Sunday, December 7, 2008

Portuguese Red

It seems lately that there has been a lot of talk on the internet wine sites and some publications about Portuguese red, table wines. I ran across one on an out of state excursion last weekend and last night seemed like a good night to try the wine.

It was a cold, snowy day, though there was but an inch or so of accumulation. At dinner time it wasn't snowing so I lit the grill. There was a small strip steak that went over the coals and a couple of slices of sourdough bread that toasted alongside the steak as it grilled. Add in some garlic and rosemary, oven roasted potatoes and it was a good meal for a winter evening.

The wine was a 2005 Altano from the Duoro, the same region as port. Made by the Symington Family Estates the wine is 70% Tinta Roriz and 30% Tinta Franca. I opened the bottle and decanted half of it as the steak and potatoes cooked, about half an hour. The nose was huge on the wine with tons of dark, ripe fruit pouring out of the glass with some herbs and flowers following it. It was a well colored wine. That fruit was foremost on the taste as well, dark cherries and almost a hint of chocolate. Surprisingly the wine was medium bodied and a little short on the finish. There was good acidity, but it was a touch soft in tannin. Setting my mind in the "WABAC machine" mode I decided the wine reminded me of a Zinfandel from the 1980's before the California fixation with extraction and high alcohol ruined the wine. In short, a wonderful wine to drink with dinner without having to put a lot of thought into it. At 13% alcohol and an $11 price tag it has a lot going for it.

There were a couple of tough ends to the steak and Scott helped with those (his sister would have approved). Later in the evening he went out to discover cat tracks in the snow in "his territory." He followed them to a fence line, marked the spot and came back in for a nap on the bed.

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