Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Portuguese Red Wines - Cardeal and Monte Da RavasQuiera

Portuguese table wines are gaining in popularity. In my younger days I drank my share of Mateus. I really liked the bottles. Mateus is a sweetish, carbonated wine that is still sold ubiquitously around the world. But Portugal has come a long way and has moved beyond not only Mateus but the also the traditional Port and Madeira wines for which it has been known for many years. Good Portuguese wines are grown in both the north and south. The northern regions consist of Douro, Dao and Barraida. In the south there are Estremedura and Ribatejo, which includes Peter Brights very interesting efforts. Of course, there is Madeira known for its port wine.

Today I want to talk about two Portuguese wines from the north. The first is Cardeal Reserva 2007. This wine is produced from the Touriga-Nacional grape. Although this grape is used largely for port wines of the Douro, it is also being used for good quality table wines. The Cardeal was very pleasant to drink. The color was not a fully deep red but quite attractive. The legs were copius with a 13.5% alcohol content. The nose was lively and full of berries and I think plum. I immediately had the feel of an earthy, rustic element. I had the sense of really smashing those grapes with my feet. It was down home. The wine lingered on the tongue but not overly long. There was the hint of oak although I'm not sure how it is produced. The wine overall seemed to lack a certain integration. It also seemed a tad too simple. It is a very enjoyable red but not all one would want in a great wine.

The second wine is Monte Da RavasQuiera 2007 from Alentejo-Catavino. From the estate of the same name this wine is a very nice blend: 40% Trincadeira, 20% Touriga-Nacional, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Tempranillo, 10% Touriga Franca and 5% Alicante Bouchet. The color was deep and red with a nose of cherry, blackberry and spice. It had great balance, fullness and some complexity. The tannins were smooth. The finish was long and enjoyable. Although not as complex as it might be the smoothness and the balance were very enjoyable. There was a regal, upper class feel. I felt like a member of the royal palace. Not bad at all. I found that with some time the wine grew more enjoyable. In fact, the second day was superior to the first. It takes quite a bit of time for this wine to find itself and open up to higher potential.

Both of these wines are very enjoyable, if not the most complex. They are worth the time and effort to purchase and are reasonably priced.

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