries that have international grapes, few tannins, fresh, crisp and fruit forward.
Wines, as I mentioned earlier that can be served by the glass.

Ironically, this year, I didn’t look too far.
I found my sacred summer wine in record time. The name of the wine that I found is ‘Decopas’, when translated into Argentine slang, ‘Decopas’ means ‘by the glass’.

The tradition in Argentina, as in many countries, is that after the conclusion of a work day, Happy Hour begins. Argentinians have their own expression for Happy Hour, which is, ‘De copes’ or by the glass.

At roughly $10 a bottle plus a 20% case discount, Decopas could cost as little as $8  a bottle.
That translates into a summer of enjoyment with a small investment.

The two wines I chose are from Decopas and harvested in Mendoza, Argentina.
Decopas 2014 Sauvignon Blanc: This wonderful white wine is made solely from the Sauvignon Blanc grape. It is fermented in stainless steel. The grapes are hand harvested. Alcohol content is 13.1%.
The color of the wine is clear with a golden hue. The aromas of grapefruit and melon are followed by floral overtones. My mouth lit up due its crisp, fresh minerality that lingered on my palate. Add a faint earthy quality to this wine and dollar for dollar this is a true value wine.
You may ask why I chose a Sauvignon Blanc from Argentina? Think about the alluvial soils, high altitude at the base of the Andes and its geographic location. Those are a couple of reason why I chose this wine.

The red wine I chose is the 2014 Decopas Malbec. Fresh, fruity and straight forward is how I would characterize this velvety wine. Its medium body and smooth mouth feel makes this acidic wine a perfect food wine. The grapes are hand harvested and aged for four months in stainless steel. The alcohol content is 13.5%.
This is a great value wine and a wine that can be served day after day. Maybe that’s called a ‘go to wine’?

Hopefully, these recommendations will work for you, as they did for me. It’s time to get a jump on summer before all of the good summer wines are gone.

Philip S. Kampe



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