Stumbled across a wine lately that sang a familiar tune but offered  s o   m u c h   m o r e  than the same old same old? I find this happens when I least expect it - and often enough when the grapes involved in the winemaking process are local, or native to the area from whence they're grown.  We talked about Zweigelt from Austria not that long ago. We also talked about the fun I had at the ViniPortugal wine dinner I attended. Perhaps one day we'll also talk about wines from Hungary.  Each of these parts of the world offer tremendous value and a chance to tromp, ok - taste, through local offerings you likely can't pronounce. (Fortunately you don't have to be able to say the grapes' name to enjoy the wine!)

Today I want to introduce you to (or remind you about) a big white perfect for fall - or even one that can carry you through the winter! It is the (drum roll please!) 2007 Esporao Reserva White.  This wine makes me want to crank out pot after pot of butternut squash soup and pan after pan of roast chicken with fresh herbs (and garlic). The winemaker blends three grapes: Arintho (which you know I just adore for it's fresh minerality); Roupiero; and Antao Vaz. Half of the grapes are fermented in stainless steel and the other half in American oak. When the winemaker is satisfied, all three are blended together. Remember that the Esporao enterprise operates out of the Aletejo region, which is in the Southcentral part of Portugal where it is dry and hot. Such conditions are perfect for growing ripe, ripe grapes. This means the fruit in the wine is front and center, doing a happy little dance in your glass.

From the Esporao Rsv White, expect peach and melon fruit, terrific minerality and a robust, full-figured wine with very round edges. You may even be tempted to think of this wine as a slightly more interesting Chardonnay, without overbearing oak but a creaminess that simply delights your taste buds.  Go ahead... step outside your usual wine-buying habits and pick up a bottle! This wine surely offers a fun spin on something comfortingly familiar.

What's the last bottle you enjoyed for its familiarity - but complexity?