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Wine Focus for January: Portugal

by Robin Garr » Fri Dec 31, 2010 5:03 pm

I'll go ahead and put this up a few hours early to get us started. January's Wine Focus will be All Portugal, including whites, reds and Ports (and Madeira too) from Portugal.

We had hoped to focus on the dry red table wines of Portugal, which is a very interesting niche, both from the Douro (Port country) and elsewhere, but availability is spotty, so it seems better to fall back on all the nation's wines, but encouraging you to try at least one dry red during the month if you can.

Overall, though, if it says "Portugal" on the label, it's fair game, all the way from crisp, prickly Vinho Verde to the hearty, warming fortified Port and Madeira. t can't hurt to have an excuse to open a nice fortified or two during chilly January, anyway!
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Re: Wine Focus for January: Portugal

by Joe Moryl » Sat Jan 01, 2011 4:13 pm

OK, I might as well get the ball rolling:

2002 Brut Natural, Grande Reserva, Quinta das Bageiras, Bairrada:

Happy new year everyone! We used NYE as an excuse to pop the cork on this one. For those not familiar with Portuguese wine, Bairrada is located in the center of Portugal, north of Coimbra and south of Porto. The land is gently rolling to flat with calcerous clay soils and the region is most well known as the home of the tannic and difficult red grape Baga. If you visit some producers in this region, you will also likely find that they will have a substantial cellar devoted to the production of sparkling wine (espumante) via the traditional method (e.g. fermented in the bottle).

Bageiras is one of the best and most traditional houses in the region and they make a range of sparklers - this one is at the top of the the pecking order. Grapes are Bical and Maria Gomes, zero dosage, and left to rest on the lees for 5 years. Nose is very toasty, with yeast and some lightly floral aromas. At one point something reminds me of the aroma of some freshly ground Costa Rican light roast coffee beans that I have (yes, I washed the glasses carefully). Color is tending towards the gold, but the wine is fresh and lively, fine bubbles, with a big body. Very dry but not severe, due to the density of fruit. You would not suspect that this is 14% abv. This is really good white wine that just happens to be carbonated!

I don't know how many of the US board denizens will have access to any Bairrada sparklers, but they are worth trying if you see them and generally inexpensive. This one is actually imported into the US (and sells for $25), but I have only seen a couple bottles at one shop in Newark's Portuguese neighborhood, the Ironbound. But the lower level Bageiras Bruto, which is a nice wine at its price point (same grapes, but 2 years on the yeast, about $10) is a bit more common in those same shops.
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Re: Wine Focus for January: Portugal

by Bob Parsons Alberta » Sat Jan 01, 2011 5:02 pm

I try to grab a sparkling wine from Portugal as often as I can, good supply here in Edmonton where one store has a Portuguese co-owner!
Joe, have seen only one sparkler from Bairrada and that was from Pato. His red is Baga, whilst the white (both under $20 Cdn) is Maria Gomez. I have both standing by but can repost my TN on the Baga.

Here is a Baga thread, started by Otto, that I found of much interest last summer....>

viewtopic.php?f=3&t=34740&hilit=pato

Here is one of my Pato impressions from last year.....>

WTN: N/V Luis Pato Casta Baga Bruto Vinho Espumante, Beiras Bairrada.

I think this is my third experience of this crisp sparkling Baga altho` I found previous bottle had better structure? Maybe somewhat tired this time around, cellared here two years.

12% alc, $20 Cdn, Lot 2005.

C. Copper tones/some pink. Small active bubbles. Seems a darker color this time around?

N. Pretty restrained floral for sure, some berries as it opens.

P. Raspberry, minerally cherry and a hint of herbs. Excellent acidity, fair mousse-feel on back of palate. Better as it warms up, do not serve too chilled. Pomegranite towards the end. Medium length feel, "this is good, quite subtle" from across the table. Very good match for braised ham steaks with blueberry compote.
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Re: Wine Focus for January: Portugal

by Joe Moryl » Sat Jan 01, 2011 5:53 pm

Yeah, the Pato sparklers are nice, even though you pay about 2x as much as we do for those wines! His Vinha Formal espumante is a step up from the basic NV line, but I don't think it is imported here.

