Udaca 2010 from Dao, Portugal
Americans refer to wines by the grape, while Europeans refer to them by the place the grapes were grown. We say syrah; they say Côte Rôtie (which could have more than syrah grapes). Some people are surprised that these wines are blends, especially ones we’ve been drinking (Bordeaux) for centuries. It’s like a recipe. A cook uses different ingredients to balance a dish on many levels: Appearance, flavors, textures, and temperature all play a part. The winemaker is doing the same thing with blends. Different grapes add different components to the final glass. Selection from North Loop Wines & Spirits, 218 Washington Ave. N., Mpls., 612-338-5393, northloopwine.com
Udaca 2010 (Dao, Portugal) $12.99
Blend of touriga nacional, alfrocheiro, tinta-ririz, and jean
This rich and robust wine is blended to be a complex and full-bodied jaw-dropper. Dao is the wine region between the cities of Lisbon and Porto. High elevations lead to low yields and intense fruit. These are the unrecognizable grapes of Porto, but in this form, the wine is made to be dry with no sugar left after fermentation. The flavors are crazy and never-ending: cherry, tobacco, chocolate, black licorice, cedar, and even a bit of bacon, just to name a few.
Famille Perrin Châteauneuf-du-Pape 2010 (Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Rhone Valley, France) $54.99
Blend of mostly grenache, syrah, and mourvèdre
Châteauneuf means “new castle” and du Pape means “of the Pope.” The ruins of a 13th-century castle sit in the center of this little village, built by Pope John XXII. The wines still often bear the papal crown and Saint Peter’s keys. Blended out of the largest variety of grapes found in any one wine region in the world, these wines are collectible and envied. The classic pairing of leg of lamb is justified by its noble pedigree.
Bill Coy runs Vintage U, which organizes wine tastings, classes, and events for corporate groups, wine enthusiasts, and the general public. Reach him at VintageU@msn.com.