Sometimes while exploring a batch of wine samples, certain themes will emerge around regions or grapes or styles. At other times, it’s more like opening under the tree a diversity of presents sent by different relatives and friends.
So here, in no particular order, is my holiday grab bag of recently released wines:
2012 Esporão Monte Velho Alentejano red ($10). I had lunch recently in New York with Esporão winemaker David Baverstock, and he is continuing to lead this growing Portuguese producer in its development of both top-of-the-line and entry-level wines, which are well represented in the American market. This entry-level red is an excellent food wine with tangy, juicy cherry flavors balanced by mineral notes, good acidity, and moderate tannins.
2012 Esporão Monte Velho Alentejano white ($10). This is a ripe and fruity wine, lightly minty and a bit heavy on the palate. It should pair well with a Portuguese seafood stew.
2012 La Battistina Gavi ($16). From the cortese grape, this northeast Italian white has a soft fruitiness of creamy apples and baking spices with a crisp, minerally finish.
2010 Tintarra McLaren Vale shiraz ($18). A simple yet pleasurable wine with mellow, but not rich, creamy raspberry and mulberry fruit.
2010 Tintarra Mclaren Vale cabernet sauvignon ($16). A straightforward cab with carbon-tinged edges, dark cherry flavors, a savory note or two, and modest tannins.
2012 Tramin Alto Adige "Nussbaumer" gewürztraminer ($36). Quite spicy with lots of pepper, but floral and juicy as well and in good balance.
2012 Rocca Sveva Soave Classico ($13). With 100 percent garganega grapes, this is a very forthcoming wine with green apple fruitiness, good body, and nice finish.
NV Mionetto Treviso prosecco ($13). Very good bubbly with nice intensity, firm apple flavors, good minerality, and a clean, crisp finish. For this group, this is my Pick of the Litter.
2011 Poliziano rosso di Montepulciano ($15). Warm, rounded berry and cherry flavors with a touch of toffee — full with mellow oak, light tannins, and good balance.
2011 Poliziano vino nobile di Montepulciano ($28). The upscale and more exciting version of this sangiovese-based wine — full cherry flavors, toasty oak, and moderate tannins.