BTW, most Bairrada sparklers made from Baga are tintos, not rose, and are the traditional accompaniment to the signature roast suckling pig. We don't get a great variety of these - mostly Alianca (OK, nothing special) or Sao Domingos (seems better to me).
There are some non-Bairrada tinto espumantes from Murganheira and Raposeira which are OK but I don't think they use Baga.
Vertice in the Douro also makes some decent sparklers that are imported into the US.
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Re: Wine Focus for January: Portugal

by Bob Parsons Alberta » Sat Jan 01, 2011 6:06 pm

Yeah, got it going here eh Joe!!

Jamie Goode, wineanorak, has a special feel for Portugal. He has just blogged on his recent trip to port country! Plus a precis on Luis Pato......>

http://www.wineanorak.com/portugal/luispato.htm

The Douro article is very extensive!

http://www.wineanorak.com/douro/taylor_ ... _croft.htm
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Re: Wine Focus for January: Portugal

by Keith M » Sat Jan 01, 2011 6:35 pm

Joe Moryl wrote:BTW, most Bairrada sparklers made from Baga are tintos, not rose, and are the traditional accompaniment to the signature roast suckling pig. We don't get a great variety of these - mostly Alianca (OK, nothing special) or Sao Domingos (seems better to me).

I also think Luis Pato's Baga Espumante is pretty phenomenal stuff, very earthy, very layered and an excellent food wine. Could you clarify for me what the difference is between a tinto sparkler and a rose sparkler? And which is Luis Pato's?

I also love Luis Pato's sparkling Maria Gomes with a touch of Arinto blended in. Full disclosure, the wine shop where I work part-time occasionally sells both of these wines.
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Re: Wine Focus for January: Portugal

by Bob Parsons Alberta » Sun Jan 02, 2011 12:00 am

Thinking of trying to find your way around the various wine regions? This might help!

http://catavino.net/portugals-wine-demarcation/
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Re: Wine Focus for January: Portugal

by Joe Moryl » Sun Jan 02, 2011 1:00 am

Keith M wrote:
Joe Moryl wrote:BTW, most Bairrada sparklers made from Baga are tintos, not rose, and are the traditional accompaniment to the signature roast suckling pig. We don't get a great variety of these - mostly Alianca (OK, nothing special) or Sao Domingos (seems better to me).

I also think Luis Pato's Baga Espumante is pretty phenomenal stuff, very earthy, very layered and an excellent food wine. Could you clarify for me what the difference is between a tinto sparkler and a rose sparkler? And which is Luis Pato's?

I also love Luis Pato's sparkling Maria Gomes with a touch of Arinto blended in. Full disclosure, the wine shop where I work part-time occasionally sells both of these wines.


Sure: tinto = red, rose = pink. Pato's Baga sparkler is made as a rose, while many of the other Baga based espumantes are actually deep red. Interestingly, Pato's Touriga Nacional sparkler is red; I would love to try this but have never seen it in my market.
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Re: Wine Focus for January: Portugal

by Tim York » Sun Jan 02, 2011 11:51 am

This is extracted from my Xmas post. IMHO, in spite of great progress with table wines, port is still what Portugal does best. It can be one of the great wines of the world and I have yet to have a Douro (or any other Portuguese)table wine which is up to that level although the potential must be there.

Dow’s Vintage Port 1977 – Alc.20% - served with Stilton and then more chocolate “buche de noël”. This made us forget the corked burgs. A bottle a few years ago disappointed slightly but this one was really singing with rich round mature fruit, a velvety touch on entry and mid-palate combined with plenty of grip and structure towards the long finish. Perfect with the Stilton but not quite so ideal with the chocolate buche; 18/20.

Over recent years, I have made a number of posts on Portuguese wines and I'll do a survey to see if any are worth reproducing here before I go out to shop. There was also an interesting Open Mike on Douro wines.
Last edited by Tim York on Sun Jan 02, 2011 4:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Wine Focus for January: Portugal

by Bob Parsons Alberta » Sun Jan 02, 2011 2:16 pm

August saw a thread titled "what are your favorite Douro table wines". Take a looksie here....>

viewtopic.php?f=3&t=34366&hilit=douro

Will try to search for that Open Mike!

