Whittling down 35 or more wines down to three favorites is an art and science. That is what we did at a recent wine tasting at Morton’s in Fort Lauderdale that featured wines representing multiple varietals and regions. We tried just about all of them, initially narrowing down our preferences to about eight, but then we ultimately landed on our top three faves to whom we wanted to give a shout out.
Luckily, our choices also were on the lower to moderate price range of Morton’s menu. For a reasonably priced experience at Morton’s, hit the bar at happy hour and order a few bar bites. And check one of these out.
Juan Gil 18 Meses Blue Label
This Spanish blend, which spends 18 months in oak barrels, contains 60% Monastrell, 30% Cabernet, and 10% Syrah. Monastrell is the same grape as Mourvèdre, so it was no wonder this wine topped the list for me. The color turned my teeth and tongue purple, but who cares when you’re drinking something this good! It was definitely more fruit than booze in terms of texture and flavor. The fruit was of the blackberry variety and quite concentrated. It also had a bit of spice with a lengthy finish. Hailing from the Jumilla DO in Spain, the Blue Label has a little brother, the Juan Gil Silver, which is 100% Monastrell. That one is on my wish list to try, and it is a bargain based on the research I have done (~$15).
Niner Wine Estates, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2012
Seeing this wine at the tasting brought back memories of a visit to Niner in 2010 on a Paso Robles wine tasting trip. If I recall right, they had recently opened and we knew nothing about the winery, but we were drawn in by a very unique, intriguing element: a heart-shaped hill. Looking back in my cellar tracker, I see that we purchased the 2007 Sangiovese on that visit. But tonight, we tasted the 2012 vintage of Niner’s estate grown Cab. In a word, it’s simply luscious! It gives any Napa Cab a run for it’s money.
Pulenta Gran Corte VII Red 2011
Argentinian wines seem to continue to top our list of recent favorites. From the Mendoza region of Argentina, this blend incorporates Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petit Verdot and Tannat. The Tannat gives the wine a beautiful deep color, and predominant notes are dark fruit and spice.