portugal

You are currently browsing articles tagged portugal.

aphors loureiro 2011 lima vinho verde

As much as Loureiro and Vinho Verde are both worth a full description (probably way more than a blogpost in fact), I just read Harpo Speaks! And standing on one’s head is precisely the type of activity that Harpo advocated in word and in action, both for himself in Monaco casinos and for his children in his house rules. So, today there is no description of wine. Or Loureiro.

Today there is only mayhem related to topics other than wine. To families gathering and figuring out the best for ourselves as individuals and trying to find the best for ourselves as relatives together. To Fringe Wine – for writing 282 posts and bringing estoerica to the topics of the google search pages while fighting for what is far more important. To surrealists in whatever form, in whatever age. To nights on rooftops with clouds and rain. To books unread and un-reread. To nights and days and vespers best. To wandering and forests black, but most of all to sunflowers at dawn. To hostas and rose on the North Fork. To homemade chicken, rice and you. To what remains and what’s the same – an M. Wells dish and night of bliss. To family and friends remiss, to what we have at finger tips and what lies just beyond, where dreams insist.

Detail Up!
Loureiro, 2011 Aphros 12.0% abv, Vinho Verde from Lima River area in Galicia, Portugal

Taste
Acidic and crisp. Similar to Sauvignon Blanc but less of a finish. Little bit of lime but you have to look for it. Lemon is more present but still fairly subtle. Pairs really well with fish esp with lemon on top

Random Googles:
* Lima, one of my favorite words in any language, happens to be the river that flows through Galicia, the very northwestern areas of Portugal that produces Vinho Verde thanks to the many Celt ancestors that settled in this area… along with Ireland, Scotland and other crazy-beautiful parts of earth.
* Loueriro is a kissing cousin to Albarinho, the Portunhol grape that is loved and forgotten by many a good Spaniard
* Loureiro means “laurel” or “bay”, which is apparently based on the smell of the wine. I did not notice that but probably couldn’t identify either spice… unless the smell of Old Bay french fries is somehow related

Tags: ,

Moscatel de Setubal 2004 Jose Maria da FonsecaJokes in Canada
Someone once told me that receiving ice wine is a joke in Canada. Doesn’t seem like much of a punch line but in that quaintly Canadian way, even being the butt of a joke has an uplifting quality. Apparently though, ice wine is the most re-gifted present that exists in the frozen north. People just don’t open these rare treasures known as dessert wines.

Awkward Morning on Wednesday
I get it though – it’s high alcohol, they spoil easily and they’re really expensive. Even half a bottle of these dessert wines run pretty consistently in the $40-50 range. A nice present to be sure, although probably not what you’re opening on your own on a Tuesday with pizza, especially since finishing a bottle on your own could be pretty terrible for Wednesday morning.

Affordable Liquid Dessert
Being a great fantasizer about dessert wines of all kinds though, I am happy to identify that there are at least a couple of affordable, small bottles available. Moscatel de Setubal certainly qualifies – the bottle that I bought was $12 I believe. The empty bottle you see above is one that my brother and I polished off on our front porch in Chicago on a sunny day, the occasion for which I have long since forgotten.

Memories… of Men and Moscatel
This weekend reminded me of that time though as that brother, along with all of my siblings, parents and significant others, came to visit. And yes, we had lots of beer, treats and wines. Moscatel de Setubal of another bottle was drunk and we left the bottle similarly empty at the end of the weekend. Apparently, Canadians don’t invite their relatives over very often… or (more likely) their relatives refuse to visit because it’s Canada. Just kidding – we all love Tim Horton’s.

Taste
Apricot, candied, rich, long finish. Some bosch pear and wildflower honey. The other one we tried this weekend (not this brand identified) also had a cool tea finish to it.

Detail Up!
2004 Moscatel de Setubal DOC, a fortified dessert Wine by Jose Maria da Fonseca in Setubal, Portugal

Random Googles:
* There are 9 types of Moscatel currently recognized by Wikipedia: Moscato Bianco, Moscato Rosa, this Moscatel de Setubal, Muscat of Alexandria, Muscat Ottonel, Black Muscat, Orange Muscat, Muscat Crocant and Moravian Muscat. Four down, five to go.
* Setubal is only 30 minutes outside of Lisbon – about the same as going to Sintra, the famous tourist destination thanks to Lord Byron’s poetry, just in the opposite direction
* Juan Maria da Fonseca also makes a really good dry red, Periquita. 🙂 for those who learned the word through slang in Brazil.

Tags: ,

RWC Madeira Savannah Verdelho

Least Favorite of the Best
Verdelho might be my least favorite Madeira grape, through no fault of its own. There’s little to dislike about the grape, seeing as it grows on Madeira, has a slightly sweet and mostly nutty flavor, and works with all kinds of foods – more foods in fact, than most grapes on the market.

Not quite taking on Molten Lava Chocolate Cake
And yet, Verdelho doesn’t seem to have a very strong or clear identity. Of the four noble Madeira grapes – Sercial, Verdelho, Bual and Malmsey – the first and last have clear identities that mark them as the ends of the Madeira spectrum. Sercial has that really nutty dryness going on, and Malmsey has to be one of the truly great grapes in the world. Seriously, I still haven’t found another grape that holds up to the molten lava chocolate cake… and wins.