Over the festive period, I opened a vintage-dated Vinho Verde to go with some empanadas.

WTN: `09 Casa de Compostela Vinho Verde, Minho Portugal.

$18 Cdn, 11% alc, unimpressive natural cork, blend of Loureira, Arinto, Trajadura. Not a well-known house.

Pale watery straw color, some big bubbles as I pour. Nose is typical minerally, pear, lemony, soft aromatics though. On the palate, crisp, fresh but "just OK fruit" from across the table. I thought quite easy-drinking style, decent acidity but did show some complexity as it warmed up. Not at all what I expected really, would have been great with pork and clams maybe?

Food was goats cheese empanadas, spinach and caramelized onions.

I also opened another bottle of the Portal Branco, a white I consider to be under-rated and a good intro if one wishes to explore Portugal.

WTN: `08 Quinta do Portal Branco, Douro.

Blend of Moscatel, Viosinho and Malvasia Fino, $24 Cdn, 13.5% alc.

Color is a deep straw with faint lemon hints. On the nose, spice, pear, floral, melon. I think many expect whites from Portugal to be all dry....big mis-conception! Palate showed some spice and tropical fruit tones. Crisp, long finish, always like the moscatel in my whites. Good acidity, well-balanced wine.
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Re: Wine Focus for January: Portugal

by Bob Parsons Alberta » Sun Jan 02, 2011 10:36 pm

Tim York wrote:This is extracted from my Xmas post. IMHO, in spite of great progress with table wines, port is still what Portugal does best. It can be one of the great wines of the world and I have yet to have a Douro (or any other Portuguese)table wine which is up to that level although the potential must be there.

Dow’s Vintage Port 1977 – Alc.20% - served with Stilton and then more chocolate “buche de noël”. This made us forget the corked burgs. A bottle a few years ago disappointed slightly but this one was really singing with rich round mature fruit, a velvety touch on entry and mid-palate combined with plenty of grip and structure towards the long finish. Perfect with the Stilton but not quite so ideal with the chocolate buche; 18/20.

Over recent years, I have made a number of posts on Portuguese wines and I'll do a survey to see if any are worth reproducing here before I go out to shop. There was also an interesting Open Mike on Douro wines.


Tim is going shopping I hear, maybe this website might be of interest! I think the writer covers Portugal very fairly with some excellent pics.....>

http://www.winescores.ca/newsletters/PortugalBeiras.htm

http://www.winescores.ca/newsletters/PortugalSouth.htm
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Roy Hersh

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Re: Wine Focus for January: Portugal

by Roy Hersh » Tue Jan 04, 2011 5:02 am

It has been several years since I've posted here on WLDG. Bob Parsons invited me to drop by and chat about Portuguese wines. Admittedly, my strength is Port, Madeira and Douro DOC wines, of which I taste over 500/year. I have had some limited exposure though in other areas of Portugal, only having visited Alentejo, Setubal (some of the finest Moscatel in the world!) and Vinho Verde beyond the aforementioned niche areas.

I disagree with the statement that Portugal is not making any wines that can rival the greatness of the Ports in Portugal though. I will only speak in terms of the Douro. There are some extraordinary table wines from the Douro, mostly red but some high end whites too. Sadly, many are not yet imported into the USA but plenty of them are. Producers such as Quinta do Crasto, Niepoort, Quinta do Portal, Alves de Sousa, Quinta do Vallado, Quinta do Vale Dona Maria, Quinta do Noval and Romaneira, Quinta de la Rosa, Quinta do Vale do Meao and so many others.

