As the nights cool down near summer’s end, wine lovers transition from white to red. Here is some vino tinto from Vintages to enjoy at a long-weekend ’cue.
Sampietrana Vigna delle Monache Riserva Salice Salentino 2006, $15.95
Hailing from Puglia, near the heel of Italy’s “boot,” this brooding bottle is made from Negroamaro, which translates to “black bitter.” Open with spicy Italian sausages.
Ponce notes: “The nose reveals a gentlemanly musk of raisins, cinnamon, and dark Lindt chocolate. On the palate, it has the muscular body of a weightlifter with the unwavering balance of a gymnast.”
Gérard Bertrand St. Chinian Syrah/Mourvèdre 2009, $16.95
This blend hails from the village of St. Chinian in France’s southern Languedoc region. Pair with garlic-rubbed lamb chops.
Ponce notes: “The bouquet of plums, cassis, licorice, and rosemary is like an oenological aromatherapy session. It then seduces the tongue with dark fruits, bittersweet chocolate, and freshly cracked pepper.”
Quinta de Ventozelo Touriga Nacional 2008, $18.95
This robust red from northern Portugal is made with Touriga Nacional, one of the main grapes used in Port production. Try with thick, charred steaks.
Ponce notes: “The combination of dried fruit and cedar-y oak feels a bit like eating a bowl of prunes in a sauna. Despite the wine’s concentration and heft, it’s still light on its feet with lively acidity.”