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Daniel Rogov

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Falo Portuguese? Portugese wines and tasting notes

by Daniel Rogov » Wed Jan 21, 2009 3:46 pm

Falo Poruguese? Or, if you prefer, "do you speak Portuguese?

Neither the pleasures nor the chores of life ever end. Many of us have at least partly mastered what can be thought of as "European wine language". With the wines of France, Italy, Spain, Germany, Austria and Hungary readily available, we have learned the names not only of various regions and sub-regions but of the many different varieties of grapes and even of wine-making terminology found in those areas. The names of villages and chateaux flow easily from our tongues and we have even learned to set our sights on those of the wines from these countries that we find most desirable. Well….the time has come to take another step, for even though Port wines are no strangers to Israel, the dry reds and whites of Portugal have never made a serious appearance here. Until now……for with his first major venture into importing wines, Andre Suidan, the owner of Haifa's Special Reserve, has decided that Portugal will be his initial focus.

Yesterday (Tuesday, 20 January), I made my way by train to Haifa and there to a tasting of each of Suidan's new imports. All in all I tasted 24 wines. As I commented to Andre, it takes a good deal more time to write up tasting notes than to taste them, so this report will deal entirely with the dry reds and whites I sampled. In another day or so, I shall post about the Port wines that were sampled.

Before the tasting notes, to put us in the "learning mode", the majority of the dry reds and whites I tasted were from the Estramadura region. Situated on the Atlantic Coast, north of Lisbon, this is a region that boasts more than 95 indigenous grapes. Historically this has been both a blessing and a curse for the region because for many years most vintners really did not focus too greatly on just what grapes went into just what wines and until recently the majority of the wines produced here were justifiably destined for local consumption. In more recent years, vintners became increasingly aware of the potential blessings of the varieties offered, greater care went into the vineyards, modern equipment was brought into the wineries and the wines have taken a giant-step forward in quality and interest. Now being exported, the Estramadura wines offer often excellent value for money. My guess is as these wines become "discovered" over the next few years, prices will rise. In the meantime – a good chance to get in on the proverbial ground floor.

As to the grapes now in highest demand (and there is no reason to feel embarrassed if you do not yet know these names) – Arinto, Fernao Pires, Vital, Castelao, Camarate, Touriga Franc, Sousao and Tinta Miuda. Of one thing to be sure – those names will become better known in the next few years.

These and the other wines reviewed today can be ordered directly from Special Reserve (109 Hanassi Ave, Haifa) by phoning 04-8361187 or by sending an email to Suidan@netvision.net.il . Direct sale prices are listed in the tasting notes. An 8% discount will be given on orders of split cases of 6 bottles. My thanks to Andre Suidan for a lovely tasting and for his as always good company.


Casa Santos Lima, Estramadura


Casa Santos Lima, Portuga Branco, Estramadura, Portugal, 2007: An unoaked blend of indigenous Fernao Pires and Vital grapes, this light- to medium-bodied, light golden straw colored wine shows aromas and flavors of citrus, tropical fruits and bitter almonds, those accompanied by refreshing acidity. Nothing complex but a very appealing quaffer. Drink now. NIS 39. Score 85. (Tasted 20 Jan 2009)

Casa Santos Lima, Arinto Branco, Estramadura, Portugal, 2007: Light gold in color, not showing much on the nose but with appealing flavors of peaches, apricots matched nicely by hints of lemon curd, almonds and spring flowers, a lively and crisply dry white with just enough complexity and richness to catch our attention. Drink now-2010. NIS 54. Score 87. (Tasted 20 Jan 2009)

Casa Santos Lima, Portuga Rose, Estramadura, Portugal, 2007: Cherry-red in color, an unoaked and aromatic rose wine, showing appealing raspberry and wild berry fruits. Medium-bodied, crisply dry and with just the right touch of complexity to add interest. As good with roast chicken as with simple fish or seafood dishes. Drink now. NIS 39. Score 86. (Tasted 20 Jan 2009)

Casa Santos Lima, Portuga Tinto, Estramadura, Portugal, 2007: Oak-aged for about four months, a medium-bodied, softly tannic blend of Catelao, Touriga Franca, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah grapes. Dark ruby towards garnet, with light notes of sweet cedar wood to highlight black and red berry fruits. Not complex but a very pleasant quaffer. Drink now. NIS 39. Score 85. (Tasted 20 Jan 2009)