The quality of the Douro wines has grown exponentially since 2003, some might say 2000 ... and I wouldn't quibble. But the troika of 2003, 2004 and 2005 were extraordinary for their innate quality pretty much across the entire region (for the most part). While the rest of Europe's vines produced raisins :mrgreen: the heat in the Douro was just typical for the region in 2003 and many ripe but balanced wines were vinified. 2004 may just be the greatest overall vintage of Douro wines yet with so many that will age beautifully for 10-20+ years. 2005 saw better table wines in the Douro than Ports, but there are some producers that made their finest wines ever and I know for example, Dirk Niepoort loved his own 2005s. 2006 was somewhat problematic as on June 14th, there was a destructive hail storm that destroyed some vineyards (Vale D. Maria lost 60% of its grapes) while totally missing others, but spotty quality prevailed in many cases regardless of location or whether they were hit by that big storm. Still some fine wines were made and Crasto's red excelled along with several others.

2007 was a generally declared Port vintage, but from the mouths of the table wine producers, they love their 2007s. I have found that there are many which are just as good in 2008 from some producers, but if I had to choose, 2007 would win overall. 2009 I've only had whites and some cask samples, so the jury is still out.

I'll stop by a few times to see if anyone has any questions. On Robin's "Words About Port" he was kind enough to publish about 20 of my early articles on Port through the mid-part of the past decade. My appreciation for Robin's willingness to help back in the day and allowing me to co-host a live wine chat here on his website from 2000-2005 was extremely generous and it is nice to come back and visit.
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Re: Wine Focus for January: Portugal

by Tim York » Tue Jan 04, 2011 8:18 am

My experience of Douro table wine is obviously much less than Roy's but I did not find a bottle of top wine from one of his "great" producers, Alves de Sousa, on the level with comparable port when I drank it about 3 years ago. Here is my TN -

WTN: Quinta da Gaivosa Douro DOC 1999- Alc. 13.5% - (EUR 35 approx for current vintage).


C: Deep ruby.

N: Quite subdued but complex dark fruit, cherry with kirsch hints, sweet raspberry, plum and so on and (am I imagining it?) a dash of port.

P: “Wow” was the first impression. Deep, rich, complex, seamless fruit with a polished patina and good structure, mouth-shape and length with a dash of saddle and a dying hint of caramel at the finish but integrated and inoffensive. However as the bottle progressed no additional subtleties showed other than some liqueur notes and the wine did not consolidate its initial level of interest.

Very nice but not compelling like a fine Port (for those familiar with classical music it reminds me of the polished but undemanding beauty of Mendelssohn compared with the profundity of Brahms). Of course an 8 years old would a baby for vintage Port and maybe this one will get there with time. I wonder? 16/20.


Roy says that there has been a quality leap since 2000. Dirk Niepoort said something similar when I complained to him about VA on a Redoma 1995; I still have a bottle left and will take a look to see if it suffers in the same way. I am tempted to spend several tens of € on a top cuvée of a recent vintage of one of the producers Roy mentions, if I can find one. However it would be likely to be very young for my taste at present.
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Re: Wine Focus for January: Portugal

by Roy Hersh » Tue Jan 04, 2011 2:15 pm

Tim,

You make some solid points. First and foremost, Dirk's wines and winemaking began with Port in 1987 and his first Douro wine was the 1990 Robustus. His winemaking style evolved throughout the 1990s and by the end of the decade, quality had improved exponentially w/ practice and his young apprentice at the time, Jorge Serodio Borges, (now the winemaker for Quinta do Passadouro and also his joint venture with his winemaker/wife is called Wine & Soul, their brand is Pintas) who was with him through 2003. His next co-winemaker is a brilliant oenologist, with a fantastic palate, Luis Seabra. Luis is not really involved on the Port side with Dirk, as that is left to Nick Delaforce, but Luis and Dirk are making some stunning young Douro wines these days. Try anything after 2004. Vertente, Redoma, Batuta or Charme in descending order of his reds. My upcoming newsletter includes TNs on the 2008s and there will be more next month too.

Quinta do Crasto is making the most consistently high grade of Douro wines of all, imo. Look for anything between 2001 and 2007 and make sure to use a long decant for any of them. If you would like guidance, please feel free to check out our Tasting Note Data Base, which is free to use or send me an email. Try the Vinha da Ponte, Vinha Maria Teresa or Touriga Nacional bottlings for their top rung or their mid-tier, Vinha Velha Reserva bottling from nearly any vintage after 2000.

The Alves de Sousa 1995 is way before Domingoes was at his best winemaking and still experimenting. Try the 2004 if you want an epiphany, but it requires five to six hours in decanter today.

