Thursday, October 11, 2007

Wine Blog Wednesday 38 - Portugal.

My how quickly a month goes by. So much has happened in the last month, that my posting rate has declined slightly, but Im going to try and post more frequently this month. What better way to start than with our monthly on-line festival of wine that is Wine Blog Wednesday.

Ryan and Gabrielle Opaz of Catavino have selected a theme, that is very close to their hearts, vineously and of course geographically. I really like the geography themed WBW because they encourage us to explore new regions and Im sure in many cases unfamilar regions. Now most peoples experience of Portugese wines will be limited to the occasional glass of port after dinner (and many of them will consequently blame the horrendous hangover the following morning to that single glass of port!!).

The wine Ive selected for this WBW is Quinta dos Roques Reserva 1999 from Dao. Its a Denominacao de Origem Controlada, which is the highest quality rating in Portugal. Quinta dos Roques is a relatively new estate, the vineyards were replanted in the 80's and they made their own wine from then. It is a curious blend of traditional grapes and wines, made in a modern winery, to a fairly modern style. Ive always considered the wines of Portugal to be very rustic, more food orientated than drinking on their own kind of wines, but I think that reflects the whole cultural impact of wine and cuisine that you find on the continent, and that seems to be missing from the new world.

The Reserva is a blend (as it would seem most Portugese reds are), predominantly Touriga Nacional, with a bit of Tinta Roriz and Tinta Cao, some Alfrocheiro and a dash of Jaen. All thats missing is the high alcohol content and it could probably pass off as a half decent port! The fruit comes from a single vineyard, the Peach Tree (Pessegueiro) vineyard. It spent about 14 months in barrel before being bottled.

On the nose it has spicy dark fruit aromas, it kind of reminds me a bit of xmas pudding, you have a touch of spice to it, raisins, cherries, there are even hints of chocolate here too. There is something almost feral in there too, cant quite pin it down, but it isnt off putting. From the nose I would have to say that I think this wine has seen better days, dont get me wrong its still drinkable, but I reckon its glory days were maybe a year or two ago.
On the palate the dark fruit comes through bathed in spices, more cinnamon with hints of ginger spices too. The tannins are still quite firm, and the wine follows through with a rich chocolatey finish which almost contradicts my earlier thoughts about being past its prime. I dont think this is the kind of wine to drink on its own. It needs food. But it isnt going to complement my ham and cheese sandwich very well, this needs something a bit meatier. I would serve this with something like the pork belly, rubbed in spices and glazed with honey. Some green beans and crushed new potatoes would finish that off nicely. As the wine sits with an ABV of 12.5%, its not going to send you senseless either. Overall Im quite happy with the wine, given the choice I would have prefered a slightly younger vintage, but this older bottle has actually distinguised itself well. Ive got 9 bottles left kicking around the cellar, so maybe I ought to re-list it as a curiousity, perhaps the sommeliers selection for the month.

Many thanks to Ryan and Gabrielle for the great theme, cant wait for next months theme, and I must make the effort to keep on blogging!


Marcus said...

Hi there grazza,

Just realizing now that our notes are very similar here. I did the younger 2003 vintage of this wine.

From ideas on foods to reactions to its nose and palate... a great exercise. happy new year!

Marcus said... is the URL to my notes, if you want to compare.