Casa Santos Lima, Tinto Cao, Estramadura, Portugal, 2007: Made entirely from Tinto Cao grapes, oak-aged for about six months, showing dark ruby to garnet in color. Medium-bodied, with appealing red currant, plum and wild berry fruits, those supported by a hint of dark chocolate. A round, easy to drink country style wine with tannins and spices rising on the finish. Drink now-2011. NIS 89. Score 88. (Tasted 20 Jan 2009)

Casa Santos Lima, Sousao, Estramadura, Portugal, 2007: Full-bodied, with firm tannins and spicy wood notes, those integrating nicely to show black fruits, plums, chocolate and light notes of freshly cut Mediterranean herbs. Long and concentrated, calls to mind a fine Merlot. Intriguing. Drink now-2011. NIS 89. Score 87. (Tasted 20 Jan 2009)

Casa Santos Lima, Quinta de Bons-Ventos, Estramadura, Portugal, 2007: A traditional Estramadura potpourri but one that works well. A blend of Castelao, Camarate, Tinta Miuda and Touriga Nacional grapes, those developed in oak for about four months. Showing a clean, aromatic nose that with a hint of spicy wood and on the palate generous blackberry, red currant and red plums, all on a background of red licorice. Good hints of complexity here along with a mouth-filling finish. Drink now-2011. NIS 45. Score 86. (Tasted 20 Jan 2009)

Casa Santos Lima, 4Uvas (Quarto Uvas), Estramadura, Portugal, 2007: Indeed four grapes but if you've never heard of them not to be overly concerned as Castelao, Alfocheiro, Camarate, and Trincadeira are hardly the best known varieties of the planet. Whatever, a successful blend, with gentle oaking, dark ruby towards garnet in color, with hints of spices and spicy wood that part to reveal appealing blackberry and blackcurrant fruits along with notes of dark chocolate and licorice. Generous acidity rises on the finish making this one best with lamb or veal dishes. Drink now. NIS 48. Score 86. (Tasted 20 Jan 2009)


Quinta do Portal, Douro

Quinta do Portal, Tinto, Douro, Portugal, 2006: Firm, full-bodied and with gripping tannins only now starting to reside. A blend of Tinta Roriz, Touriga Franca, and Touriga Nacional grapes, aged for 9 months in French oak, showing red fruits but not so much a fruity wine as it is one that boasts herbal, chocolate and licorice notes, those opening to reveal tobacco and spices, all leading to a long, mouth-filling finish. Drink now-2011. NIS 88. Score 89. (Tasted 20 Jan 2009)

Quinta do Portal, Riserva, Douro, Portugal, 2005: Dark garnet, full-bodied, and with generous but well-balanced notes of spicy wood and kirsch liqueur, those melding nicely with aromas and flavors of cherries, plums, dark chocolate and licorice, all leading to a generous and long finish. A blend of Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz and Touriga Franca (70%, 20% and 10% respectively). Drink now-2013. NIS 145. Score 90. (Tasted 20 Jan 2009)

Quinta do Portal, Grande Reserva, Douro, Portugal, 2003: A traditional Douro blend of Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz and Touriga Franca (in this case 50% and 25% each respectively), aged 14 months in new French barriques. Concentrated and deep, opens with a hint of iodine on the nose but that blows off in a few seconds, the full-bodied wine opening with dark cherries, blackberries and notes of kirsch liqueur, those on a background of dark chocolate, and espresso coffee. Drinking very nicely now but do not hesitate to cellar until 2018. NIS 220. Score 93. (Tasted 20 Jan 2009)
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Lior Yogev

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Re: Falo Portuguese? Portugese wines and tasting notes

by Lior Yogev » Thu Jan 22, 2009 12:03 pm

Ahhh!

Yesterday evening I was in the same tasting at the Special Reserve and I hoped to be the first to write about the wines. The thing is, I came to the tasting from the campus, and when it was over I returned to work on my research until almost sunrise (then went home, slept a couple of hours and returned to continue).

I guess I'll settle for being the second to write about the wines, I'll compile my notes over the weekend (when I'm not in the campus, again) :)

Thanks for the notes, I'll post my own when they're ready.

