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Dale Williams

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WTN: Portugal and elsewhere

by Dale Williams » Tue Apr 23, 2013 1:00 pm

Though I was hosting my non-serious local wine group Friday, I had promised Betsy I’d do dinner as she was in city all day for a dress rehearsal. Rosemary tuna, roasted vegetables (Brussels sprouts, broccoli, pepper, and beans), with the 1999 Patrick Javillier Corton-Charlemagne. This held up better than another bottle a few months ago, no premOx just slightly dull wine. Full-bodied, pears and hazelnut, but neither the cut nor the minerality I’d hope for in a GC white Burg. That said, it held up well for 4-5 hours, and (I offered it as apertif to my wine group) was some people’s WOTN. B/B-

Theme was Portugese dry reds, An area I’m pretty ignorant about, so though we tasted blind, no real guessing (Touriga Nacional is only Portugese grape I could have named going into last night, and Quinta do Crasto & Barca Velha are probably only wines I’d recognize on a Portugese restaurant winelist).

This group is supposed to be post-dinner, but sometimes someone makes a dish, and I did a quick carne de porco à Alentejana (pork and clams) in pressure cooker, big hit. My cheese shop didn’t have any Portugese cheeses, so went with mostly Spain (Mahon and Idiazabal), a French chevre, and a Stilton for the port. Plus chorizo and soppresata, hummus, Momofuko quick pickles (watermelon, daikon, radishes).

Wine #1 - mine. This was a fresh fairly high acid wine, lots of crushed raspberry fruit, a little herbal edge. 2010 Ataide Semedo Tinto (Bairrada) (50% Baga, 50% Touriga Nacional) B

Wine #2- moderate acids, more tannin, darker fruit. Nice. 2008 Quinta do Vale Meao "Meandro" B/B+

Wine #3. Ripest so far, hint of brett, dark fruits. 2009 Alvaro Castro (Dao) 50% Alfrocheira , 25% Touriga Nacional, 25% Tinto Roriz B

At this point I say that if I had been doubleblinded on these wines I would have called #1 a Loire CF, #2 a minor Bordeaux, , and #3 a Southern Rhone

Wine #4 Soft, a bit of vanilla,heavy very dull, Roger says he usually buys the regular, likes this reserva less. 2009 Alianca Reserva (Dao). C+

Wine # 5 - some oak, darker sweet fruits, not bad in a rather anonymous modern/internationally styled way. 2009 Prazo de Roriz “P + S” (Douro) 35% Touriga Nacional, 35% Tinto Roriz, 28% Touriga Franca, 2% Touriga Francisca B-

Wine #6 - also a bit international, but very well made, good in a powerful/ripe style.
2009 Cartuxa (Evora) 50% Aragonez, 30% Trincadeira, 20% Alicante Bouschet. B

I had decanted the 1966 Offley Boa Vista Port about 4 hours before serving. I’m a poor judge of Vintage Port (damn things always come at end of dinner!) but liked this. . Not the sturdiest/largest port, a more feminine style, but nice flavors- toffee, figs, kirsch, candied orange peel. Good length and persistence, Good match with the Colston Basset cheese, better wine than I’d have guessed. B+/A-

Saturday, with grilled chicken in a mint marinade (mint is already coming back), grilled squash, a brown rice and mushroom “pilaf”, and watercress , the 2012 Bart Marsannay Rose. Very good vintage of this, good acidity matched with fresh strawberry fruit, a little tobacco leaf, good long finish. Holds well over 3 days. B+/B

Betsy had a matinee performance, I had a meeting that took my entire Sunday, but she put together a lovely late meal of meatballs, marinara, pasta, and artichokes. The 2008 A Vita Ciro Classico is a friendly light bodied wine. Good acids, some tannin, fresh red fruit with a bit of citrus peel. B

Tonight I got home late (but ahead of her), threw together shrimp, fresh peas, scallions, wine etc with some farfalle. Wine was the 2008 Ericina ”Tonnara” - dry with citrus and pit fruits, a saline edge on finish, very nice for the price. B

Grade disclaimer: I'm a very easy grader, basically A is an excellent wine, B a good wine, C mediocre. Anything below C means I wouldn't drink at a party where it was only choice. Furthermore, I offer no promises of objectivity, accuracy, and certainly not of consistency.

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