July 29, 2019

A year since we last visited Casal Sta. Maria, I thought it was time to try a bottle of the 2016 Malvasia to see how it had developed. Now, this is not the DOC Colares Malvasia de Colares, but one grown in clay soils and under the VR Lisboa designation. However, the climate is very similar, of course, to that of the DOC grapes–close by the Atlantic Ocean, and exposed to those breezes and relatively cool summer temperatures compared to the rest of the region.

The white wine has a gold-green straw color, and shows lanolin and lemon zest aromas. There’s more lemon zest on the palate, with a bit of pith, and a trademark saline finish. A marvelous choice with a grilled robablo accompanied by a fresh salsa. 13% abv.

Vintage & Producer: 2016 Casal Sta. Maria

From: VR Lisboa

Style: Fresh, citrusy white

Variety: Malvasia

Price: Approximately €12 at the winery’s loja

July 22, 2019

A complex, layered, intriguing wine fit for a very special birthday–both the 50th for the harvest, and for its host. When I ordered the 1969 Collares Ramisco from Viúva Gomes at Miguel Laffran at Atlântico earlier this month, the sommelier blanched a bit, as he would have liked to have decanted the wine for longer. In the end, it was perfect to taste it as it unfolded over the course of an hour during our dinner.

Adega Viúva Gomes present were not the vinifiers of this historic wine–they acquired the lots when the Beatas purchased the adega in 1988. When I tried the wine last year at the adega, it was just to sample a glass, not to take it into serious contemplation, as I was able to do this time around.

The first aromas from the newly decanted wine were distinctly port-like, with raisins and a whiff of sweat. These evolved into leathery undertones as the wine opened. On the palate, Szechuan peppercorns and brilliant acidity at first, and a touch of salinity. Cherries start to come through as the animal essences subside. Next, 30 minutes later, a whiff of smoke and more raisin, as the aromas unfold again, then woody flowers, stems, and star anise. One last taste: The body weakens a bit after an hour as the aromas continue.

We tried the very last of the bottle the next day–and most of the magic had dissipated, leaving me to conclude just a moderate amount of decanting (mostly to manage the sediment) is wise. A fascinating wine.

Vintage & Producer: 1969 Adega Viúva Gomes

From: Colares DOC

Style: Complex, light-to-medium bodied red

Variety: Ramisco

Price: €125 on the wine list at Atlântico

July 15, 2019

The Minho viticultural region is well known for its Alvarinho grapes–but it’s not as famous as its Spanish neighbor, Rias Baixas, is for the Albariño variety that grows there. Sure, they are the same grape by strain, but express themselves a bit differently. We know which one we’re partial to…including the Juste 2017 Alvarinho we had recently at a dinner out with friends.

Pear aromas accented by kaffir lime leaves played on the nose, with an underpinning of coriander spice on the palate. The body is light and ever-so-slightly frizzante. A lovely aperitif wine, or one to have with ceviche. From Casa de Juste. 12.5% abv.

Vintage & Produce: 2017 Casa de Juste

From: VR Minho

Style: Lightly frizzante white with fruit aromas

Variety: Alvarinho

Price: €11 at a local restaurant

July 8, 2019

We shared a great sushi meal with friends last week, and one of the wines that perfectly accompanied the wide range of fish and flavors was the rosé of vinho verde from Juste. Casa de Juste is an agriturismo, or farmhouse accommodation, in the Minho region of Portugal near Lousada.

The 2017 dry style rosé is made from two different grapes, Espadeiro and Touriga Nacional, and touches off with aromas of red fruits that carry through the palate. A rosé of moderate body and very harmonious. 11.5% abv.

Vintage & Producer: 2017 Casa de Juste

From: Vinho Verde DOC

Style: Dry, medium-bodied rosé

Varieties: Espadeiro and Touriga Nacional

Price: €13 on the wine list at Ka Sushi Cave

July 1, 2019

The vines have sprung into full leaf in the Colares DOC, and it’s time also that many producers release their vintages from last year, after a bit of rest in the bottle. For the Chão Rijo tinto from our local Adega Regional de Colares, the most recent selection is from 2016–to account for the aging in oak casks that it undergoes before bottling.

The 2016 tinto is a blend of Castelão and Tinta Roriz grapes, and it shows red fruits, with iron on the palate, and a touch of pine nuts. Like the more famous Colares wines, it’s still young at three years since harvest, so you can try a bottle now with your porcos secretos, and stash a few away for the winter…or next summer’s grilling season. 12.5% abv.

Vintage & Producer: 2016 Adega Regional de Colares

From: VR Lisboa

Style: Fruity, medium-bodied red

Varieties: Castelão and Tinta Roriz

Price: €4,20 at the adega

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