Caravan to the Wine Authorities

The giddiness rolled over me like laughing waves…as I sped down I-81 towards North Carolina, the realization hit me.

North Carolina…I would be in Greensboro visiting a very best wino friend… and though Durham would be a few miles down the road, for the first time since I’d moved back to the U.S. I would be within striking distance of Wine Authorities, the importer for our dear friends at Quinta de Sant’Ana.

I’d signed up for their weekly missives, and all at once, I was in a place to make an order for curbside pickup. How I would have loved to have browsed their aisles, but with COVID’s necessities, I’d settle for a surreptitious delivery straight into the back end of our Subaru.

The boutique wine store (with outlets in Durham and Raleigh) offers many other choices from Portugal, so with my case of Quinta de Sant’Ana I tried out several of their selections–which I will cover in a separate post.

Loaded and ready for the road, we couldn’t wait to get home and parcel out our stash. I gave Lori a cut for just being one of my besties–and one who had visited the quinta with me just before we left Portugal in July 2019.

Among the case I took back–several old friends with a few new vintages thrown in. I was particularly interested in trying the quinta’s first Arinto vintage.


Tinto 2016

Deep garnet color

Moderate density/opacity

Aromas of cranberry sauce, brambles; further whiffs smell of musty cellar

Macerated blackberries, juice on the palate

Medium tannins and weight

Branco Mafra 2019

83 percent Fernão Pires; 17 percent Verdelho

Straw color, light to medium weight

Light to moderate mouthfeel

Lanolin, green hay, lemon peel aromas

Lemon oil, chalk, squirt of fresh pineapple juice on the palate

Rosé Mafra 2019

41 percent Touriga Nacional; 41 perdent Merlot; 18 percent Aaragonez

Rich salmon color

Aromas of strawberry leaf

More dry strawberries and greens on the palate as well

Arinto Primeiro 13,5% abv blend of two years VR Lisboa

Daffodil yellow color

Light to medium body; brilliant acidity

Aromas of golden apples, ginger, hay loft

Meyer lemon, turmeric, apple peel on the palate

Significant legs for a white