Friday, December 14, 2007

Let's go to Portugal

The first thing I think of when someone mentions Portugal is, of course, ports. I do love ports. But they also produce some very nice wines. I've had a bottle of Quinta da Bacalhôa 2000 Cabernet Sauvignon in my cellar for a while and I thought it was high time that I gave it a taste. This wine is from the Terras do Sado region which is located in the southern third of the state just north of Lisbon. I can't remember having tasted this wine before so this was a new one for me this evening.

The garnet color had slight tinges of red bricks on the edges. When I first opened the bottled the nose was very vegetative with the slightest hints of black fruits and plums mingling with cigar wrappers and wet earth. The first thing that hit me on the tongue was this sensation of salty roasted mushrooms and alcohol. It was earthy and musty with a crisp biting acid. There was a strange woody flavor on the finish at the back of the throat. I could not detect fruit at first but a bitter kale greens flavor predominated initially. It sounds strange but at first taste the wine wasn't great. However, after some time in the glass it opened up very nicely. Sour cherries started appearing and the funkiness began to diminish. After being opened a few hours it was definitely enjoyable. It was a little light in the mouth but had hints of cocoa mingled with those sour cherries and just enough of the pleasant vegetables to make for a very interesting and unusual flavor. It had what I can only describe as that European dirt on the finish which I tend to enjoy. Not a big wine for sure but one that would be quite food friendly with the acid. I think this might actually pair very well with roasted chicken or mild cut of beef.

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