You read it right. Louis Roederer, the house that is most famous for its high-end Cristal Champagne, also makes beautiful reds and whites in Portugal. Their winery is called Ramos Pinto Cellars and they are located just outside of Porto in the Douro region of Northern Portugal. They are one of the most reputable producers of the Port desert wine, but Ramos also make traditional reds and whites.

We selected a bottle of Bons Ares, 2006 from Ramos Pinto to go with our seafood at 1 De Maio restaurant in Lisbon. The wine is made of the indigenous varieal of Viozinho and Sauvignon Blanc. It has a golden color, quite aromatic, hints of cinnamon, baked apples and a fairly heavy weight on the finish. It is perfect with seafood, even with spicy sauces as the acidity (perhaps from the Sauvignon Blanc?) is definitely present and cuts through the sauce. It is also a good value at about 6 euros a bottle in retail, which is quite a deal in Portugal. I wish I could get this wine elsewhere in Europe or in the US, I would likely get a case of it.

Name: Bons Ares Branco, Ramos Pinto, 2006

Rating: 8 out of 10

Body: Medium to Full

Price: 12 euros (in restaurant), 6 euros retail

Got it at: 1 De Maio restaurant, Bairro Alto district, Lisbon, Portugal

Bons Ares Branco, Ramos Pinto, 2006

What the hell?!

October 31, 2007

That is exactly what I said when I saw this bottle at the airport in Thessaloniki, Greece a couple of months ago. First of all the bottle stuck out like a sore thumb from about 50 other wines. I never buy wines at airports because I simply do not trust the taste of the wine buyer and the deals are just not there. Eying the bottle I was going back and forth but at the end I gave in. I hate marketers, how can they convert a poor victim like me who knows well enough that the product sucks into a buyer? And the wine is a Sauvignon Blanc. A SavBlanc from Greece? Give me a break.

So I opened the wine a few days ago as we did not have more whites at home and we needed a white to go with dinner. To be reasonably nice, the wine was drinkable. If you had whites from Greece, imagine a light Santorini crossed with a fruity California Chardonnay. I know, I know, nothing could be further from each other in taste, but still, bear with me. The wine was fruity with definite SavBlanc characteristic, but it was really empty in the acidity department. Something did not hold it together. Drinkable, but not exciting. Tastes exactly what you would expect a Greek Sauvignon Blanc to taste.

As you would expect from looking at the bottle, the glass is worth more than the juice inside. Also, as you would expect from the bottle, it is way overpriced. The bottle is cool and I will keep it around as a souvenir.

Name: Esthitos Sauvignon Blanc, 2006

Rating: 6.5 out of 10

Body: Medium

Price: approx. 16 euros

Got it at: Thessaloniki Airport, Greece

Esthitos Sauvignon Blanc, 2006