Wine Focus for January: Portugal

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Re: Wine Focus for January: Portugal

Postby Bob Parsons Alberta » Wed Jan 19, 2011 2:36 pm

Glad you are up and running Michael and look forward to your future TNs. I have said it before here, there are some great whites coming from Portugal. Yippee yah oh!

Roy kindly mentions the `04 Crasto. My notes on the `04 pail in comparision to Roys and Sarahs! Here is what Sarah Ahmed wrote in her Top 50 precis. Think Roy is on the same wavelength!

A powerful nose, with liquorice and spice – Tomas Roquette believes it’s one of the best reservas produced – it shows off the complexity of fruit, oak and vineyard very well – super-spicy with fabulous balance and a mineral-laden, long and persistent fine well supported by ripe but present tannins. A long life ahead of this wine. Top notch.


In late 2007, I posted here the following impression on the `04 Reserva.......>

WTN: `04 Quinta do Crasto Reserva Old Vines.

My second bottle of three! Owned by the Roquette family, new winemaker is Dominic Miller from land of Oz. Maybe a new direction in the coming years?

Blend of mainly Tinta Roriz and Touriga Nacional, foot-treading in lagares.
Bottled unfiltered, good natural cork, 14.5% alc, $26 Cdn. Expect this wine to be very expressive of the Douro!

WTN: `04 Quinta do Crasto Reserva Old Vines.

My second bottle of three! Owned by the Roquette family, new winemaker is Dominic Miller from land of Oz. Maybe a new direction in the coming years?

Blend of mainly Tinta Roriz and Touriga Nacional, foot-treading in lagares.
Bottled unfiltered, good natural cork, 14.5% alc, $26 Cdn. Expect this wine to be very expressive of the Douro!

Color. Dark purple, no red hints and no sign of age. The centre is getting close to being almost opaque.

Nose. Violets, cherry, berry fruits. Fresh, lively, hint of chocolate, oak and spice. No pepper and not much of a change after decanting for 3 hrs.

Palate. Initial mouthfeel entry is ripe black fruits, soft tannins, smooth and drinks nicely. Giving it some time, noted silky/mocha/port-like/no heat.
Very nice balance`twixt the alcohol, the spice and the ripe fruit. Better half thought "cherry, plum some might think more of a modern style" but she has thought that before!
After 24 hrs, I was afraid of a downward closing trend but held up pretty well on further reflection. I did notice vanilla and coconut on the nose (how did I miss that last night?). Took into DeVines and staff thought top-notch, so there!
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Re: Wine Focus for January: Portugal

Postby Dan G. » Fri Jan 21, 2011 7:16 am

Roy Hersh wrote:Dan G.,

It is my pleasure.

FYI, my upcoming newsletter this week, will feature tasting notes on 80 recently tasted bottles of Port, Douro wines and lots of Madeira notes too. There are some really stunning DOC red wines from 1989-2008 in this report. You don't need to be a subscriber but do have to register to get it.

Roy

Thanks Roy!

I've registered and will have a read when I get a chance.

Also, I opened the H&H Bual 10-year last weekend with a friend. It was my first Madeira, so I had no frame of reference. It did seem to taste like something in between a port and a sherry. A nice creamy sweetness with some fruit, a little bit of complexity... maybe a smidgen of spice in there... but overall not too complex. To be honest, though, I can't say that I found the 34€ (that's about $45) price tag justified. But I'll have another taste this weekend again to see what I think.

With regard to dry Portuguese wines, I have to say that when I visited Porto, the vinhos brancos from various regions were often very tasty and very inexpensive. At one large and famous fish restaurant (forget the name, I think it started with an A), the recommended wine was an 8€ branco. It was great! And you'll have a hard time finding any bottle for 8€ in Germany, let alone a great one. As for the red wines from the Douro region -- although I think I only tried 2, perhaps -- were quite bad. Perhaps they were simply bad selections. But even a simple French table wine more often than not proves a pleasant quaff. Perhaps I need to return to mainland Portugal to find out if I was simply unlucky? ;)

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Re: Wine Focus for January: Portugal

Postby Tim York » Fri Jan 21, 2011 7:37 am

All this talk of Madeira gets me salivating. Unfortunately I drink little because fine bottles have become ridiculously pricey. Here's a TN from about three years ago which reawakens the need for a Madeira fix.

Madeira Sercial 1940 V.J.H – Vinhos Justino Henriques, Filhos Lda, Funchal


At the end of my note about a week ago on Gert’s newly “discovered” Rioja Bodega Hermanos Piceña, I mentioned a delicious Madeira of which I did not feel then capable of analysing.

