In May, The International Wine of the Month Club’s Premier Series is pleased to offer four exciting and unique wines from Portugal and South Africa, beginning with the thoroughly gratifying 2020 S. Sebastião Vinho Regional Lisboa Syrah/Touriga Nacional Reserva. This exciting blend of Syrah and Portugal’s special variety Touriga Nacional offers an inviting, deeply colored robe, an engaging set of aromatics, and plenty of smooth, satisfying red and black fruit flavors. Black cherry and woodland berry flavors infused with hints of exotic spices and a refreshing minerality delight the nose and palate. Smooth, polished tannins hold this tasty red blend in perfect stead from start to finish. In fact, the 2020 S. Sebastião Syrah/Touriga Nacional Reserva slips ever so gracefully down the throat to the point that you may find yourself consuming it with abandon. Enjoy!
Our next Premier Series feature is the beautiful 2022 Protea Chenin Blanc from the Anthonij Rupert Wyne estate on South Africa’s Western Cape. As any serious wine drinker knows, one can’t drink a label, nor should one purchase wine based on the attractiveness of a label. With that said, the label on Protea’s 2022 Chenin Blanc may be the world’s most attractive, as it captures the pure beauty of South Africa’s national flower as well as South Africa’s gorgeous wine lands. Moreover, the 2022 Protea Chenin Blanc is pure, beautiful Chenin Blanc, offering a fresh, in-your-face, fruit-driven nose, with a delightful mélange of apricot, nectarine, and quince, all of which made us want to dive right in. In the mouth, the wine’s aromatic fruit flavors re-emerge with added touches of grapefruit and lime. A hint of dried honey lends texture to the wine’s succulent fruit, while vibrant acidity makes the dry 2022 Protea Chenin Blanc dazzle straight through to the finish. So refreshing and fun to drink, we found it hard to put this wine down.
May’s next exceptional offering is the delicious 2020 Protea Cabernet Sauvignon. Like its paler sibling, Chenin Blanc, it also wears what is arguably the wine world’s most attractive label, but one can’t drink a label. Fortunately, what is inside the package is equally pleasing. Deep in color and resplendent in aroma and flavor, the 2020 Protea Cabernet Sauvignon offers instant gratification. Savory dark fruits in the form of black currant, cherry, and plum, which are deftly infused with hints of Christmas spices and wood smoke, greet the nose and grace the palate. Big in flavor but supple in texture, Protea’s 2020 Cabernet Sauvignon comes across as both succulent and beautifully framed as the wine’s tannins provide plenty of backbone without a tannic bite.
Completing May’s Premier Series offerings is the much heralded 2021 Rustenberg Stellenbosch Chardonnay (94 Points – International Wine & Spirits Competition, 92 Points – Decanter World Wine Awards, and more). This meticulously crafted Chardonnay combines the best of the Old World and New World to form a racy, complex, world-class Chardonnay. This balanced and nuanced Chardonnay sports a brilliant sun-struck color and offers enticing aromas of yellow apple, apricot, coconut, and orange peel, all imbued with a hint of spicy oak. In the mouth, Rustenberg’s 2021 Chardonnay is equally gratifying as it expands on the palate to satisfy the senses with a delicious mélange of fruit, spice, and minerals, which are carried on racy, refreshing acidity. Balanced, refined, and full of flavor, this classic Chardonnay makes many big name New World Chardonnays look awkward and flabby and an equal number of French white burgundies seem insipid and underendowed. The classic 2021 Rustenberg Stellenbosch Chardonnay deserves the many accolades it has received. Enjoy!
The International Wine of the Month Club’s Collectors Series is thrilled to offer in May three world-class wines from around the world, beginning with the exceptional 2019 Obsidian Ridge Estate Red Hills Cabernet Sauvignon (93 Points – Wine Enthusiast). Although drought can be a curse to farmers, it can also be a boon to the quality of a wine as drought has the propensity to limit the quantity but raise the quality. Such was the case in 2019 in Northern California as the concentrated and bold-flavored 2019 Obsidian Ridge Estate Red Hills Cabernet Sauvignon aptly attests. From this deep purple potion springs entrancing aromas of blackberry, black currant, mulberry, and a trove of spices – cinnamon, cardamom, and vanilla. In the mouth, a deep draught of black fruits, dark chocolate, graphite, and exotic spices explodes in the mouth, thoroughly captivating the palate. Brimming with flavor as well as firm, ripe tannins, the 2019 Obsidian Ridge Estate Cabernet Sauvignon reveals its class as well as its power, all of which make for delicious drinking now and for years to come. Enjoy!
Our next May Collectors Series offering hails from France’s Alsace, Emile Beyer’s 2020 Grand Cru Eichberg Riesling. Emile Beyer’s 2020 Grand Cru Eichberg Alsace is a dry, bold, mouthwatering wine with a captivating bouquet of orchard fruits, rich deep-down fruit flavors, and laser-like minerality, which completely captivate the nose and palate. In the mouth, bracing acidity gives way to a rich mid palate of pineapple and exotic fruit flavors before finishing with a flourish. The youthful 2020 Emile Beyer Grand Cru Eichberg Riesling is a joy to drink now, but it is no wilting flower. Additional time in the bottle will only increase its depth and breadth, but there is no need to wait: this is Riesling at its finest. Enjoy!
Rounding out this month’s Collectors Series is the highly regarded 2019 Herdade Aldeia de Cima Serra do Mendro Alentejo Reserva Tinto (92 Points – Wine Enthusiast) from Portugal’s Alentejo. Superbly crafted from four traditional Portuguese varietals, the 2019 Herdade Aldeia de Cima Serra do Mendro Alentejo Reserva Tinto cuts a fine figure with its brilliant deep ruby and purple color, heavenly aromatics, and pure silky flavors. Scents of ripe summer cherries and deep forest berries infused with vanilla oak waft from the glass. In the mouth, Herdade Aldeia de Cima’s 2019 Serra do Mendro Alentejo Reserva Tinto caresses the palate with pure fruit flavors imbued with deft touches of vanilla and aromatic spices, all of which are carried on silky smooth tannins, lending a creaminess to this medium-bodied wine as it makes its exit. Elegant, flavor-filled, and utterly distinguished, the youthful 2019 Herdade Aldeia de Cima Reserva Tinto exudes class and a real sense of purpose on the part of the winery. Santé!