Portugal? I’m picturing a cover of a romance novel. Maybe a soap opera where a tall, dark haired, soccer kicking, 20 something male role seductively entices the French maid in the wine cellar of a mystique mansion. Ok, back to reality. But, the wines may, in fact, build on this climax and certainly deliver… they are fantastic. You may be surprised and have never tasted from this area but make no mistake… Portugal wines, albeit winery’s doing it right, are producing phenomenal juice. You be the judge, we think these wines bring it to a whole new level and appreciation of the Portuguese. In the end you are the final answer and PLEASE let us know. Viva la Portugal!
Quinta da Veiga “Casa das Mouras” Douro D.O.C Reserva 22.99 (Douro, Portugal) Are you ready to try premium juice from Portugal? First things first – Portugal is surrounded by water and Spain. Somewhere In the middle, they are producing world class wine. The Douro region lies in the upper eastern portion of Portugal and THAT my friends is an area that produces wines that have the potential to absolutely bring upon epiphany and utter satisfaction. This 2004 Douro is all that. Rated 92 pts by Wine Enthusiast, it is without question a gem that is ready for many to drink now and patiently awaits some for another 3 – 6 years in the cellar or other cool/dark hideaway. Either way, it is fantastic and will only get better. Comprised of only the best and highly selected grapes from the Portuguese classic varietals: Touriga National, Touriga Franc and Tinta Roriz, it was aged in oak for 12 months. Don’t just pull the cork and start drinking… decant it for awhile… 3 – 5 hours, or pull the cork and let it rest overnight until the next evening. On the nose, it’s complex with layers of plum, blueberry, spices, vanilla, chocolate, thyme and medicinal herbs. This wine may just seduce you on the nose alone. In the mouth, it delivers all the promises… silky, smooth, velvety and lush. I’ve EASILY paid over $50 for a wine that doesn’t even come close to being in this league. It really has a great mouth feel. Do you get the warmth with barrel toast… almost roasted cherries drizzled with milk chocolate? The tannins are almost perfectely integrated and lead to a finish that is without question sexy, warm, long, spicy and lingering very well with jam, persistence, and strength. Quinta da Veiga “Murzelo” Douro D.O.C Reserva 19.99 (Douro, Portugal) Hello again Portugal! For some, this may be your new favorite wine! It’s really, really good. 91 pts, this 2006 Douro Tinta produced by Quinta da Veiga is comprised of three classic Portuguese varietals: Touriga National, Touriga Franca and Tinta Roriz. The color is beautiful - Dark red at the core fading progressively to a classic ruby red at the edge. Swirl it around a bit. This wine has legs, is ready to drink now and can be put aside for another 2 – 4 years. Dark chocolate and cherries hits the nose with spice, wild herbs and fragrance… need I say more. The approach is incredibly smooth, elegant and silky with a little earthy component. The middle shows good concentrated fruit along with cinnamon, eucalyptus, a touch of rhubarb and obvious vanilla from oak cask ageing… this wine is incredibly balanced all-around. Cuddle up to the fireplace … the finish is warm, long, enduring and dare I say erotic. I can’t get chocolate covered cherries out of my mind. I think this is THE quintessential Valentines wine and has a serious long lasting finish that brings masculinity and grace together with length, balance and poise. P.S. try with white chocolate and almonds… heck try with any chocolate that you find in the cupboard. Wow! Companhia Das Lezirias “Samora” - 15.99 (Tejo, Portugal) Companhi Das Lezirias produces this absolutely fantastic “Samora” white wine from the Tejo region in south-west Portugal near the acclaimed city of Lisbon. Take a look at the color… it is gorgeous with golden reflections, comprised of two Portuguese grape varietals: Fernao Pires and Arinto. This 2010 Tejo is beautiful and fresh. Swirl it around a bit and check out this wine. It coats the glass and has a wonderful weight – maybe a good indication of residual sugar? Lets see. Get a good nose on it – reminds of sweet honey, crème brulee and obvious citrus. Here’s what it does for me: The approach is like silk and butter… can’t make up my mind. One of our club members created a word that I think sums it up best: Nummy. This wine is certainly nummy with a delicate and sweet beginning. It is very balanced too with a well rounded and creamy mid palate showing just a touch of vanilla and spice. I think this wine is awesome on its own but I’d also definitely pair it with Sushi, Spicy Thai/Asian cuisine and any down-home southern style Cajun eats. The acidity is, in my opinion, perfect and the finish brings a bit of lemon peel and sweetness to the finale with an equally balancing alcohol on the back. I really love this wine. I think that it may bring a few red wine only drinkers back to their roots of white wine. I also think that white wine drinkers are going to go crazy over this and that even non-wine drinkers are going to really like the easy approach and sweet subtlety to this wine. Hmmm… Nummy! Bouza Tannat 2008 18.99 (Montevideo, Uruguay) This wine is 100% Tannat. Nose is thick under ride plum skin. Slightly opaque with a hint of lush dense purple. The nose is Molten blueberry pie...if you don’t know what I mean go up north, pick wild blue berries, make a homemade pie, cut it open...you see??!! The pallet really matches the nose with more “blue” fruits yet there are many “red” fruit layers trying to reach the surface - very sturdy and tightly locked up. This is a young wine that is very well put together, gripping fruit tannins that linger and expand long after the wine goes down. This wine will improve in the bottle over the next 5-7 years. I recommend decanting for 3 hours to loosen the compact fruit pallet. After thought...these wines are cooler climate than say Argentina so fruit isn't stretched, forward, or jammy...they are grittier, and more compact...great food wines! Require some time to open and soften... Bouza Chardonnay 2009 18.99 (Montevideo, Uruguay) The Bouza vineyard is in the region of Las Violetas, a traditional vine growing area, 39 kms north of downtown Montevideo and the River Plate. Their vines are selected for high quality and low yields. Of their vines, they only use grapes that achieve adequate quality standards. They aim to have well ventilated fruit, with good diffused light, along with a careful guide of the canopy with maximum sun exposure. This specific Chardonnay is clean clear slightly golden glimer of unripe banana. The nose is roasted marshmallow, crème brulee, toasted minerals. Pallet is a surprise! Great chablis style fruit and citrus acidity. Mid pallet is full, definitely not an over oak chard...underlying notes of same Roasted marshmallow, crème bruele, toasted minerals...but is nicely in the background. Mid pallet shines with peaches pears and event hints of green apple peal! Finishes minerally and fresh. Requires a good 30-45 minutes to open up. Best served at 60 degrees, not chilled...great winter weather white!