While most wine released through Vintages is in limited supply, the Essentials line is a permanent collection, available year-round at even the dinkiest and dodgiest of liquor stores.
Crasto Douro 2010, $14.95
From Portugal’s Douro region, this bottle is made from the same grapes (four varietals) as Port. Try with grilled lamb chops.
Ponce notes: “With ripe plum, dried fig, and dark chocolate, the bouquet screams like Ronaldo after a big goal. It’s rich, layered, and full-bodied, while a firm backbone of acidity keeps everything in check.”
PONCE PICK: Louis Jadot Chardonnay Bourgogne 2010, $18.95
While Burgundy’s 2010 vintage was a little hard on the reds, it was a banner year for whites. This is the perfect pour at a lobster boil.
Ponce notes: “Showing butterscotch and pineapple on the nose, vibrant acidity on the palate, and well-integrated oak, this beautifully balanced white will mollify the most ardent of Chardonnay haters.”
Torres Gran Coronas Cabernet Sauvignon Reserva 2008, $18.95
Founded in 1870 by Jaime and Miguel Torres, this winery is based in Penedès, just south of Barcelona. Try with skirt-steak tacos.
Ponce notes: “While it offers plenty of the dark-fruit character, there are intriguing layers of leather and spice, with lively acidity. It’s a refreshing change from monochromatic New World Cabs.”