Process of Elimination
Bual’s a pretty delicious grape too. Granted, it’s not KO’ing any seriously bad-for-you desserts but it’s sweet and complex, and comes in lots of styles from quite a few producers. Tinta Negra Mole has that under-dog image going for it since it’s not in the noble grape category, Bastardo has a name that just makes you want to love it, Moscatel’s all around goodness and Terrantez is really close to going extinct so it’s important to fight for it, even if its taste isn’t the greatest (sample size 1). So sorry, Verdelho – you’re nutty and complex, but it’s just not enough to avoid being the least favorite Madeira grape. Good thing you still beat most of the wines on the market.

Taste
Figs, burnt caramel, custard and brown sugar on the nose. Nutty and almonds but slightly sweet on the taste. Chewy and dry finish, with back of the mouth salivating and cleansing refresher on the tongue and teeth – how Zeus would brush his teeth.

Detail Up!
Rare Wine Company Historic Series – Savannah Verdelho Madeira in Madeira, Portugal

Random Googles:
* Australia has a long history of producing Verdelho in nearly all wine-producing parts of the country, where it has more of a honeysuckle and lime flavor than its European brethren.
* Verdelho is one of 82 permitted grape varieties in Port, and even makes the cut into the “Recommended” grapes for Port.
* Star Mixologists can even use Verdelho Madeira in creating their drinks

Tags: , , ,

Snobby Veneer
Knowing lots about wine and grapes can certainly have its downsides. Snobbery and know-it-all-ism might just be the force of the wine world and, despite all the efforts of next wave wine nerds to disperse that perception, that perception lingers and wine remains in the realm of the experts. Fortunately, as an amateur, I’m not often troubled by that particular deficiency of knowing too much. And in the case of this wine it’s a really good thing.

Baga Who?, Baga What?
Had I known more about Baga, I would have thought that the wine was going to be extremely high in tannins, making it extra puckery and causing the tongue to become glued to the top of the mouth. In my mind, that’s the kind of wine that only becomes drinkable after a dozen years of shelving and in my household, where wines rarely make it a year, it just means the wine tastes “ick.” Fortunately, I knew nothing about Baga and jumped right into the bottle.

Taste of Ignorance
Like a truthful Pinocchio, the wine has almost no nose. Plenty of taste though, with blackberry and black cherries leading the charge and oak backing up the blackberry cavalry like a stout, noticeable infantry. Color is way darker than it tastes, which says a lot with the black fruits on the tongue. Medium to light body with a long smooth landing reminiscent of clear skies at JFK – drink now through Thursday.

Image h/t: http://www.luaazul.com

Detail Up!
Quinta do Encontro 2009 of Bairrada DOC from Beiras, Portugal

Random Googles:
* Bairrada isn´t the only famous DOC wine region in Beiras. Dão, maker of some of Portugal´s finest rustic reds, also hails from Beiras.
* Winemakers usually blend their Baga (presumably, because it’s so highly tannic) with mellower grapes like Merlot or Touriga Nacional.
* Baga became famed as the “Fake Port” before the British got pissed and demanded the pulling up of all the vines. Only in 1979 did Bairrada become part of the system of the DOC, making the wine Bigger and Baga.

Tags: , ,

Shakespearean Mischief
Puck was always my favorite character in Shakespeare. Something about his making mischief in a good-hearted way (usually) made him stand out from all the serious characters enmeshed in global intrigue, family vengeance and overly-dramatic love sequences. Puck has none of that – he wants to create mischief and maybe mess with the protagonists a bit.

Iberian Puck
Now if Puck were drinking wine, it’s pretty clear to me that he’d be drinking Iberian wine. One specific grape from the Iberian peninsula, to be precise. This is the grape that seems to go by every name on the planet and manages to blend in with its surroundings impressively. Spain, Portugal, California – this grape of mystery is the spy that infiltrated them all, always under an assumed name.

Bottom’s Up
Aragones is the name on the bottle of this blend (with Trincadeira and Castelao – two Portuguese grapes that were once thought to be the same). But wikipedia lists out dozens of synonyms so expect to be tricked many times. I sure have. And I’m pleased to be tricked, time and again, just so long as Nick Bottom isn’t my eventual life-partner.

Puckish Wine FTW
So, for the second time, this grape has tricked me. Well played, Puck/ Aragones/ Cencibel/ Tempranillo. Your name will not be forgotten (but we probably won’t learn all the synonyms either).

Taste:
Opinion divided at this wino’s household. Nobody loved it exactly and nobody hated it, but 3/7 of the home disliked it and found it too dry. A slight majority liked it for its black fruit and thought it better with food than on its own. It’s on the lighter side with spice of the Midwestern variety (i.e. black pepper), not the Thai/Indian/Mexican inferno that also goes by “spice.” Smooth and holds together really well without a super long finish. At $9, we’re talking a pretty great value for everyday wine. But try it first – you might be part of that 3/7th.

Detail Up!
Herdade do Esporão Portugal Red 2009 “Monte Velho Red” from Alentejo (halfway down from Lisbon), Portugal

Random Googles:
* Castelão, one of the two new grapes, has a pretty amazing synonym – Periquita. It means “parakeet” in Portuguese and nobody’s exactly sure why.
* Castelão and Trincadeira (aka Tinta Amarela), today’s new grapes, are both from Portugal, in areas south of Lisbon. Like many grapes in Portugal, they’re permitted in Port wine. Don’t try and name all 82 port wine grapes – you’ll fail and someone else will have finished the bottle.
* Trincadeira took home an award in the value wine arena. Surprisingly, the bottle was from Australia.

Tags: , , , , ,

« Older entries