February 18, 2019
Last week, as I started to work up a pot of Midwestern US-style chili, I went to the rack to find a good solid tinto to go with it. I came up with the Monte da Ravasquiera Seleção do Ano 2017 Colheita that we’d scored from our quickly-becoming-favorite Covarin in Janas. Perfect.
The wine comes from a blend of Touriga Nacional, Aragonez, Syrah, and Alicante Bouschet in equal parts, with 20% batch-staged in wood–to preserve the special character of the specific grapes selected for the project. The result smelled of dusty roadside flowers and roses, with a bit of spicy meat underneath. The moderate mouthfeel smoothed the tannins–this is not a fruit bomb but has a solid taste of blackberries running through it. A marvelous match for our spicy, tomato- and pepper-rich chili (with local red beans, of course). 13,5% abv.
Vintage & Producer: 2017 Monte da Ravasqueira
From: VR Alentejano
Style: Floral, meaty, berry-filled red
Varieties: Touriga Nacional, Aragonez, Syrah, and Alicante Bouschet
Price: About €5,50 at the local supermercado
February 11, 2019
The image of the woman on the wine’s label drew me to pick it up at our local Covarin. The white, Nana, from Quinta da Lapa in the Tejo viticultural region, featured my three favorite Portuguese grapes (and the most-planted in the country): Arinto, Fernao Pires, and Alvarinho. Turns out that it’s named after the “Nana” that Portuguese mothers so often become, warm and welcoming to their families and friends.
The blend creates aromas of green herbs, almost a green garlic on buttered toast, moving into pineapple. On the palate, more fresh pineapple and baking spices, with a clear and moderate acidity. We enjoyed it with pan-fried pork-and-chive dumplings for Lunar New Year, which played off the herbal notes in the wine. 13% abv.
Vintage & Producer: 2017 Quinta da Lapa
From: VR Tejo
Style: Tropical white with herbal aromas
Varieties: Arinto, Fernão Pires, and Alvarinho
Price: About €6 at the local supermercado
February 4, 2019
When friends brought us a bottle of tinto from the Dão for a party last weekend, we gladly popped it open to have with Stephen’s birthday fruitcake (with marzipan, of course). The rich grapes in a standard DOC Dão blend marry well with the dried figs and dates (and almond notes) in the cake–and act as a balance to the sweetness of the frosting.
The wine in question, the Eloquente Colheita 2015, from the União das Adegas Cooperativas do Dão, gives off aromas of rose, nutmeg, and red fruits, and tasted to me like spiced cranberries on the palate. With medium weight and tannins, it shows an elegance belying its price, but not the recent gold medal it received at the Concursos Melhores Vinhos do Dão Engarrafados 2018 last summer. So it’s a great bottle to have for an everyday red–and a special event too.
Vintage & Producer: 2015 União das Adegas Cooperativas do Dão
From: DOC Dão
Style: Fruity red with floral aromas
Varieties: Tinto blend
Price: About €2,50 at the local supermercado