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Some Tasty Portuguese Reds


Jenn and I recently tasted through four different Portuguese wines that could offer a change to your weekly wine lineup.  The 2011 Monte Velho, Alentejano provides distinct Portuguese flavors at a very attractive price.   I would venture that if you like maturity and wood box flavors to your Bordeaux you will enjoy the 2009 Quinta da Rosa Vinhos, douROSA, Douro.  Not that it tastes like Bordeaux but it is showing its maturity very well right now.   The 2012 Quinta do Crasto, Crasto, Douro is quite effusive with its fruit and should be a general crowd pleaser.  It is a nice follow-on to the previous vintage.   The 2010 Esporao, Reserva, Alentejo was the most backwards of the four.  On the second night the wine revealed it has some good things to come but it really is best left in the cellar.  I was a little concerned by the vanilla note but things should come together with age.  If you are concerned then you cannot go wrong with the Monte Velho and the Quinta do Crasto.  I have this sneaking suspicion that there might be some stunning Douro red wines in the $15-$20 per bottle range. These wines were purchased at MacArthur Beverages.

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2011 Monte Velho, Alentejano – $10
Imported by Aidil Wines & Liquors.  This wine is a blend of 40% Trincadeira, 40% Aragonez, and 20% Castelao.  Alcohol 14%.  This was a grapey ruby color that matched the grapey, black fruit on the nose.  In the mouth there was weight to the purple-black fruit from the start.  There was both a tangy hint and force to the flavors which began as grapey then became riper.  There was also some texture and black minerals.  ** Now-2017.

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2009 Quinta da Rosa Vinhos, douROSA, Douro – $15
Imported by William-Harrison Imports.  This wine is a blend of 35% Touriga Franca, 35% Tinta Roriz.  and 30% Touriga Nacional.  Alcohol 14%.  Tasted over two nights this maintained a slightly pungent nose.  In the mouth were wood box natures, black fruit, and general maturity which was attractive.  The flavors became plummy with some integrated acidity followed by tang near the finish.  The flavors were dry and a little salty.  The very fine and dry tannins left a touch of roughness in the end.  *** Now but will last.

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2012 Quinta do Crasto, Crasto, Douro – $15
Imported by Broadbent Selections.  This wine is a blend of 35% Touriga Nacional, 30% Tinta Roriz, 25% Touriga Franca, and 10% Tinta Barroca.  Alcohol 14%.  The nose was immediately fragrant with grapey and floral aromas.  In the mouth there was red fruit which quickly turned blacker with riper and sweeter fruit (not residual sugar) that had a cinnamon note.  This made way to minerals in the finish and spices in the aftertaste.  There acidity was there and noticeable on the tongue tip.  This youthful wine was still compact and should drink well over the short term.  *** Now-2017.

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2010 Esporao, Reserva, Alentejo – $25
Imported by Aidil Wines & Liquors.  This wine is a blend of Aragonês, Trincadeira, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Alicante Bouschet sourced from 15 year old vines.  It was fermented in stainless steel then aged for 12 months in French and American oak.  Alcohol 14.5%.  This had a subtle nose.  In the mouth were some roast notes with drying tannins that lead to a firm structure mixed with black minerals.  The flavors were a little racy and spicy with a citric nature and cinnamon hint.  With air the good fruit was noticeable but still low-lying.  It became a bit softer with a round, vanilla nature and perhaps some tar in the finish.  Needs age.  **(*) 2016-2022.

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