May 11, 2009

Tasting Note Tuesday - Paint the Town Red (with Portugese & Spanish wines!)

2007 Dão Sul Company Douro Vinha da Palestra - Portugal, Douro

Portugal is rich in wine making history. It produces one of the greatest wines made, and possibly the longest lived... Port.

Port is a sweet wine that can be drank as an apperitif, though most Winos perfer it for dessert. Port has always been the premier wine of Portugal, but recently, the country has been making some great strides with its table wine.

The main grape varieties of the Douro region include Tinta Roriz, Touriga Francesa and Touriga Nacional. And usually, the wines are blends of these (and other lesser known grapes). The table wines, such as the wine I tasted this past weekend, are not sweet. In fact, they're typical red wines with paletable tannins and strong acidity. Take a look for yourself...

It's beautiful dark, opaque purple color makes you think it'll be a big, rich wine. The nose shows blackberry, licorice, smoke and cherry scents, and the palate really shines with cherry flavoring. The fruit is a tad thin, though very juicy, but it turns sour on the finish, which sort of ruins the overall experience. Short of finish, short on overall delivery.

Rating: Average
Cost: $7/bottle

2003 Mähler-Besse Jumilla Taja Reserva - Spain, Murcia, Jumilla
Spain is a hotbed of value priced wines. Pick up any Wine Spectator or Wine Advocate and you'll find a boatload of pretty good stuff for under $15 and even a lot for under the $10-$12 range.

What is difficult about Spain is its size... it's the third largest wine producing country in the world, and first with total amount of acres under vines. There are over 60 distinct regions, and it seems like each day a new one is grabbing the attention of wine critics. A popular region for value-priced reds is Jumilla, where this red is from.

Now this is the type of wine that really makes me smile. Only $12, but drinks like something twice as much. I didn't decant it, but it was definitely better with some air. The nose reminded me of chocolate covered raspberries - dark chocolate, raspberry, oak and some cranberry flavoring. More dark fruit on the palate with black cherry, plum, a sweet cream note... probably from the oak. I made a "fancier" dinner to pair with it... filet mignon with grilled asparagus, and the wine was a perfect match. Much impressive and highly reccomended!

My Review: Very Good

Cost: $9/bottle