Wines of Portugal Tasting – reds

Another cold, rainy day. Sometimes, I think, “wouldn’t it be nice to live somewhere warm and sunny, like Portugal?” Then I could enjoy their vinous offerings all the time.
Last time I wrote about my fav whites from the Portugese wine tasting, now I’m doing the reds. Touriga Nacional, Baga, Jaen, Tinto Roriz (aka Tempranillo), Trincadeiro, Aragonez, Castalao and a smattering of international varieties were all there along with other lesser known Portuguese varieties.
I did the reds after the whites, as you do, and even thought I was being a very conscientious spitter, my notes are not as comprehensive. Casa Santos Lima, producer of the aforementioned Quinta de Bons Ventos also did a soft and fruity red from the Alenquer DOC – Quinta das Setencostas, a blend primarily of Castelao, Camarate, Tinta Miuda and Preto Martinho.
Luis Pato had some impressive Bagas on tasting. The baga has a bit more structure and tannin then Touriga Nacional. Luis’ Vinha Barrosa 200 ws clean and fresh, bright eyed and bushy tailed with lively underlying fruit. Ayeshe, my colleague who was tasting with me, loved it. The Vinhas Velhas 2005 was another big wine with lots of  morello cherry, black cherry and plenty of tannins to give it backbone.  I scribbled black forest gateau somewhere on my notes but maybe I was getting a bit caught up in the tasting. Baga gives wines that were built to last. These are not wines that will go gently into that good night.
Herdade Paco do Conde from Alentejo DOC was another producer that I really liked. I think I was more bowled over by their slick brochures at first but the wines definitely passed the taste test. The Paco do Conde 2006 is a real winner. A blend of Aragones, Cab, Trincadeira and Alicante, I like meaty, savory wines and this one hit all the right notes. A bit of autumnal woodiness along with a big, smoky bacon nose hits you first and then onto the palate. More of that smokiness with a hint of toast and some lovely dark cherry and red fruits coming thru before ending again with a hit of toast. I took this one to the shop the  next day and Sarah, my colleague thinks we should try and get it listed because at it’s price point (around £5) you’d be hard pressed to find anything better. Pedro gave me a few bottles to take home so over the next couple of days, I’ll be tasting them.
Quinto de Cotto had a couple of Douro reds made up primarily of Touriga Nacional and Tinto Roriz. What is different about their wines is that they are aged in Portuguese oak only, no French or American oak allowed. Rosa, from the winery, said that this brought out the true nature of Portuguese wines. Well, their wines definitely  had something about them. The first, a 2005 had a pleasing minerality to the nose with hints of toast, plenty of smooth tannins and red fruit on the palate. The second, Cotto Grande Escolha 2001 was a powerhouse of wine, very perfumed with floral notes of violet and heaps of dark berry fruit on the palate. This wine was still very youthful with good body and tannins to die for. Another wine built to last.
There were so many others but I’m getting tired so I think I’ll stop my ravings now. All I can say is, don’t overlook the great wines coming from Portugal nowadays. They really are great value and well made. Until next time….

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