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Wine Review: Add wine to Cinco de Mayo celebrations

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With the ever-increasing Hispanic presence in this country, Cinco de Mayo, the fifth of May, has become a popular holiday in the United States.

The holiday celebrates Mexico's victory over the French at the Battle of Puebla in 1862. Even though the day celebrates a Mexican occurrence, it has become an opportunity to party among Americans of Hispanic origin. Where there is partying, there must surely be wine, and for Cinco de Mayo, that wine should also be of Hispanic origin.

Fortunately for Spanish-speaking people and to the benefit of all wine drinkers, wine has been an integral part of Hispanic culture for centuries. All of the Spanish-speaking nations of the world produce prodigious amounts of excellent wines which we here, whether of Hispanic origin or not, are also able to enjoy.

In an attempt to assist wine enthusiasts for Cinco de Mayo, I recently sampled some nice and affordable wines.

Vilarnau Brut Reserva ($16)
Among the well-made and affordable sparkling wines are the cavas from Spain, most of which come from the area around Barcelona. There, the warm breezes from the Mediterranean keep an almost constant temperature in the vineyards, making for better wine grapes and thus good wines. This wine has been made in the classical sparkling wine method of fermentation in the bottle it will be sold in. The blend is very Spanish, comprising 50% macabeo, 35% parellada and 15% xarel-lo grapes. This wine can easily compete with wines selling for three or four times its price in its quality and enjoyment. This wine presents the aromas and flavors of apple and pear in a citrus background, which continues to the finish.

Vilarnau Brut Reserva Rose Delicat ($17)
A rose sparkling wine made from 85% garnacha and 15% pinot noir, this affordable, fruity wine offers the aroma of red berries that meld with citrus and a noticeable strawberry and brioche element in the finish. This wine presents the eye with a beautiful pink color as it is poured into the glass. I believe that this wine will help to make any Cinco de Mayo celebration a certain hit. As a finishing touch, this wine is presented in attractively decorated bottles.

Veramonte 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon Reserva ($22)
To find a decent cabernet sauvignon for under $50 is a rarity and for it to be of quality, a virtual impossibility. The Veramonte 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon Reserva has achieved the impossible; the wine is superb. Here again is a perfect example of what can be gained from Andean Mountain water. This deep ruby, medium-bodied wine presents a clean and open aroma of spice, black currants, vanilla and soft oak. There are no harsh tannins in this wine, so it is ready to be enjoyed right now without any further aging. Another quality point is the finish, which is very long and complex.

Ritual Organic Pinot Noir 2019 ($20)
The grapes for this wine come from the heart of Chile's Casablanca Valley, where the cooler climate allows the grapes to develop slowly and the fruit to have concentrated flavors. The flavor development on the vine coupled with the careful selection of the grapes in the field, results in a pinot noir of classical dimensions. This very nice wine exhibits a broad spectrum of flavors, with cherries, plums and wild summer berries being the most prominent. There are also many other flavors lying in the background, with oak and an earthy mushroom being the most obvious. I enjoyed this wine and would put it up against similar wines selling for many times its price.

Wine columnist Bennet Bodenstein can be reached at frojhe1@att.net.

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