If you are judging the Douro based on early efforts, you will be disappointed but can see the uprising potential there. My first visit was in 1994 and at the time there were few if any Douro wines worth drinking, unless one did not mind rustic charms of heavy weighted, barely balanced, DOC wines ... Barca Velha notwithstanding. As mentioned, after the turn of the next decade things improved drastically and by 2003, many new players that formerly had made their livings based on selling grapes to the big Port houses, decided to go it alone and produce table wines under their own labels.

Some have become wildly successful. Quinta do Portal began in the mid-1990s with Port and shortly thereafter with Douro wine. The 2000 Tinto Reserve is a remarkable achievement and a stunning wine today. On my recent tour, our guests bought dozens and dozens of bottles of that wine for crazy low sums at the winery. They are making some beautiful DOC wines and their VPs and other Ports are in the hunt every single vintage. This is a name to watch and cellar worthy year in and year out.

Quinta do Noval is known for Nacional and the regular bottlings of Port but do not overlook what they're now achieving with table wines. Heck, they even did a recent Syrah bottling which was really solid, called Labrador. They also released Noval Black, which is a Ruby Reserve level of Port and possibly the finest example from the genre.

You are absolutely correct that the younger vintages, say 2007/8 which might be extraordinary in terms of quality Douro wines are painfully young to drink without a ton of air time. I prefer all my wine and Port with some age to it. In fact, I still have the first and second bottle of Port I ever purchased (back circa mid-1980s) so patience is not something I am lacking when it comes to wine and Port.

I am leaving out about 2 dozen great Douro wine producers but time here is limited.
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Re: Wine Focus for January: Portugal

by Dan G. » Tue Jan 04, 2011 5:38 pm

Wow, I love this forum -- I wonder how I was ever led astray!

I am no wine expert, but I love my wine. And I had the pleasure just more than a year ago to visit Porto for a weekend. It being winter -- and cold -- it was even more bereft of life than usual. My girlfriend and I, on the way down the hill to the other side of the river where all the port houses are, stopped into a little nice-looking bar for a few drinks of port to warm us up for the short journey ahead. We stayed for a few hours to drink the delicious juice and talk to our knowledgeable waiter/bartender who taught me so much about Port production. He mentioned, by the way, that Quinta do Portal is one of the most respected names in Port. Their tawnies, which cost about 10 euros there, are quite good.

The wine I wanted to share, though, is the Quinta de Baldias extra dry white port. At this bar, we were offered several flights of port. As it happened, I found the extra dry white intoxicating and was able to snag the last closed bottle they had. I have no idea of its availability elsewhere but it is wonderful. It's no Lagrima, which has about 140 grams of sugar in one bottle. It's drier than any other "extra dry" white port I tried there. My tasting notes are bad, since I finished the bottle sitting in front of me at least 5 months ago. But I recall rounded dry pear notes with just a tinge of acidity and the heft of that extra alcohol.

The most interesting thing about this wine -- it took months of it being open before it really tasted its best. When I tried it in the bar, it was spectacular. Some acidity, but not too much. The dry pear/apple notes came out very nicely. Then, when I finally opened the chilled bottle as spring and warm weather rolled around here in Freiburg, Germany, I was somewhat disappointed. I don't recall exactly what it tasted like, but it wasn't as good as in the bar. The waiter/bartender had said the bottle will be fine for up to about 5 months in the fridge, so I left it there. I only tried it again about 3 months later when I was afraid it was going to start getting bad.

Wow, what a difference. Whatever harshness there was had mellowed out, and the fruit flavors came out very much. I was very surprised by this -- I wonder if it's something that happens with other white ports as well.

In any case, to conclude this far-too-long post, I would highly recommend this port. It cost about 20 euros at that bar -- probably more outside Portugal. But if you get it, either wait a few months after opening and leaving it in the fridge, decant it first, or give it a good shake before drinking. :-) Saude!
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Re: Wine Focus for January: Portugal

by Andrew Bair » Tue Jan 04, 2011 9:54 pm

Bob Parsons Alberta. wrote:Here is one of my Pato impressions from last year.....>

WTN: N/V Luis Pato Casta Baga Bruto Vinho Espumante, Beiras Bairrada.

