About Margot

Margot started writing about wine decades ago as a national journalist in Canada and the U.S. She and Dave created this website in 2007. Originally, the website introduced people to wines in Washington state, the second-largest wine region in the U.S. But over the years, the site expanded to feature other wine regions in the U.S., Canada, and in the world. If you like to read about standout wine and winery stories, then Write for Wine is for you.

So Many Words

So many words about L'Ecole 41We have so many words to describe the wines crafted at pioneering Washington state winery, L’Ecole 41. For example, words like opulent, magical, stunning, elegant, and more. However, most of all, when we think of L’Ecole, we are constantly impressed with their consistent high-quality wines. Year in and year out, L’Ecole wines stand out. We don’t know anyone who doesn’t rave about their lineup of refreshing whites and luscious reds. Their Spring 2024 releases continue that trend of outstanding wine from Walla Walla.

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South Africa Spring Wines

South Africa Spring WinesWe are delighted to experience South Africa spring wines with these five lovely bottles from four well-known producers. First, South Africa creates wine for every palate. For example, in the last few weeks, we discovered a stellar Helderberg Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon from Stellenboch. In addition, we poured a recent vintage of an old favorite, Stellenboch Cab Sauv from Stark-Condé. As well, we tasted new vintages of Lievland Sauvignon Blanc and Chenin Blanc. Finally, we enjoyed Pinotage from Southern Right. The two whites pair nicely with the deck on a warm spring afternoon. And the three reds are perfect for the start of BBQ season.

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Recent Canvasback Releases

Recent Canvasback ReleasesIf you’re looking for an exceptional glass of wine for that special occasion, look no further. All six of these recent Canvasback releases (three Cabernet Sauvignons, two Syrahs and a Malbec) are striking. But many other words also describe them, including sophisticated, polished, luscious, appealing, hedonistic and killer. Canvasback has it all. Duckhorn pioneers Dan and Margaret Duckhorn founded the winery in 2012, and named it after the Canvasback duck, native to the Pacific Flyway. Every winter, we are fortunate to see Canvasbacks in our little backyard lake. Each year, just like the duck, Canvasback wines soar.

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Esporao of PortugalWe tasted Esporão Reserva Red 2021 and Reserva White 2022 from Portugal for the first time, but it won’t be our last. Herdade do Esporão is Alentejo’s largest wine producer, and one of the biggest in Portugal. These wines are reasonably priced and widely distributed in the U.S. They are classics from a wine region known for its blends that are passed down and improved upon by generations of winemakers. Read on for notes on the two wines, and the Esporão story.

Esporão Story

The historic Herdade do Esporão estate is one of Portugal’s largest wine companies. The Roquette family owns Esporão, the biggest family-owned winery and vineyard in the Alentejo region. In addition, the estate includes vineyards in the Douro and Vinho Verde. And the history! Its boundaries have not changed since 1267.

However, in the past 30 years, Herdade do Esporão revitalized Alentejo’s wine industry, as a pioneer of sustainable agriculture. It also helped the wine region to open doors to overseas markets. Today, Esporão is widely distributed to 50 countries, including the U.S.

Specifically, the portfolio here comprises about 25 reds, whites, rosés and port. Prices range from $10 to $300 a bottle, pleasing both the occasional drinker and the wine geeks.

In 1997, Herdade do Esporão was the first winery in Alentejo to welcome visitors. These days, the estate is on the World Wine Route. More than 20,000 wine lovers visit each year. They also enjoy Esporão’s wine bar and green-star Michelin restaurant.

Subsequently, as of 2019, all 1,317 acres of the Herdade do Esporão estate are certified organic, one of the biggest organic wineries in the world.

Instead of chemicals and pesticides, the bats, birds, and flocks of sheep, with help from some smart sheepdogs, take care of much of the vineyard health and maintenance.

The Roquette family’s first wine is Esporão Reserva, produced in 1985. In recent years, there has been a move to dial back the oak, as well as focus on the area’s traditional style of blending grape varieties versus vinifying single variety wines.

Reserva White 2022 ($23)

Esporão Reserva White 2022Esporão Reserva White 2022 features an elegant, rich and substantial mouthfeel – so substantial, you could drink it without food, as an apéritif or on the deck on a warm summer afternoon or evening. Or serve it with  seafood, grilled fresh fish or chicken. This unique white wine blends indigenous grapes Antao Vaz, Arinto and Roupeiro. Aromas of lemons, oranges and white peach lead into full-bodied flavors of yellow fruit, quince and spices. We loved it.

Reserva Red 2021 ($23)

Reserva Red 2021Esporão Reserva Red 2021 is a distinct Portuguese blend of native, organic grapes Alicante Bouschet, Touriga Nacional, Aragonez, Trincadeira along with Cabernet Sauvignon. Reserva Red 2021 is described as “fruits of the forest” because wild fruit and sweet spices dominate. On the nose, we found aromas of blackberries and plums, with hints of cocoa, cassis and barrel spices. On the dense palate, more dark fruit, dark chocolate, licorice and spicy notes. This is a great time to savor this bold red with roast beef, grilled meats or a juicy burger.

Summary: Esporão

In conclusion, Esporão is Alentejo’s largest wine producer, owned by the Roquette family, and widely distributed in the U.S.  We are very happy to hear this, as we plan to buy some bottles to enjoy this spring and summer.

Creative Palate Communications, thanks for the delicious samples.

Meanwhile, find us on Instagram and Facebook. And of course, here, at Write for Wine – It’s Wine O’Clock Somewhere.

Margot and Dave