2001 Paulo da Silva Casal da Azenha Vinho Regional Estremadura (Colares) 13.0%
While he was at Garnet, David Lillie used to stock this producer and was enthusiastic about his wines. David recently tracked down his current importer and brought in some bottles of the 2001 Casal da Azenha, apparently the only Colares still making it to these shores. This bottling is a blend of João Santarém and Tinta Miúda from grafted vines planted on what they call "rigid" (i.e., not sandy) soils. The producer and importer say this is Garrafeira (i.e., highest) level, but the term is no longer used because of "complex" EEC regulations.
Expressive nose, with leather, smoke, blackberries, some heat. Fruit manages to hold its own against some pretty powerful acidity. No trace of wood. Before food, I found it slightly lacking in extraction and mouth weight, but it settled into a nice groove once some cheese blunted the acid blade. Marcia liked it a lot. I liked it a touch less, but we emptied the bottle quickly with some rustic Amanteigado cheese from Murray's. Still young and primary, this appears capable of ageing another decade. At $15.99, it's a bit of a steal. No doubt thanks to lack of intense competition from Russia or China for the goods of Colares.
If David can now prevail upon the importer to bring in some cases of Colares Chitas, made with Ramisco from ungrafted vines planted on sandy soils, happiness wil be restored to the kingdom.
"I went on a rigorous diet that eliminated alcohol, fat and sugar. In two weeks, I lost 14 days." Tim Maia, Brazilian singer-songwriter.