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Planalto Vinho Branca Seco Reserva 2016,

Douro Val­ley, Por­tu­gal $15.99 I 87/100

UPC: 5601012115505

A sim­ple, pleas­ant, less-is­more white with fresh­ness to beat the band. Cit­rus, apri­cot, nec­tarine notes dot the palate with bits of green ap­ple in the fresh back end. It’s a mix of sev­eral indige­nous va­ri­eties and is as fun to drink solo as it is with food. Real wine for wine lovers. Per­fect with a mid-week, bar­be­cued chicken din­ner. No need to dwell on the vios­inho, mal­va­sia fina, gou­veio, ar­into, códega, ra­bi­gato and mus­ca­tel blend, just buy it.

Trivento Golden Re­serve Mal­bec 2016, Lu­ján de Cuyo, North­ern Re­gion, Men­doza, Ar­gentina

$23.99 I 89/100

UPC: 7798039590625

The nose is an at­trac­tive mix of flo­rals and dark fruit with a touch of licorice. The at­tack is silky smooth sug­gest­ing an al­most hyp­notic bal­ance through­out. On the palate the fruit is cool and peppery with bits of anise, blue­ber­ries, to­bacco and dark blue­berry with a touch of medicine chest. Solid value and a wine made for beef.

Tor­maresca Trentan­geli Cas­tel del Monte Or­ganic 2015, Puglia, Italy $17.99 I 90/100

UPC: 8026530000862

A ter­rific year in Italy has re­sulted in a very fine Cas­tel del Monte red. It’s a 70/20/10 mix of aleatico / Caber­net Sau­vi­gnon / Syrah. The nose is an en­tic­ing fra­grant mix of vi­o­lets and ripe dark fruit aro­mas — a ver­ti­cal Bru­ci­ato. The at­tack is full bodied and fresh, fea­tur­ing sweetly spiced black rasp­berry and licorice with a streak of anise and dried herbs. The savoury, earthy notes re­ally con­trib­ute to the mix, giv­ing the wine a com­plex per­son­al­ity made for lamb osso buco. Drink or hold through 2023. Back up the truck.

Siduri Pinot Noir Wil­lamette Val­ley 2016, Wil­lamette Val­ley, Ore­gon, U.S. $44.99 | 91/100

UPC: 877591002245

I have don’t have a long his­tory with this Ore­gon Pinot that has been made for over two decades, but this is a qual­ity drop of wine. It’s a ter­rific vin­tage and us­ing a di­verse mix of vine­yards has wo­ven a de­li­cious com­plex­ity into this hum­ble Pinot. This red/ black fruit jumps from the glass with a silky svelte­ness we don’t see in Cal­i­for­nia. Flow­ers, min­er­als, for­est floor and de­li­ciously sour cherry fruit en­tice your palate with ev­ery sip. The fin­ish is equally im­pres­sive with in­tense, long last­ing flavours that linger for­ever.

Fon­seca Terra Prima Or­ganic Re­serve Port N/V, Douro Val­ley, Por­tu­gal $25.00 I 89/100

UPC: 005013521101908

All the rain this week got me think­ing about open­ing a bot­tle of sip­ping port to carry me through the month. Af­ter that I was think­ing cer­ti­fied or­ganic might be fun and that led me to re­visit the Fon­seca Terra Prima or­ganic right down to the spirit used in its for­ti­fi­ca­tion. The style is drier and firmer than most ruby ports and who doesn’t like a bit of com­plex­ity in the glass. The at­tack is still sweet, mix­ing mo­lasses, caramel, sweet cas­sis jam, pep­per and pipe to­bacco. Per­fect on its own, with oven-warmed al­monds or some early Christ­mas cake.

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