Terra Verus Wines
Steve Lawrence imports 28 wines, and there's not a loser among them
Steve Lawrence imports 28 wines, and there's not a loser among them. All of them come from either Spain or Italy, and prices run from $9.99 to $75, with 85% of them under $20. Terra Verus is the exclusive U.S. importer of these wines, so the only place you'll find them is right here in Texas.
There are a few wines that stand out in the portfolio. From Spain, the wines made by Lawrence's friend, Luis Alcacer, all rate high scores. His Viña Ejarque Crianza ($9.99) is light and fruity with a soft mouthfeel. Serve it at about 65 degrees with a spit-roasted chicken. My favorite of Alcacer's wines, in fact, one of the best wines I've tasted this year, is Eixarch 998 Riserva ($15.99), a great big wine with enough bright acids to balance the fruits and tannins. Flop a full-size rib eye on the grill, put a large pat of butter on top, and serve it with the Eixarch for a perfect pairing.
Lawrence's Italian line includes some gorgeous wines. Bargain hunters will adore the rich LaNunsio Barbera D'Asti ($9.99), the ideal hamburger wine. I'm in love with the Balestri Valda Soave Classico ($13.99), one of the best Soaves I've tasted. It would match nicely with any lightly sautéed, delicate Gulf fish, something like drum or flounder. The Balestri Valda Lunalonga ($19.99) puts the tantalizing Soave in oak barrels to lend a little buttery/vanilla aroma. Add a little cream sauce to the sautéed fish to experience the Lunalonga at its best. My favorite of the Balestri line is, sadly, also the most expensive the Balestri Valda Recioto ($32.99 for a .375), but it ranks in the Top 10 dessert wines I've experienced.
Quintarelli's pal Luca Fedrigo is making a stellar set of wines under the L'Arco label. All three are made from Corvina, Rondinella, and Molinara grapes. L'Arco Rosso ($16.99) is the least expensive, yet it has a nice, fruity taste with just a touch of bitterness at the end. The next step up is L'Arco Valpolicella Classico Superiore ($25.99), which gains more intensity and the ability to live longer. Both of these wines would match up with grilled chicken or sautéed duck breast. Top of the L'Arco (and Terra Verus) list is L'Arco Amarone ($74.99), a treat at an unexpected price (if it sounds high, remember, Quintarelli's version goes for more than $300). This wine is so intense, it should be reserved for drinking alongside a roast with a concentrated demi-glace. To make a perfect pairing, add a few finely diced dried fruits to the sauce things like black cherries, peaches, cranberries, or figs.
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