“Of oil, wine, and friends, the oldest.” ….. Portuguese Proverb

Let’s move on to unfairly neglected Portugal.  Wine from Portugal is generally inexpensive and offers numerous bargains to be enjoyed. As a rule, the wine is delicious, different and, for me, a necessary transition into each fall season. Funny how those grapes grown in the Dao, south of Oporto, surrounded by mountains more in Portugal’s interior and with a more continental climate, make for wine that is so incredibly appropriate for fall in my cool-continental climate area. Each year, I mark this change of the seasons with wine from Portugal.

This 2014 Cabriz's Colheita Seleccionada Red (they also make a white) exemplifies why: Full bodied, textured, the mouthfeel of Portuguese wine is itself a marker in any blind tasting. Consider the grapes: 20% Touriga Nacional – the grape of port wine, 20% Tinta Roriz (grown extensively in Portugal but you may know it better as Spain’s Tempranillo) and 40% Alfrocheiro (a grape suspected to be native to Portugal, mostly grown in the Dao and noted for its velvety texture and spice). Branded by Cabriz, this wine is deep purple, from extracted fruit, in the glass and offers aromas of earthy blackberry compote with a note of kirsch.

As with all Portuguese wines, it coats the palate. Plum becomes prune-like with raisin and includes notes of blackberry jam. Flavors are concentrated with dark cherry, dry but juicy, along with dried raspberry. Seamlessly mixed with the plum/prune, these flavors are more roasted than fresh and are perfect for fall. Some violet completes the complexity, though other tasters got white chocolate and licorice. We all agreed on notes of pepper and herbs, though for me – more herbs and less pepper. Most impressive:  the wine holds up in the bottle easily for 2, even 3 days without losing any of its appeal. In fact, the taste actually took on more of a fresh fruit character on the second day.

The ARP for this wine is ridiculous at $9 and it can be found for even less. It was ranked #46 as one of the top 100 wines of 2016 by Wine Spectator, awarded 90 points and also rated as a “Best Value.” Wine Enthusiast assigned it 87 points, referring to it being “ripe, full of black fruit” and “rich and fruity, soft tannins with full bodied structure”. I mention this because I too found the tannins VERY soft as opposed to a very few other tasters. Of course, all palates are personal: some tasters referred to “forest fruits” (I agree) but also “fresh red fruit” (I found it more roasted and black initially). All that aside, the wine itself is delicious and, for me, perfect as fall announces itself. And, at less than $10, it is not to be missed. I’d even call it “case worthy”. Imported (locally) by Tri Vin Imports. ALC: 13%. Bottled by Global Wines, Inc. 

Viva!  Saude!  Tchim-tchim!
……………………………… Jim

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