Well here it is, after the half-full bottle had sojourned for a week under a VacuVin stopper in the fridge with about an hour outside in the evening shade to warm up. (The first decent summer day for over a week!)

C: Quite deep amber with golden yellow at the rim (or should I say meniscus?). N: At first it seemed rather austerely and bitterly sherry like but with a little cradling and swirling it soon blossomed into a true Madeira bouquet showing generous rich currant and balsamic notes. P: Complex, generous yet elegant, broad and incredibly long after an initial shyness. I find it hard to describe this wine; there was some RS but perfectly balanced gently appealing and slightly varnish like acidity with similar aromas to the nose. I still have its elegantly discreet after-taste at the rear of my palate nearly an hour after the last sip.

I don’t think that this wine has suffered at all from having been opened for a week and there still remains enough for two small glasses another day.
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Re: Wine Focus for January: Portugal

Postby Dan G. » Fri Jan 21, 2011 7:46 am

Groeten, Tim!

Your post is a bit worrying to me as a Madeira newbie. Should I have put my Bual in the fridge? I had understood that Madeira's only weakness is kryptonite!

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Re: Wine Focus for January: Portugal

Postby Tim York » Fri Jan 21, 2011 9:29 am

Dan,

IMO fridge temperature is much too cold for Madeira, indeed for most wine. I guess that my Sercial would have been at about 14°C, i.e. a slightly warm cellar temperature. My instinct would be to serve Bual a tad warmer, say 15°C. I often experiment with wine to see what temperature suits me best for the type in question.

I serve tawny port at cellar temperature and vintage at about 17-18°C.
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Re: Wine Focus for January: Portugal

Postby Dan G. » Fri Jan 21, 2011 9:33 am

Hi Tim,

I'll try serving it a little colder then... but I meant in terms of storage? Is it not correct to presume that the wine will keep just fine even at room temperature?

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Re: Wine Focus for January: Portugal

Postby Tim York » Fri Jan 21, 2011 11:01 am

Dan G. wrote:Hi Tim,

I'll try serving it a little colder then... but I meant in terms of storage? Is it not correct to presume that the wine will keep just fine even at room temperature?

Dan


Dan, for long term keeping room temperature is too warm though Madeira should resist better than most. Once I've opened a bottle, I usually put it in the fridge to slow down the oxidation process though again this should be less important with Madeira than with most. It is a pretty tough wine.
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Re: Wine Focus for January: Portugal

Postby Carl Eppig » Fri Jan 21, 2011 8:20 pm

WTN: N/V Casal Garcia Vinho Verde (SDG), $7.99 NH Liq Store. Alcohol Level: 10%. This wine is recommended to be an aperitif or with light dishes. We had it with a little heavier dish: Roasted shrimp with lemon pasta. The wine went very well with it.

It is an off dry white that is even remotely reminiscent with some Riesling we have had. There is wonderful fruit on the nose and upfront. The sweet elixir and fruit is delightful on the palate and it finishes nicely. It is widely available, and is a good candidate to bring to your next pupu party.
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Re: Wine Focus for January: Portugal

Postby Bob Parsons Alberta » Fri Jan 21, 2011 11:28 pm

Very reliable VV Carl, and always a good price too. I like your food match!
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Re: Wine Focus for January: Portugal

Postby Bob Parsons Alberta » Sun Jan 23, 2011 3:04 pm

WTN: `05 Quinta do Portal Reserva, Douro.

Probably the biggest wine from Portugal that I have tasted in a long time. First came across this vintage at a Wines of Portugal event and I was immediately impressed.

$32 Cdn, 14.5% alc, opened and decanted for one hour. 70% T Nacional, 20% T Roriz 10% T Franca. New Fr. oak for 9 months and it still shows! No sediment noted.

The color was a dark ruby purple and on the nose I found blackcurrant, berries, minerals and some port-like tones. "Cedar and pepper" from across the table.

Very much old-world style on the palate, very little ripe fruit here either. Tannins in background, great earthy context here, some chocolate with the chunky flavors. Quite tight initially...berries, cherry, "not too puckery". Quite dry with some port character, kept some for day three where it showed more ripe (ish) blackcurrant, raisins, softer finish.

Two bottles in the cellar, no rush to drink up.
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Re: Wine Focus for January: Portugal

Postby Tim York » Tue Jan 25, 2011 4:29 pm

Barraida Vinha do Putto Tinto 2008 - Manuel dos Santos Campolargo - Alc.14% - (€7), made from Tinta Roriz, Touriga Nacional and Cabernet Sauvignon.

They say that every cloud has a silver lining. A valuable silver vase of ours was knocked off its pedestal by a friends' dog and the visit to a silver smith for a repair estimate took us close to a Portuguese specialist. This was one of my purchases.

