Just Released: Wines From Portugal And Argentina

Portugal is increasingly becoming a source of diverse table wines, and Esporao in the Alentejo area is one of the most solid producers. Here are three from them plus one from Mendoza in Argentina.

The 2011 Esporao "V" Alentejo Verdelho ($13) is juicy, very fresh, very clean on the palate with hints of pears, a slightly creamy finish, and good acidity. A good wine as an aperitif or with simply prepared seafood.

The 2011 Esporao "Two Grapes" Alentejo (price not available) is made from one-half semillon and one-half viosinho and has big flavors without being a big wine — apples, citrus, creamy chalk. It would go well with Portugal's national salt cod dish, baccalau.

The 2011 Esporao Alentejo Riserva ($22) is a blend of red grapes — aragones, cabernet sauvignon, trincadeira, and alicante bouschet — and its lovely fruit flavors spread across the palate like butter across a hot skillet. Apple and tropical fruits dominate, and both walk the edge between being mellow or racy. Excellent with mild sausages.

And now from South America:

The 2011 Gran Lurton Mendoza Corte Friulano ($19) is a white blend chiefly made from a grape formerly known as tocai friulano, which was changed to avoid confusion with the Hungarian sweet wine, tokaji. This one is lightly sweet and fruity, and lightly savory — gamey and tangy. It would go well with chicken salad.