I think this is my third experience of this crisp sparkling Baga altho` I found previous bottle had better structure? Maybe somewhat tired this time around, cellared here two years.

12% alc, $20 Cdn, Lot 2005.

C. Copper tones/some pink. Small active bubbles. Seems a darker color this time around?

N. Pretty restrained floral for sure, some berries as it opens.

P. Raspberry, minerally cherry and a hint of herbs. Excellent acidity, fair mousse-feel on back of palate. Better as it warms up, do not serve too chilled. Pomegranite towards the end. Medium length feel, "this is good, quite subtle" from across the table. Very good match for braised ham steaks with blueberry compote.



Hi Bob -

Thank you for your note. I was just reading this thread to see what others have tried so far, and remember liking the Luis Pato Sparkling Baga a couple of years ago. Have not seen the Maria Gomes yet, but will keep an eye out for it.

BTW, in case anyone is interested, Maria Gomes is another name for the Fernão Pires grape.
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Re: Wine Focus for January: Portugal

by Bob Parsons Alberta » Tue Jan 04, 2011 10:48 pm

Some great posts in the last 24 hrs! A special thanks to Roy for visiting, his knowledge of all things Portugal is unmatched in my opinion. I am happy Roy picked out Portal as I have been praising their wines here for a couple of years.
The Crasto `03-05 Old Vines are superb and a good price, under $40 Cdn. The top end wines are quite expensive here (tax structure etc), up to $90 Cdn in some instances.

I have to add that even though I have fair experience in Portugal reds, I am concerned about some of the more "modern/international" reds showing up on the shelves here. There are not that many but buyer beware. Usually from wineries I have never come across before. A little research is not a bad thing when looking at Portugal on the shelf and I have to think that the winestore that only offers 1/2 reds may be only stocking no-name entry level stuff.
Hence the value of this months Focus, now we all have some names to go on!
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Re: Wine Focus for January: Portugal

by Roy Hersh » Wed Jan 05, 2011 12:14 am

Dan G.,

Was the bar your speak of on the Porto side of the Douro or on the Vila Nova de Gaia side. It kind of sounds like VINOLOGIA to me, but there are several possibilities.

Baldias is produced by Jose M. Barros and although he's been making Port for nearly 30 years that I know of, this producer rarely has had any "wow wines or Ports." It is not in the USA and I've only heard about it reaching outside of Portugal in Sweden and Norway. That doesn't mean it can't be found elsewhere, just that I know of collectors who have enjoyed it in those two countries.
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Re: Wine Focus for January: Portugal

by Roy Hersh » Wed Jan 05, 2011 12:18 am

Andrew,

What part of Mass. are you from? It always amazes me the diverse collection of Portuguese wines available there ... although impossible to get shipped out of the state. :(
The Portuguese communities in Rhode Island and Mass. are almost as large as Newark, NJ and San Jose, CA. But the good news is, there are a slew of great importers who specialize in Portuguese wines that are located in MA. You are very fortunate and I am jealous. :oops:
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Re: Wine Focus for January: Portugal

by Bob Parsons Alberta » Wed Jan 05, 2011 12:47 am

Yeah Andrew. Any good store websites you can share with us, so we can see range of wines!!
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Re: Wine Focus for January: Portugal

by Andrew Bair » Wed Jan 05, 2011 1:37 am

Bob Parsons Alberta. wrote:Yeah Andrew. Any good store websites you can share with us, so we can see range of wines!!



Hi Bob -

Thank you for the message. Unfortunately, most of the stores that I frequent do not have comprehensive listings of their stock on their websites - not surprising, given that Massachusetts does not allow direct shipping of wine. For example, I shop a lot at Marty's in Newton, and they only show Port under their Portuguese wine section. (http://www.martysfinewine.com/results?c ... nobounce=1). Their current newsletter does show a few Portuguese dry wines because they are featuring Portuguese wines this month. (http://www.martysfinewine.com/results?c ... nobounce=1). Local retailers who do list more of their inventory on their websites, such as Gordon's (www.gordonswine.com), don't show much there beyond the standard selections of Port and Vinho Verde.