Colour was deep with purple foam. The nose was well developed with notes of sweet raspberry, black currant and anise; there was a slightly boiled sweet effect but good sweets. The palate was sweetly fruity and vigorous with lively acidity and medium/full bodied with bitter liquorice notes of the finish. A slight honest rusticity did not spoil a thoroughly good quaff; 15.5/20 QPR.
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Re: Wine Focus for January: Portugal

Postby Carl Eppig » Tue Jan 25, 2011 9:59 pm

WTN: 2008 Altano, Douro, Symington Family Estates ($10.99 N.H. Liq Store). Alcohol level: 13%. Made from Tinta Roriz (70%) and Touriga Franca (30%). There was quite a buzz about the ‘07 version here just about exactly a year ago. My pusher suggested letting it sit in the decanter for an hour or so and that seems to do the trick.

We took ¾ of a cup of it to pan braise kielbasa with scallions and parsley in butter and EVOO. The remainder was consumed by moi with the meat and a salad. I would describe it as a medium bodied wine despite the 13%. It did have a very respectable dose of fruit and texture with only moderate tannin. It was enjoyable overall, and would definitely try it again.
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Re: Wine Focus for January: Portugal

Postby michael dietrich » Tue Jan 25, 2011 10:56 pm

So I have now started to go through the reds of Casa Santos Lima. The first couple are around $6-8 and share some similiar flavors. The first was the Espiga 2008 Lisboa $7. This is a softer, more fruit forward red that would be a nice crowd pleaser wine without that sweeter red profile. Next is LAB 2008 Lisboa $8. This is a new wine for them here I am told. It has some similarities to the Espiga. It might show a little more fruitiness. Then we have Bons Ventos 2008 Lisboa $8 which shows a bit more spice to it. The next 2 move up the scale as a little denser. There is the Quinta do Espirito 2007 Lisboa $9 which is now showing a bit more structure. This is more darker fruits. The next wine, Quinta das Amoras 2008 Estate Bottled Lisboa $8, is the darkest of these under $10 wines. It has more richness and aromatics. Then we come to Palha Canas 2007 Lisboa $11. Of all the blends I like this the best. It had more weight, complexity with darker fruits and some spice. It had 25% each of Touriga National and
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Re: Wine Focus for January: Portugal

Postby michael dietrich » Tue Jan 25, 2011 11:17 pm

And Touriga Franca. Sorry. I hit the wrong button and sent before I finished. We then move into the 3 single varietal wines. First was Tinto Cao 2007
Estremadura $12. This was probably the most forward of the single varietal wines. It was still more dense than any of the blends. We are still at the darker fruits though. Next is Sousao 2008 Lisboa $13. This was definitely stepping it up in flavor intensity. It also showed a bit more of a tannic edge. Now we move on to the Touriga National 2007 Estremadura $20. This seems to show more blackberry flavors with good acid and depth. These are all very interesting wines and are some great values. If you have them available in your area I would certianly try some of them. Be sure and try the whites as they are very interesting. Here locally my distributor brings them in direct which probably accounts for the pricing here.
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Re: Wine Focus for January: Portugal

Postby Bob Parsons Alberta » Tue Jan 25, 2011 11:34 pm

Michael, bravo great prices and neat write-up.

Tim, Vinha do Putto is downtown for around $18. I was only looking at the branco yesterday!

For those on the west coast/San Francisco Bay area here is one gem of a place! Portuguese foods, wines and liqueurs!! Found the link browsing some threads through Roy`s site, fortheloveofport.com. Great music too!!

http://www.sousasportuguesefoodandliquor.com/
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Re: Wine Focus for January: Portugal

Postby Joe Moryl » Wed Jan 26, 2011 10:36 am

Michael -

It is interesting to taste some of the Portuguese grapes on their own, although they are often better as part of a blend. Did you know that Sousao is a teinturier grape (a intensely colored grape with red pulp/juice) also known in the Minho as Vinhao? Good for staining one's teeth purple. It is often the grape responsible for red Vinho Verde, which can be an aquired taste.