Lior.
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Lior Yogev

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Re: Falo Portuguese? Portugese wines and tasting notes

by Lior Yogev » Mon Jan 26, 2009 9:28 am

As promised, some of my own TNs.

I'm generally in agreement with Rogov's notes. I think the CSL wines offer nice, routine-breaking everyday wines that are very friendly priced. My favourites were The CSL Rose and the Quinta de Bons-Ventos. As for the Quinta do Portal Reserva and Grande Reserva - I wouldn't drink them in the next couple of years and I think they need significant time in the bottle.


Casa Santos Lima, Portuga, Rose 2007 - Strawberry-red semi-transparent color, darker than any rose I've seen. On the nose sour-cherries, strawberries and apples. Medium bodied with nice acidity, fruit, a touch of bitterness and gentle tanin. Long, sour-fruity finish. Different and balanced, very nice! For 39 NIS - no hesitation is needed.

Casa Santos Lima, Quinta de Bons-Ventos, Tinto 2007 - Purple-red, gentle red fruit on the nose, with mocha and earth. Medium body, spicey, vivid acidity, felt tanins, long dry-fruity finish. Interesting and very nice for food. A good buy for 45NIS IMO.


Lior.
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Philip Aron

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Re: Falo Portuguese? Portugese wines and tasting notes

by Philip Aron » Mon Nov 16, 2009 12:37 pm

My first Portuguese wine: Casa Santos Lima Tinto Cao.2007.

Very delicious with spices, tannins , fruits and most importantly no disturbing sweetness .

Very refreshing.Only 13 % ABV, every % counts for the waistline.
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Trevor F

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Re: Falo Portuguese? Portugese wines and tasting notes

by Trevor F » Mon Nov 16, 2009 6:26 pm

It's ' fala portugues ? ' ' Do you speak Portuguese ? '

Falo portugues means ' do I speak Portuguese ? '
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Daniel Rogov

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Re: Falo Portuguese? Portugese wines and tasting notes

by Daniel Rogov » Mon Nov 16, 2009 6:43 pm

Yes and no, Trevor....... I believe that when put as a question it can be falo if your're talking to a man and fala if to a woman. But then again, my limited Portuguese comes from Brazil and not from Portugal and there are some major differences in the dialects.

And in the case of a male it would be nao falo Portuguese to say that "I do not speak Portuguese"

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Andrew B

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Re: Falo Portuguese? Portugese wines and tasting notes

by Andrew B » Tue Nov 17, 2009 1:48 pm

Speaking of Portugese wines, has anyone tried the following: Porto Cordovero Late Bottled Vintage Port 2004
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Daniel Rogov

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Re: Falo Portuguese? Portugese wines and tasting notes

by Daniel Rogov » Tue Nov 17, 2009 2:01 pm

Andrew, Hi....

Folllowing is my most recent tasting note for the wine in question.

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Taylor Fladgate, Porto Cordovera, LBV, 2004: A second joint effort between Royal Wines of the USA and the well respected Port lodge ofTaylor Fladgate. Deep royal purple in color, smooth and rich, medium-bodied and showing moderate sweetness well in fine balance with alcohol and currant, plum and raisin fruits, all supported by spicy, caramel and chocolate notes. Approachable and enjoyable now but best from 2010. Score 90. Kosher
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Re: Falo Portuguese? Portugese wines and tasting notes

by Andrew B » Tue Nov 17, 2009 2:14 pm

Wow, a kosher Taylor Fladgate? From what I understand 2004 was a drinking vintage. What was the first collaboration between Royal and TF?
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Re: Falo Portuguese? Portugese wines and tasting notes

by Daniel Rogov » Tue Nov 17, 2009 2:32 pm

Andrew, Hi....

The first collaboration took place in 2002 and produced the following n.v. Ruby Port wine.

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Taylor Fladgate, Porto Cordovero, Fine Ruby Port, n.v.: Darker garnet in color than most Ruby Ports and on the palate and nose one might think this a higher-level Tawny. Ripe and spicy, with well integrated tannin and good balancing acidity, showing generous prune, black cherry, caramel and vanilla along with a firm structure and a generous finish on which you will find a hint of cinnamon. A very well-made Ruby! Drink now or in the next year or two. Score 88. K (Re-tasted 6 Feb 2009)

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