One small place around me that has an interesting, albeit small, selection of Portuguese dry wines is The Spirited Gourmet in Belmont, but they don't have much of their inventory on their website yet, which they are in the process of re-doing. (http://www.thespiritedgourmet.com/index.php)

Roy is correct that we do have some good importers of Portuguese wines around here. I live in west suburban Greater Boston, about 1 1/2 hours from the Fall River/New Bedford vicinity, where there tends to be the largest Portuguese population in Massachusetts. Next time I am in that area, I will have to visit some of the local wine retailers and see what they have.

I will admit to being a novice when it comes to dry wines from Portugal, but have tried a few things here and there. One of the dry Portuguese wines that a few local retailers around here have been excited about over the past year is the Mica Vinho Verde from Antonio Lopez Ribeiro. Unlike most Vinho Verdes, it is completely still, and has it sights set on being something beyond a fizzy summer sipper. I wasn't sure what to make of it the first time that I tried it last spring, but I had the 2009 vintage at a tasting this fall, and was impressed with the balance and minerality.

As far as the list that you sent me: I liked the CARM Reserva Branco from 2005, but have not tried any other vintages yet. If the JM da Fonseca Moscatel de Setubal 20 Anos on the list is the 20 Year Moscatel Roxo, then I would definitely recommend that if it is in your price range.

Anyway, hope this helps.
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Andrew Bair

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Re: Wine Focus for January: Portugal

by Andrew Bair » Wed Jan 05, 2011 1:44 am

Roy Hersh wrote:Andrew,

What part of Mass. are you from? It always amazes me the diverse collection of Portuguese wines available there ... although impossible to get shipped out of the state. :(
The Portuguese communities in Rhode Island and Mass. are almost as large as Newark, NJ and San Jose, CA. But the good news is, there are a slew of great importers who specialize in Portuguese wines that are located in MA. You are very fortunate and I am jealous. :oops:



Hi Roy -

Nice to see you here. As I mentioned in my response to Bob, I am from the suburbs west of Boston, so Fall River and Rhode Island are really a day trip away for me. Since I haven't explored Portuguese wines that much yet, other than Port, I will need to make a trip down that way sometime and pick up some bottles to try out.

As far as local importers of Portuguese wines, I am most familiar with Aidil and Grape Moments, both of which have been represented several times at various local wine events which I have attended.
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Joe Moryl

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Re: Wine Focus for January: Portugal

by Joe Moryl » Wed Jan 05, 2011 2:03 am

We might debate if the Douro makes really great wines, but I think Portugal really shines at producing quality everyday drinkers with a distinctive personality. Case in point:

2007 Dona Ermelinda Tinto, Casa Ermelinda Freitas, Palmela DOC: Palmela is a DOC on the Setubal Peninsula south of Lisbon. This area is known for reds from the Castelao (aka Periquita) grape grown in warm, sandy soils (and delicious fortified Muscats). A deep carmine wine - no traces of violet in the color. Has a fairly shy nose of red fruit. On the palate, one is struck by some soft, ripe tannins, good crisp acidity and raspberry fruit. One is almost tempted to call it zinberry: given this wine blind I might guess a restrained Zin like Nalle. Decent length with traces of tar and cocoa. Not overly complex, but a satisfying everyday wine certainly worth the $8 tariff. 13.5% abv.
Last edited by Joe Moryl on Thu Jan 06, 2011 11:44 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Roy Hersh

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Re: Wine Focus for January: Portugal

by Roy Hersh » Wed Jan 05, 2011 2:30 am

Andrew,

The Roxo 20 year old Moscatel from JM de Fonseca has not been made in years. Eight years ago, they finally replaced it with a newer bottling, called "Alambre" which is also a 20 year old blend. However, having had them side-by-side, I do not find the Alambre of the same caliber. I still have two bottles of Roxo and really miss that stunning bottling. See if you can find some vintage version, usually the 1962 sells quite inexpensively.


BTW, do you drink Port w/ my friend Moses B. who lives in your area?
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