Bob -

That Sousa's shop looks interesting but their website design is really bizarre! I hope to drink a couple more Portuguese wines before the end of the month, and will try to post my impressions.
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Re: Wine Focus for January: Portugal

Postby Salil » Wed Jan 26, 2011 11:02 am

2001 Antonio Bernardino Paulo da Silva Vinho Regional Estremadura Casal da Azenha
Apparently from Colares though not labelled as such. Chambers was selling this at the very reasonable price of $16, and it's a remarkable value. Tight at first, but opens out with air to show fresh dark fruits seasoned with wild leathery and herbal notes. I've noticed some bottle variation here, with some signs of brett in the first two bottles I opened, but this one was clean. The texture's rather rustic with plenty of grainy tannin and a firm acid spine, but it smooths out with some air and is a very enjoyable bottle to open at the dinner table.
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Re: Wine Focus for January: Portugal

Postby Bob Henrick » Wed Jan 26, 2011 1:21 pm

I get (way too many) emails from Wine Chateau NYC) and this morning one was appropriate to this months focus subject. So, I thought I would ask the question. I am offered a 12 bottle case of a 2008 Portuguese red called Quinta Do Casal Branco, Ribatejo DOC. t is supposed to be from the Castelao and Trincadeira grapes, of which I have non information on. Anyway, since we are about a week away from the end of the month, I thought I should throw it out and see if anyone else does know the win, or has at least heard of it. OH! I nearly forgot the price on the case of 12 is $95.64 shipping included. Anyone?
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Re: Wine Focus for January: Portugal

Postby Joe Moryl » Wed Jan 26, 2011 3:50 pm

Bob-
On the Casal Branco: it is a fresh, smooth red, a decent everyday drinker with some Portuguese character. The shops round here have it for $7 or $8 a bottle, so it is good QPR. I'm not sure I'd go out of my way to order a whole case of it - I like to mix up my everyday drinkers just to explore what is out there.
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Re: Wine Focus for January: Portugal

Postby Tim York » Wed Jan 26, 2011 5:16 pm

Alentejo Marquês de Borba 2009 - J. Portugal Ramos - Alc.14% - (€7), made from Aragonez and Trincadeira red grapes.

Like last night's Barraida this one also showed gutsy purple tinted dark red colour and liquorice tinged raspberry on the nose (a function of yeasts?) but with less black currant and boiled sweet effect. The palate was robust, quite full bodied, deeper and darker with less sweetness of fruit and also less lively acidity than the Barraida giving an overall impression of greater seriousness and suavity whilst being almost equally quaffable. These two bottles add confirmation to my impression that Portugal is a strong player in the market for gutsy and reasonably priced wines competing well with similarly priced offerings from Languedoc-Roussilon and the Rhône valley; 15.5/20++ QPR.
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Re: Wine Focus for January: Portugal

Postby Bob Henrick » Wed Jan 26, 2011 8:58 pm

Joe and Tim, Thanks for your inputs on the wine, and both confirm my own thoughts. I might simply go ahead and check out some other well priced wines at Wine Chateau, and see if I can round out a case of some that might delight. Thanks again.
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Re: Wine Focus for January: Portugal

Postby Joe Moryl » Wed Jan 26, 2011 11:08 pm

Bob,

If you can do a mixed case that might be the way to go. The Casal Branco white isn't bad either - 100% Fernao Pires, a very common white grape in Portugal.
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Re: Wine Focus for January: Portugal

Postby Joe Moryl » Wed Jan 26, 2011 11:24 pm

WTN: 2007 Alvarinho, Muros Antigos, Anselmo Mendes, DOC VInho Verde:

If you have only had Casal Garcia or similar Vinho Verdes you owe it to yourself to try some of the more 'serious' (I hate to use that term, but you know what I mean) offerings. Mendes consults for a number of wineries but this is his own product. Here we have a 100% Alvarinho from the Moncao area (right across the Minho from Spain's Rias Baixas). This one is has a fairly deep gold for an '07 wine and a lively nose evoking the seashore with some melon/tropical notes. Crisp, dry, mid-weight, slightly riesling-like, but still distinctly not riesling. Nice length with some spice and mineral action on the finish. A good example but probably not quite up to the best the region can offer (e.g. Soalheiro). Well priced at $13, also 13% abv.
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Re: Wine Focus for January: Portugal

Postby Bob Parsons Alberta » Thu Jan 27, 2011 2:33 am

WTN: `08 Quinta do Crasto White Douro.

Superb 2nd vintage from Crasto, the `07 was the first white produced and highly acclaimed.

$24 Cdn, 12.5% alc, Lot 02B09, natural cork of some class!, blend of Gouveio, Roupeiro and Rabigato. Opened not too chilled and served over two days.

Color. Very pale straw, almost watery.

Nose. Fresh citrus, minerally, pear, herbal/grass, fragrant. Could be mistaken for a Sauv Blanc?

Palate. Initial impression is this is drier than the recent Portal which had some RS. Crisp, fresh, big acidity, mineral. Medium-bodied, dry-ish, tart, grassy with BC apple, the green one! "Quite citrus based", from across the table. Quite an interesting style of wine here, everything lingers on the palate.
Food was stuffed pork tenderloin (duxelle), roasted red peppers and penne fines herbes. Great white, enjoy if you can find it!
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